Psychology. any of several theories that explain complex psychological phenomena as being built up from the of simple sensations, stimuli and responses, or other behavioral or mental elements considered as primary.
Historical Examples

The associationist reduces the self to an aggregate of conscious states, sensations, feelings, and ideas.
Bergson and His Philosophy J. Alexander Gunn

And we have the term “apperceptionist” in opposition to the term “associationist.”
Studies in Logical Theory John Dewey

To distinguish this answer from that of the associationist or empiricist, I will call it the answer of the conceptualist.
Studies in Logical Theory John Dewey

If this main contention of the Critical teaching be accepted, Humes associationist standpoint is no longer tenable.
A Commentary to Kant’s ‘Critique of Pure Reason’ Norman Kemp Smith

In his theory of the origin of magic Frazer follows the associationist school.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 17, Slice 3 Various

(psychol) a theory that all mental activity is based on connections between basic mental events, such as sensations and feelings

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