Brewer, D. D.
(1995). Cognitive indicators of knowledge in semantic domains. Journal
of Quantitative Anthropology, 5, 107-128.
This paper describes a further validation of the
cultural consensus model (Romney, Weller, and Batchelder 1986).
Informants first rated their knowledge in one of five semantic domains
(birds, countries, diseases, fabrics, and flowers) and then free listed
words from that domain. Informants next (in most cases) reported
which of a set of items from a domain they could recognize
and finally performed one or two structured tasks (matching or triads
and ranking) in the domain. Overall, informants who agreed more
others in a structured task (i.e., displayed greater cultural
free listed more words, rated themselves as more knowledgeable, and
being able to recognize more items than informants who agreed less with
others. In addition, consensus estimated answer keys for
structured tasks corresponded closely with objective external standards
when they were available. The results suggest that free listing
capacity, in particular, might be useful as a rapid and preliminary
measure of informants' knowledge levels in specific semantic domains.
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