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          Institute: MPI für Psycholinguistik     Collection: Yearbook 2010     Display Documents



ID: 453261.0, MPI für Psycholinguistik / Yearbook 2010
Genetic biasing through cultural transmission: Do simple Bayesian models of language evolution generalize?
Authors:Dediu, Dan
Language:English
Date of Publication (YYYY-MM-DD):2009
Title of Journal:Journal of Theoretical Biology
Journal Abbrev.:J. Theor. Biol.
Volume:259
Start Page:552
End Page:561
Review Status:Peer-review
Audience:Experts Only
Intended Educational Use:No
Abstract / Description:The recent Bayesian approaches to language evolution and change seem to suggest that genetic biases can impact on the characteristics of language, but, at the same time, that its cultural transmission can partially free it from these same genetic constraints. One of the current debates centres on the striking differences between sampling and a posteriori maximising Bayesian learners, with the first converging on the prior bias while the latter allows a certain freedom to language evolution. The present paper shows that this difference disappears if populations more complex than a single teacher and a single learner are considered, with the resulting behaviours more similar to the sampler. This suggests that generalisations based on the language produced by Bayesian agents in such homogeneous single agent chains are not warranted. It is not clear which of the assumptions in such models are responsible, but these findings seem to support the rising concerns on the validity of the “acquisitionist” assumption, whereby the locus of language change and evolution is taken to be the first language acquirers (children) as opposed to the competent language users (the adults).
Free Keywords:Language evolution, Computer model, Bayesian agents
External Publication Status:published
Document Type:Article
Communicated by:kastens
Affiliations:MPI für Psycholinguistik
Identifiers:LOCALID:escidoc:64340
DOI:10.1016/j.jtbi.2009.04.004
URL:http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/pubman/item/escidoc:6434...
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