[uh-soh-see-ey-shuhn, -shee-]
association, in psychology, a connection between different sensations, feelings, or ideas by virtue of their previous occurrence together in experience. The concept of association entered contemporary psychology through the empiricist philosophers John Locke, George Berkeley, David Hume, and David Hartley, and the British associationist school of James Mill, John Stuart Mill, and others (see associationism). Translated into the stimulus-response terms of behaviorism, association has been thought of as the basis of learning and conditioning. Paired experience and the principle of reinforcement are often invoked to explain associative learning. However, Gestalt psychologists, who believe that association between items is dependent on their relations to each other, interpret association as an aftereffect of perceptual organization. Psychoanalysis uses a technique known as free association, in which the client expresses thoughts exactly as they occur, even though they may seem irrelevant. This procedure is designed to reveal areas of conflict and to bring into consciousness traumatic events that have been repressed, the theory being that earlier thoughts and associations can be derived from current thoughts with similar patterns of association.

See N. J. Mackintosh, Conditioning and Associative Learning (1983).

Financial institution that accepts savings from depositors and uses those funds primarily to make loans to home buyers. Savings and loan associations (S&Ls) originated with 18th-century British building societies, in which workmen banded together to finance the building of their homes. The first U.S. savings and loan was established in Philadelphia in 1831. S&Ls were initially cooperative institutions in which savers were shareholders in the association and received dividends in proportion to profits, but today are mutual organizations that offer a variety of savings plans. They are not obliged to rely on individual deposits for funds but are permitted to borrow from other financial institutions and to market mortgage-backed securities, money-market certificates, and stock. Because high inflation and rising interest rates in the 1970s made fixed-rate mortgages unprofitable, regulations were altered to permit S&Ls to renegotiate mortgages. In the late 1980s, a growing number of S&Ls failed because inadequate regulation had allowed risky investments and fraud to flourish. The government was obliged to cover vast losses in excess of $200 billion, and the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. (FSLIC) became insolvent in 1989. Its insurance functions were taken over by a new organization supervised by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and the Resolution Trust Corp. was established to handle the bailout of the failed S&Ls.

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or news service or wire service

Organization that gathers, writes, and distributes news to newspapers, periodicals, radio and television broadcasters, government agencies, and other users. It does not publish news itself but supplies news to subscribers, who, by sharing costs, obtain services they could not otherwise afford. All the mass media depend on agencies for the bulk of the news they carry. Some agencies focus on special subjects or on a local area or nation. Many news agencies are cooperatives, with members providing news from their area to a pool for general use. The largest news agencies are United Press International, Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse.

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Group of lawyers organized primarily to deal with issues affecting the legal profession. In general, they are concerned with furthering the interests of lawyers through advocating reforms in the legal system, sponsoring research projects, and regulating professional standards. Bar associations sometimes administer the examinations required for admission to practice law. The largest U.S. bar association is the American Bar Assn.

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An American professional football field. The standard college field is nearly identical but has a elipsis

Game played, predominantly in the U.S. and Canada, on a rectangular field having two goalposts at each end. In the U.S. it is played between two teams of 11 players each. The object is to get an oblong ball, in possession of one side at a time, over a goal line or between goalposts by running, passing, or kicking. A team must advance the ball 10 yards in four attempts (called downs) in order to continue to have the ball for another four downs. A kick through the goalposts (field goal) counts as three points. A run or completed pass over the goal line (touchdown) counts as six points. Following a touchdown, a team may attempt to kick the ball through the goalposts for one additional point or to run or pass the ball over the goal line for two additional points. Gridiron football (so-called because of the markings on the field), derived from rugby and soccer (see football), emerged in the late 19th century as a collegiate sport; the early rules were mostly written by representatives from Yale, Harvard, and Princeton universities. Each year the college football season concludes with a host of bowl games held on and around New Year's Day. Professional football began in the 1890s but did not become a major sport until after World War II. The National Football League was formed in 1922. The NFL is now divided into an American and a National conference; the conference winners compete for the Super Bowl championship. A Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton, Ohio, U.S. Canadian football differs from U.S. football principally by having 12 players on a team rather than 11, employing a larger field, and allowing only three downs to move the ball 10 yards. These variations allow for a more wide-open style of game, with an emphasis on passing. Seealso Canadian Football League.

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or association football or soccer

A professional football (soccer) field. International rules allow for variations in the overall elipsis

Game in which two 11-member teams try to propel a ball into the opposing team's goal, using any part of the body except the hands and arms. Only the goalkeeper, when positioned within the penalty area in front of the goal, may use hands and arms. The game's first uniform set of rules was put in place in 1863, when England's Football Association was created. Professional leagues began appearing in the late 1880s, first in England and then in other countries. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in 1904, and has hosted the World Cup every four years since 1930. Football has been included in the Olympic Games since 1908. Now played on all continents in over 150 nations, with over 40 million registered players, it is the world's most popular ball game. Seealso Australian Rules football; Gaelic football; football, gridiron; and rugby.

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Irish sport, an offshoot of the violent medieval game mêlée. In the modern game, sides are limited to 15 players. Players may not throw the ball but may dribble it with hand or foot and may punch or punt it toward their opponents' goal. Goals count as either one or three points, depending on whether the ball passes above (one) or below (three) a crossbar attached to the goalposts. It is played mostly in Ireland and the U.S.

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Variety of football played between two teams of 18 players. The field is oval, 145–200 yd (135–185 m) long, with four goalposts at each end. A six-point goal is scored when the oval ball is kicked through the two central goalposts. A one-point “behind” is scored when the ball is kicked over the behind line extending between the central and outer goalposts. The game's finest spectacle is the “mark” in which competing players leap, sometimes riding on the back of an opponent, in order to catch the ball directly from the kick of another player. The player making such a catch is awarded a mark, an unhindered kick from behind the spot of the catch. The sport was developed in Melbourne. The Victorian Football League was established in 1896 as the first professional league. It was renamed the Australian Football League in 1990 to reflect the addition of franchises outside of Victoria state.

