Arbitrary Imitation, Pattern Completion and the Origin and Evolution of Human Communication

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    Abstract

    Existing accounts of the origin of human communication assume a pre-existing behavioral system shared among members of a social group. This paper is concerned with the origin of that system; specifically, it explores its characteristics and functionality as well as the circumstances under which it could have appeared. A number of agent-based computer simulations test whether the capacities for arbitrary imitation and pattern completion can lead to a behavioral system that could be co-opted for communication. The results show that arbitrary imitation and pattern completion may indeed generate a population-wide shared behavioral system whose structure reflects the structure of the environment, and therefore could easily have been co-opted for communication. This system may have paved the way for other biological capacities widely believed to be necessary for communication, such as shared intentionality and symbolicity, to co-evolve.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
    EditorsNiels Taatgen , Hedderik van Rijn
    PublisherCognitive Science Society
    ISBN (Print)978-0-9768318-5-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    Event31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society - Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Duration: 29 Jul 20091 Aug 2009

    Conference

    Conference31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
    Abbreviated titleCogSci 2009
    CountryNetherlands
    CityAmsterdam
    Period29/07/091/08/09

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  • Cite this

    Tamariz, M. (2009). Arbitrary Imitation, Pattern Completion and the Origin and Evolution of Human Communication. In N. Taatgen , & H. van Rijn (Eds.), Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society Cognitive Science Society.