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Emergence of systematic iconicity: Transmission, interaction and analogy

Verhoef, T., Roberts, S. G., & Dingemanse, M. (2015). Emergence of systematic iconicity: Transmission, interaction and analogy. In D. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. D. Jennings, & P. P. Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2015) (pp. 2481-2486). Austin, Tx: Cognitive Science Society.
Languages combine arbitrary and iconic signals. How do iconic signals emerge and when do they persist? We present an experimental study of the role of iconicity in the emergence of structure in an artificial language. Using an iterated communication game in which we control the signalling medium as well as the meaning space, we study the evolution of communicative signals in transmission chains. This sheds light on how affordances of the communication medium shape and constrain the mappability and transmissibility of form-meaning pairs. We find that iconic signals can form the building blocks for wider compositional patterns
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The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

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