Language as a coordination tool evolves slowly

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
Date
2016-12-21
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
10
Series
Royal Society Open Science, Volume 3, issue 12
Abstract
Social living ultimately depends on coordination between group members, and communication is necessary to make this possible. We suggest that this might have been the key selection pressure acting on the evolution of language in humans and use a behavioural coordination model to explore the impact of communication efficiency on social group coordination. We show that when language production is expensive but there is an individual benefit to the efficiency with which individuals coordinate their behaviour, the evolution of efficient communication is selected for. Contrary to some views of language evolution, the speed of evolution is necessarily slow because there is no advantage in some individuals evolving communication abilities that much exceed those of the community at large. However, once a threshold competence has been achieved, evolution of higher order language skills may indeed be precipitate.
Description
Keywords
Agent-based models, Communication efficiency, Costs of communication, Language evolution, Social coordination, Social group size
Other note
Citation
David-Barrett, T & Dunbar, R I M 2016, ' Language as a coordination tool evolves slowly ', Royal Society Open Science, vol. 3, no. 12, 160259 . https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.160259