The Role of Interaction in Language Evolution. Evidence from Two Iterated Learning Experiments with Human Participants

Katarzyna Rogalska-Chodecka



Abstract. Experiments conducted with the use of the iterated learning methodology have recently become a rich source of information on the hypothetic ways in which the human language might have evolved. Basing on the groundbreaking studies of the Language Evolution and Computation Centre in Edinburgh, it is possible to utilise the methodology in question in increasingly more advanced experiments, both with and without human participants, using various designs and referring to different theories. The present paper discusses the role of interaction in iteratedlearning experiments, comparing the results obtained in two studies: the first oneconducted with only one participant at a time (without communication) and the second one with three participants interacting with each other. As results suggest, the intuition that communication constitutes one of key factors in language evolution might be misleading.


language evolution; iterated learning; communication; interaction; human participants

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