Skip navigation
Skip navigation

The Cultural Evolution of Human Communication Systems in Different Sized Populations: Usability Trumps Learnability

Fay, Nicolas; Ellison, Timothy


This study examines the intergenerational transfer of human communication systems. It tests if human communication systems evolve to be easy to learn or easy to use (or both), and how population size affects learnability and usability. Using an experimental-semiotic task, we find that human communication systems evolve to be easier to use (production efficiency and reproduction fidelity), but harder to learn (identification accuracy) for a second generation of naïve participants. Thus,...[Show more]

CollectionsANU Research Publications
Date published: 2013
Type: Journal article
Source: PLOS ONE (Public Library of Science)
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0071781
Access Rights: Open Access


File Description SizeFormat Image
01_Fay_The_Cultural_Evolution_of_2013.pdf726.47 kBAdobe PDFThumbnail

Items in Open Research are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

Updated:  22 January 2019/ Responsible Officer:  University Librarian/ Page Contact:  Library Systems & Web Coordinator