UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Language and Cognition Seminar - Dr Olga Feher

11 December 2019, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Language and Cogniiton Seminar series logo

Wednesday 11 December, 1-2pm, Chandler House G10. "How are communication systems shaped by interaction and transmission?"

Event Information

Open to



Gwen Brekelmans – Language and Cognition


Room G10
Chandler House
2 Wakefield Street

How are communication systems shaped by interaction and transmission?

Communication systems have been created and are constantly shaped by their users. This is not only true to human language, which is uniquely complex and expressive among the communication systems of the animal world, but also to other socially learned systems, such as birdsong. The processes of individual learning, social interaction and cross-generational cultural transmission mediate the relationship between the cognitive makeup of users and the structural features of communication systems. I study these processes in a comparative framework using atypical languages and songs, and observing how learners respond as they acquire abnormal input and use it to communicate. While learning, interaction and transmission all amplify learners’ biases and drive the emergence of species-typical features, each seem to favour different aspects of the system, sometimes exerting opposing forces on the way these features evolve.

About the Speaker

Olga Feher

at Department of Psychology University of Warwick

More about Olga Feher