The Mint

The sky is falling: negativity bias in social transmission

For June’s edition of the journal club, we’re reading Bebbington et al. (2017): The sky is falling: evidence of a negativity bias in the social transmission of information. The paper presents the results of a transmission chain experiment in which participants were tasked to reproduce a ...

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Modularity and Recombination in Technological Evolution

In May we read Mathieu Charbonneau's 2016 article, Modularity and Recombination in Technological Evolution. The article is describing a key property of cultural variation, recombination, and its central property, modularity, in order to avoid a circular understanding of their interaction, and to ...

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Random drift and culture change

In April we chose to read Bentley, Hahn and Shennan's paper Random drift and culture change (2004). This very interesting study explains cultural variants on three real-world datasets using a neutral model. The model predicts the random drift effect on the statistics of the variants from the ...

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Iconicity as structure mapping

In March we revisit the subject of iconicity, this time the question of structured mappings between the form and the meaning of the signs in sign language. In her article, Iconicity as structure mapping, Karen Emmorey defines iconicity as a "structured mapping between two mental representations, ...

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Article for February: All forms of writing

Hi everyone! For February we chose to read Greg Downey's critique of Stanislas Dehaene's  2009 book Reading in the Brain. In his article titled All Forms of Writing (Mind & Language 2014), Greg Downey discusses Dehaene's neural efficiency-based interpretation of evolution of writing and his ...

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Article for January: Iconicity and the Emergence of Combinatorial Structure in Language

Our first paper in 2017 is „Iconicity and the Emergence of Combinatorial Structure in Language” by Verhoef, Kirby and de Boer (2016), published in Cognitive Science. They present experimental results regarding a transmission chain experiment in which participants had to make use of a slide ...

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Article for December: Population size does not explain past changes in cultural complexity (?)

Dear friends of the Mint’s Journal Club, For the last month of 2016 we decided to read the paper from Krist Vaesen et al. Population size does not explain past changes in cultural complexity. Published in April’s edition of PNAS online, the paper criticizes two population dynamic models, one ...

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Article for November: Probabilistic pragmatics

Hi everyone! November’s article for the Mint Journal club is a recent publication by Michael Franke and Gerhard Jäger called Probabilistic pragmatics, or why Bayes’ rule is probably important for pragmatics, appearing in Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft this very year. As the title ...

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Article for October: Pragmatic Choice in Conversation

In October we read the paper from Raymond W. Gibbs and Guy Van Orden, published in Topics in Cognitive Science in 2012, Pragmatic Choice in Conversation. The authors are discussing regularity and variability in human conversation and the (in)ability of pragmatics theories to explain both of ...

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Article for September: Image, Memory and Ritual: Re-viewing the Antecedents of Writing

Welcome (finally!) to the new edition of Mint Journal Club, hosted by the International Cognition and Culture Institute! This month we agreed on reading and discussing the paper by Sarah Kielt Costello, published in Cambridge Archaeological Journal in 2011, with the title Image, Memory and ...

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