Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya • ISSN 2075-7999
peer-reviewed • open access journal


2017 Vol. 10 Issue 55

Morozova O.A. Structural network modelling in cognitive science

Full text in Russian: Морозова О.А. Структурное сетевое моделирование в когнитивной науке

Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

About author
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Many objects of study of cognitive sciences can be naturally represented in a form of networks. In network model nodes (cells, people, groups, words, categories, etc.) are defined by connections that they (don’t) have, form and lose. Thus, network model shifts emphasis from attributes of elements to their relations, evolution of those relations and – consequently – wholesome structure of the system. Traditional approach to network modelling in cognitive science has been conceptual approach (models of A.Collins and E.Loftus, J.Anderson, neural networks of D.Rumelhart, D.Hinton, etc). Main flaw of this approach is that its models represent not the structure of cognitive system per se, but authors’ ideas about that structure, they also often use hypothetical constructs, such as chunks and artificial neurons. At the start of XXI century another – structural – approach to network modelling has emerged. In contrast to conceptual model, structural model is a direct visualization of a data array that describes the system (e.g., MRI results, orthographic dictionary, social connections data, log of incoming and outgoing information packages, associative thesaurus, etc.). Topology of resulting network is analyzed by mathematical apparatus of computational network science. Based on results of this analysis the author can then produce hypotheses about evolutionary mechanisms that formed that structure and also dynamical consequences – how system’s structure influences cognitive processes. Our article describes main principles, notions and goals of structural network modelling. Brief history of network models is presented: from regular graphs to complex scale-free networks. Special emphasis is made on specificity of structural modelling in cognitive science.

Keywords: network models, scale-free network, small-world network, cognitive science, associationism, mental lexicon


The study was supported by Russian Foundation for Science, project 17-78-30035 "Psychological factors of Russia's economic and social competitiveness".


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Received 12 August 2017. Date of publication: 31 October 2017.

About author

Morozova Olga A. Ph.D. Student, Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Yaroslavskaya, 13, 129366 Moscow, Russia.
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Suggested citation

Morozova O.A. Structural network modelling in cognitive science. Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 2017, Vol. 10, No. 55, p. 1. (in Russian, abstr. in English).

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