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Received (received date) Revised (revised date) Human language is unparalleled in both its expressive capacity and its diversity. What accounts for the enormous diversity of human languages [13]? Recent evidence suggests that the structure of languages may be shaped by the social and demographic environment in which the languages are learned and used. In an(More)
Evidence suggests that signed languages emerge from communication through spontaneously created, motivated gestures. Yet it is often argued that the vocal modality does not afford this same opportunity, and thus it is reasoned that language must have evolved from manual gestures. This paper presents findings from an iterative vocal charades game that shows(More)
Many animals can be trained to perform novel tasks. People, too, can be trained, but sometime in early childhood people transition from being trainable to something qualitatively more powerful-being programmable. We argue that such programmability constitutes a leap in the way that organisms learn, interact, and transmit knowledge, and that what facilitates(More)
Although the word " dog " and an unambiguous barking sound may point to the same concept DOG, verbal labels and nonverbal cues appear to activate conceptual information in systematically different ways (Lupyan & Thompson-Schill, 2012). Here we investigate these differences in more detail. We replicate the finding that labels activate a more prototypical(More)
If concepts, categories, and word meanings are stable, how can people use them so flexibly? Here we explore a possible answer: maybe this stability is an illusion. Perhaps all concepts, categories, and word meanings (CC&Ms) are constructed ad hoc, each time we use them. On this proposal, all words are infinitely polysemous, all communication is 'good(More)
We investigated the behavior of participants tasked with communicating in a novel environment. Participants had to use their mouse to draw graphical representations (termed squig-gles in the game) of human faces in order to communicate with fellow players. Experiment 1 investigated the effect of varying features of the input images on the resulting(More)
The very expertise with which psychologists wield their tools for achieving laboratory control may have had the unwelcome effect of blinding psychologists to the possibilities of discovering principles of behavior without conducting experiments. When creatively interrogated, a diverse range of large, real-world data sets provides powerful diagnostic tools(More)
From an early age, people exhibit strong links between certain visual (e.g. size) and acoustic (e.g. duration) dimensions. Do people instinctively extend these crossmodal correspondences to vocalization? We examine the ability of congenitally deaf Chinese children and young adults (age M = 12.4 years, SD = 3.7 years) to generate iconic vocalizations to(More)