We analyze the spectral properties of complex networks focusing on their relation to the community structure, and develop an algorithm based on correlations among components of different eigenvectors. The algorithm applies to general weighted networks, and, in a suitably modified version, to the case of directed networks. Our method allows to correctly detect communities in sharply partitioned graphs, however it is useful to the analysis of more complex networks, without a well defined cluster structure, as social and information networks. As an example, we test the algorithm on a large scale data‐set from a psychological experiment of free word association, where it proves to be successful both in clustering words, and in uncovering mental association patterns.

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