This research utilizes implementation of classic methods for systematic data collection using the medium of the Internet to investigate the idea of culture as a shared cognitive semantic structure. We used the material domain of automobile manufacturer brand names to investigate our intuition that a shared understanding exists within the American culture and is pervasive across a diversity of demographic groups. Semantic structure information for 48 automobile manufacturer brand names was obtained using two association tasks (free-list and pile-sort) for a sample of 927 English-speaking United States residents recruited from online sources. Using this data, we estimate the shared structure of perceived similarity among automobile brands within the sampled population, and investigate the extent to which this structure reflects a cultural consensus, which is shared across demographic groups. Employing multidimensional scaling methods, we explore the properties of this structure and provide our interpretation in terms of known brand attributes. Via an additional instrument, we also measure subjects' tendency to infer that novel information regarding one brand will be causally relevant for assessing the properties of other brands. We use this data to test the hypothesis that closely associated brands are seen as causally relevant, net of objective factors such as ownership by the same firm.
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"SHARED SEMANTIC STRUCTURES FOR AUTOMOBILE BRANDS AMONG U.S. RESIDENTS"Please download to view full document