Jon W. Carr

jon. eradicate ca remove rr expunge @rh purge ul. delete ac.ukerase
@jongleur@fediscience.org
GitHub: jwcarr
Google Scholar

I’m interested in how simple computational principles can explain the high-level complexity we observe in human behaviours and the cultural phenomena that arise from such behaviours. My current line of research explores how the learned capacity for reading adapts to the information structure of the writing system, and, likewise, how the writing system adapts to human cognitive biases.

I’m currently a postdoctoral research fellow at Royal Holloway in London, England, where I work with Kathy Rastle. Previously, I was a postdoc at SISSA in Trieste, Italy, where I worked with Davide Crepaldi. Before that, I completed my PhD at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where I was supervised by Simon Kirby, Kenny Smith, and Jennifer Culbertson within the Centre for Language Evolution .

Key interests: learning and induction; Bayesian modelling; reading behaviour; eye tracking; concepts and categorization; complexity and compression; language evolution; artificial language learning; statistical learning

Publications

Journal articles

Carr, J. W., Pescuma, V. N., Furlan, M., Ktori, M., & Crepaldi, D. (2022). Algorithms for the automated correction of vertical drift in eye-tracking data. Behavior Research Methods, 54(1), 287–310. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-021-01554-0
PDF BIB OSF GIT

Erben Johansson, N., Carr, J. W., & Kirby, S. (2021). Cultural evolution leads to vocal iconicity in an experimental iterated learning task. Journal of Language Evolution, 6(1), 1–25. https://doi.org/10.1093/jole/lzab001
PDF BIB OSF

Carr, J. W., Smith, K., Culbertson, J., & Kirby, S. (2020). Simplicity and informativeness in semantic category systems. Cognition, 202, Article 104289. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104289
PDF BIB OSF GIT

Carr, J. W., Smith, K., Cornish, H., & Kirby, S. (2017). The cultural evolution of structured languages in an open-ended, continuous world. Cognitive Science, 41(4), 892–923. https://doi.org/10.1111/cogs.12371
PDF BIB OSF GIT

Papers in edited volumes

Carr, J. W., & Smith, K. (2021). Modeling language transmission. In T. K. Shackelford & V. A. Weekes-Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of evolutionary psychological science (pp. 5163–5168). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-19650-3_3353
PDF BIB

Papers in conference proceedings

Tamariz, M., Kirby, S., & Carr, J. W. (2016). Cultural evolution across domains: Language, technology and art. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, D. Mirman, & J. C. Trueswell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2759–2764). Cognitive Science Society.
PDF BIB

Abstracts in conference proceedings

Carr, J. W., & Crepaldi, D. (2022). Minimizing expected uncertainty in visual word recognition: Are readers sensitive to the distribution of information across word forms? In J. Culbertson, A. Perfors, H. Rabagliati, & V. Ramenzoni (Eds.) Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (p. 3781). Cognitive Science Society.
PDF BIB

Carr, J. W., Smith, K., Culbertson, J., & Kirby, S. (2018). Conceptual structure is shaped by competing pressures for simplicity and informativeness. In C. Cuskley, M. Flaherty, L. McCrohon, H. Little, A. Ravignani, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the 12th international conference (pp. 70–72). https://doi.org/10.12775/3991-1.013
PDF BIB

Carr, J. W., Smith, K., Cornish, H., & Kirby, S. (2016). Cultural evolution and communication yield structured languages in an open-ended world. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Fehér, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the 11th international conference.
PDF BIB

Tamariz, M., & Carr, J. W. (2016). What is unique about the evolution of language compared to other cultural domains? An experimental study of language, technology and art. In S. G. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Fehér, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the 11th international conference.
PDF BIB

Carr, J. W., Cornish, H., & Kirby, S. (2014). The cumulative cultural evolution of category structure in an open-ended meaning space. In E. A. Cartmill, S. G. Roberts, H. Lyn, & H. Cornish (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the 10th international conference (pp. 405–406). World Scientific. https://doi.org/10.1142/9789814603638_0066
PDF BIB

