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religious discourse
free associative experiment

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The article analyses psychologically-linguistically the verbal representations of the concept of “faith”. A free associative experiment was used in the research to identify the meaning of the examined concept in native speakers’ cognitive consciousness. The respondents received ten words-stimuli related to religious discourse. In this article, we analyze associations evoked by “faith” word. The research sample included 246 students with average age of 18.6 years from Lesia Ukrainka Eastern European National University, students studied biology, psychology and publishing business. During the associative experiment revealing verbal representation of the concept of “faith”, we obtained only 286 reactions that included 131 different associations. The most frequent associative reactions to “faith” were: “hope”, “God”, “in God”, “love” and “prayer”. The processing of the obtained associations for “faith” was carried out according to the grammatical criterion, which allowed us to reveal the predominance of paradigmatic reactions to the word-stimulus. As for the logical criterion, central reactions were most often among associations obtained for “prayer”. The associations obtained for “faith’ were analyzed according to thematic criteria, which allowed us to distinguish ten different thematic categories: religion, God, hope, emotions and feelings, strength, society, convictions, soul, beliefs, name. The most numerous thematic groups were responses connecting “faith” with religion, God and hope. The thematic groups of “soul”, “beliefs” and “name” were the least numerous among the obtained associations. The vast thematic diversity can indicate students’ unawareness about the concept of “faith”. Cluster analysis revealed that the verbalized concept of “faith” is represented by two semantic groups of associations: “hope” and “God - emotions and feelings”. Thus, young people view faith not only through the prism of the divine (religion, spirituality) and its peripheral components (prayer, confession), but also try to understand faith as hope and support. We see the prospects for further research in further psycholinguistic analysis of religious discourse, namely the functioning and use of religious concepts in mass-media.
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