Talk by Vanessa Ferdinand, Santa Fe Institute

Vanessa Ferdinand will present her talk titled "Using cognitive science to expose culture evolution's empirical fitness landscapes: examples from linguistic regularization"

2018.01.25 | Anne-Mette Pedersen

Date Tue 13 Mar
Time 11:00 13:00
Location IMC Meeting Room, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4, Building 1483-312


As cultural artifacts replicate by passing from one mind to another, cognitive biases in perception, processing, and production can cause them to change over time. In this talk, I will argue that experimental cognitive science has the tools to expose the empirical fitness landscapes that determine the evolution of culturally-transmitted artifacts and behaviors. I will present the results of several frequency learning experiments to show how cognition can support both cultural drift (via probability matching behavior) and directional change (via regularization behavior). Regularization is the selective elimination of variation by learners, and is commonly found during learning in linguistic domains. These experiments detail how two factors, linguistic domain and cognitive load, independently contribute to regularization behavior and could be selectively changing the structure of languages over time. 



About the speaker:

Vanessa Ferdinand, Omidyar Postdoctoral Fellow, Santa Fe Institute