Association scores measure how related two concepts or groups of concepts are.
Association scores range on scale from -1.00 to 1.00. These are extremes which represent the weakest and the strongest possible relationships: An association score of 100 represents the relationship between a concept and itself, while -1.00 is the relationship between a concept and the most unrelated other concept within the same data set. A score of association score of around 0 represents how much we would expect two concepts to be discussed at the same time as a result of random chance.
Thus, association scores above 0 indicate that two concepts are being discussed together more often than we would expect from random chance, while association scores below 0 indicate that two concepts are not frequently being talked about at the same time. (This is typically an indication that consumers are not associating those concepts with each other in the data set being analyzed.)
For example, let's say we're analyzing three concepts: "happy," "product," and "packaging." "Happy" and "product" have an association score of 0.26, "happy" and "packaging" have an association score of -0.18, and "product" and "packaging" have an association score of -0.01.
The 0.26 association score between "happy" and "product" indicates that consumers frequently associate happiness with the product, and we can thus infer that something about the product itself is pleasing the consumer.
The -0.18 association score between "happy" and "packaging" simply indicates that consumers use the term "happy" to describe the packaging less often than random chance would suggest. This does not necessarily mean that they are unhappy with the packaging; it just means that they are typically not using the term "happy" when discussing the packaging. They may be using a different term ("easy to open"), or may be speaking of the packaging in a neutral way.
The -0.01 association score between "product" and "packaging" simply indicates that consumers talk about the product and packaging at the same time about as often as they would as a result of random chance. There is no indication of any notable associations amongst consumers between these two concepts.
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