This state-of-the-art presents a systematic exploration on the use of network patterns in global research efforts to understand, organize and represent the mental lexicon. Results have shown an increase over recent years in the usage of complex, small-world and scale-free network patterns within the literature. With the increasing complexity of network patterns, we see more potential in the inter-disciplinary exploration of the mental lexicon through universal and mathematically-describable, behavioral patterns in small-world and scale-free networks. A systematic review of 36 items of methodologically-selected literature serve as a means to explore how the greater literary body understands network structures within the mental lexicon. Network-based approaches are discriminated between three contrasting varieties. These include: ‘simple networks’, characterized by arbitrarily organized graph patterns of metaphorical importance; ‘connectionist networks’, a broad category of networks which explore the structural features of a system through the analysis of emergent properties; and lastly ‘complex networks’, distinguished as small-world, scale-free networks which follow a strict and mathematically-describable structure in agreement with the Barabási–Albert model. Each network approach is explored in terms of their discernible differences which relate to their parameters and affect their implications. A final evaluation of observed patterns within the selected literature is offered, as well as an elaboration on the sense of trajectory beheld in the research in order to offer insight and orientation for future research.
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