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Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 2476256, 14 pages
Research Article

Using Self-Organizing Neural Network Map Combined with Ward’s Clustering Algorithm for Visualization of Students’ Cognitive Structural Models about Aliveness Concept

Faculty of Education, Dokuz Eylul University, Buca, 35150 Izmir, Turkey

Received 20 July 2015; Revised 14 October 2015; Accepted 18 October 2015

Academic Editor: Jens Christian Claussen

Copyright © 2016 Nurettin Yorek et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We propose an approach to clustering and visualization of students’ cognitive structural models. We use the self-organizing map (SOM) combined with Ward’s clustering to conduct cluster analysis. In the study carried out on 100 subjects, a conceptual understanding test consisting of open-ended questions was used as a data collection tool. The results of analyses indicated that students constructed the aliveness concept by associating it predominantly with human. Motion appeared as the most frequently associated term with the aliveness concept. The results suggest that the aliveness concept has been constructed using anthropocentric and animistic cognitive structures. In the next step, we used the data obtained from the conceptual understanding test for training the SOM. Consequently, we propose a visualization method about cognitive structure of the aliveness concept.