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In psychology, the process of forming mental connections or bonds between sensations, ideas, or memories. Though discussed by the ancient Greeks (in terms of similarities, contrasts, and contiguities), the “association of ideas” was first proposed by John Locke and subsequently examined by David Hume, John Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer, and William James. Ivan Pavlov used objective methods to study the phenomenon, resulting in his identification of the conditioned reflex (see conditioning). Within psychoanalysis, the therapist encourages “free association” in order to help identify latent conflicts. Practitioners of Gestalt psychology and others have criticized associationist theories as too all-embracing, while some theorists of cognitive psychology have made it central to their theory of memory.

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in full Young Men's Christian Association

Nonsectarian, nonpolitical Christian lay movement that aims to develop high standards of Christian character among its members. It originated in London in 1844 when 12 young men formed a club to improve the spiritual condition of young tradesmen. The first U.S. club was formed in Boston in the 1850s. YMCA programs include sports and physical education, camping, formal and informal education, and citizenship activities. It also runs hotels, residence halls, and cafeterias. National councils are members of the World Alliance of YMCAs (established 1855), headquartered in Geneva. The YMCA was charged with sponsoring educational and recreational facilities in prisoner-of-war camps by the Geneva Convention of 1929. It now operates in dozens of countries. The Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) was founded in Britain (1877) to address the needs of women from rural areas who came to the cities to find work; in the U.S. (founded 1906), it has championed racial equality. The Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association (YM-YWHA) developed in the mid-19th century from Jewish men's literary societies in the U.S. and now exists in some 20 other countries worldwide.

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Governing organization for the sport of shooting with rifles and pistols. It was founded in Britain in 1860. The U.S. organization, formed in 1871, has a membership of some four million. Both the British and the U.S. groups sponsor regional and national shooting competitions and offer gun safety programs. The U.S. NRA, one of the most powerful political lobbies in the country, has vigorously opposed many legislative proposals for the control of firearms.

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Voluntary association of U.S. teachers, administrators, and other educators associated with elementary and secondary schools and colleges and universities. Founded in 1857 as the National Teachers Assn., it is among the world's largest professional organizations. Operating much like a labour union, it represents its members through numerous state and local affiliates. It seeks to improve the schools and working conditions, advance the cause of public education, promote federal legislation, and sponsor research.

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in full National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Oldest and largest U.S. civil rights organization. It was founded in 1909 to secure political, educational, social, and economic equality for African Americans; W.E.B. Du Bois and Ida B. Wells were among its 60 founders. Headquartered in Baltimore, Md., the NAACP has undertaken litigation, political activity, and public education programs. In 1939 it organized the independent Legal Defense and Education Fund as its legal arm, which sued for school desegregation in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). During World War II it pressed for desegregation of the armed forces, which was achieved in 1948. In 1967 its general counsel, Thurgood Marshall, became the U.S. Supreme Court's first African American justice.

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formerly (until 1980) Latin American Free Trade Association (LAFTA)

International association of Latin American countries originally dedicated to improving its members' economic well-being through free trade. At its founding in 1960 LAFTA included Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay; by 1970 Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, and Bolivia had joined. The organization aimed to remove all trade barriers over 12 years, but its members' geographic and economic diversity made that goal impossible. LAFTA was superseded in 1980 by the LAIA, which established bilateral trading agreements between members, which were divided into three groups according to their level of economic development. Cuba was admitted with observer status in 1986, and it became a full member in 1999. Seealso Inter-American Development Bank.

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International organization whose purpose is to remove barriers to trade in industrial goods among its members. The EFTA's current members are Iceland, Liechteinstein, Norway, and Switzerland. It was formed in 1960 by Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and Britain as an alternative to the European Economic Community (EEC). Some of those countries later left the EFTA and joined the EEC. In the 1990s Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway joined the European Economic Area, which also included all members of the European Union. Each country in the EFTA maintains its own commercial policy toward countries outside the group.

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in full Association of Southeast Asian Nations

International organization established by the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand in 1967 to accelerate regional economic growth, social progress, and cultural development and to promote peace and security in the region. Brunei became a member in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Laos and Myanmar (Burma) in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999. ASEAN became a leading voice on regional trade and security issues in the 1990s; in 1992 member nations created the ASEAN Free Trade Area.

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Organization of U.S. physicians. It was founded in 1847 “to promote the science and art of medicine and the betterment of public health.” It has about 250,000 members, about half of all practicing U.S. physicians. It disseminates information to its members and the public, operates as a lobbying group, and helps set medical education standards. Its publications include Journal of the American Medical Association, American Medical News, and journals on medical specialties.

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Voluntary association (founded 1878) of U.S. lawyers, judges, and other legal professionals. The largest bar association in the U.S., it seeks to improve the legal profession, ensure the availability of legal services to all citizens, and improve the administration of justice. It conducts educational and research projects, sponsors professional meetings, and publishes a monthly journal. At the beginning of the 21st century its membership exceeded 400,000.

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formerly American Association of Retired Persons

Nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that addresses the needs and interests of Americans aged 50 and older. It was founded in 1958 by a retired teacher, Ethel Andrus, and merged in 1982 with the National Retired Teachers Association, also founded by Andrus (1947). Its bimonthly magazine, Modern Maturity, has the largest circulation of any U.S. periodical. Its membership exceeds 35 million. Its members' reliably high turnout at the polls has made it one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the country.

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