Behavior Research Methods vol:39 issue:3 pages:427-438
When multidimensional scaling solutions are used to study semantic concepts, the dimensionality of the optimal configuration has to be determined. Several strategies have been proposed to choose the appropriate dimensionality. In the present paper, the traditional dimensionality choice criteria were evaluated and compared to a method based on the prediction of an external criterion. Two studies were conducted in which typicality of an exemplar within a semantic concept was predicted from its distance to the concept centroid. In contrast to the low-dimensional solutions selected by the traditional methods, predictions of an external criterion improved with additional dimensions up till, dimensionalities that were much higher than what is common in the literature. This suggests that traditional methods underestimate the richness of semantic concepts as revealed in spatial representations derived from similarity measures.