Affinity propagation: An exemplar-based tool for clustering in psychological research

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Affinity propagation is a message-passing-based clustering procedure that has received widespread attention in domains such as biological science, physics, and computer science. However, its implementation in psychology and related areas of social science is comparatively scant. In this paper, we describe the basic principles of affinity propagation, its relationship to other clustering problems, and the types of data for which it can be used for cluster analysis. More importantly, we identify the strengths and weaknesses of affinity propagation as a clustering tool in general and highlight potential opportunities for its use in psychological research. Numerical examples are provided to illustrate the method.

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