For the comparison between the predicted and the associations of human subjects we have used the association norms collected by Russell & Jenkins (Jenkins, 1970). They have the advantage that translations of the stimulus words were also given to German subjects (Russell & Meseck, 1959, and Russell, 1970) so that our model could be tested for English as well as for German.
The Russell & Jenkins association norms, also referred to as the Minnesota word association norms, were collected in 1952. The 100 stimulus words from the Kent-Rosanoff word association test (Kent & Rosanoff, 1910) were presented to 1008 students of two large introductory psychology classes at the University of Minnesota. The subjects were instructed, to write after each word ``the first word that it makes you think of''. Seven years later, Russell & Meseck (1959) repeated the same experiment in Germany with a carefully translated list of the stimulus words. The subjects were 331 students and pupils from the area near Würzburg. The quantitative results reported on later will be based on comparisons with these norms.
The American as well as the German association norms were collected more than 30 years ago. The texts which were used to simulate these associations are more recent. One might expect therefore that this discrepancy will impair the agreement between the observed and the predicted responses. Better predictions might be attained if the observed associations had been produced by the same subjects as the texts from which the predictions are computed. However, such a procedure is hardly realizable, and our results will show that despite these discrepancies associations to common words can be predicted successfully.