• synonyms


[uh-soh-see-ey-shuh-niz-uh m, -shee-ey-]
  1. Psychology. any of several theories that explain complex psychological phenomena as being built up from the association of simple sensations, stimuli and responses, or other behavioral or mental elements considered as primary.
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Compare sensationism.

Origin of associationism

An Americanism dating back to 1830–40; association + -ism
Related formsas·so·ci·a·tion·ist, adjective, nounas·so·ci·a·tion·is·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for associationist

Historical Examples of associationist

  • And we have the term "apperceptionist" in opposition to the term "associationist."

    Studies in Logical Theory

    John Dewey

  • If this main contention of the Critical teaching be accepted, Humes associationist standpoint is no longer tenable.

  • In his theory of the origin of magic Frazer follows the associationist school.

  • To distinguish this answer from that of the associationist or empiricist, I will call it the answer of the conceptualist.

  • The associationist reduces the self to an aggregate of conscious states, sensations, feelings, and ideas.

British Dictionary definitions for associationist


  1. psychol a theory that all mental activity is based on connections between basic mental events, such as sensations and feelings
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012