Carr, J. W. (2014). The emergence of combinatoriality in the cultural transmission of pop songs in a children’s gameshow. In E. A. Cartmill, S. G. Roberts, H. Lyn, & H. Cornish (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the 10th international conference (pp. 403–404). World Scientific. https://doi.org/10.1142/9789814603638_0065
PDF BIB

Carr, J. W. (2012). The effects of modified variables on an iterated learning model of linguistic evolution by cultural transmission. In T. C. Scott-Phillips, M. Tamariz, E. A. Cartmill, & J. R. Hurford (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the 9th international conference (pp. 416–417). World Scientific. https://doi.org/10.1142/9789814401500_0058
PDF BIB

Theses

Carr, J. W. (2019). Induction and interaction in the evolution of language and conceptual structure. Doctoral thesis, University of Edinburgh. https://hdl.handle.net/1842/35648
PDF BIB

Carr, J. W. (2013). The cumulative cultural evolution of category structure in an infinite meaning space. Master’s thesis, University of Edinburgh. https://hdl.handle.net/1842/8608
PDF BIB

Presentations

Conference presentations

Carr, J. W., & Crepaldi, D. (2022, August). Reader targeting of words is guided by the distribution of information in the lexicon. Talk presented at the 21st European Conference on Eye Movements, Leicester, England.
abstract slides

Carr, J. W., Pescuma, V. N., & Crepaldi, D. (2022, August). Algorithms for assigning fixations to lines of text in multiline passage reading. Talk presented at the 21st European Conference on Eye Movements, Leicester, England.
abstract slides

Carr, J. W., & Crepaldi, D. (2022, July). Minimizing expected uncertainty in visual word recognition: Are readers sensitive to the distribution of information across word forms? Flash talk presented at the 44th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Toronto, Canada.
abstract slides

Carr, J. W., & Crepaldi, D. (2022, June). Reader targeting of words is guided by the statistical structure of the lexicon. Talk presented at Interdisciplinary Advances in Statistical Learning, San Sebastián, Spain.
abstract slides

Carr, J. W., Pescuma, V. N., Furlan, M., Ktori, M., & Crepaldi, D. (2020, November). Algorithms for the automated correction of vertical drift in eye tracking data. Talk presented at the 61st Meeting of the Psychonomics Society.
slides video

Carr, J. W., Smith, K., Culbertson, J., & Kirby, S. (2018, April). Conceptual structure is shaped by competing pressures for simplicity and informativeness. Talk presented at the 12th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (Evolang 12), Toruń, Poland.
abstract slides

Carr, J. W., Smith, K., Culbertson, J., & Kirby, S. (2017, October). Convexity and expressivity in the simplicity–informativeness tradeoff. Talk presented at Conceptual Learning and Reasoning in Conceptual Spaces, Bochum, Germany.
slides

Carr, J. W., Smith, K., Culbertson, J., & Kirby, S. (2017, September). Convexity and expressivity in the simplicity–informativeness tradeoff. Poster presented at Minds, Mechanisms and Interaction in the Evolution of Language, Nijmegen, Netherlands.
abstract poster

Carr, J. W., Smith, K., Culbertson, J., & Kirby, S. (2017, September). Simplicity and informativeness in the cultural evolution of language. Talk presented at the Inaugural Conference of the Cultural Evolution Society, Jena, Germany.
abstract slides

Carr, J. W. (2017, May). Iterated learning optimizes for simplicity. Talk presented at the 2017 Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland.
abstract slides

Tamariz, M., Kirby, S., & Carr, J. W. (2016, August). Cultural evolution across domains: Language, technology and art. Talk presented at the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Philadelphia, USA.
paper

Carr, J. W. (2016, June). Using iterated learning to reveal biases for well-structured meanings in language. Talk presented at the 2016 Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland.
abstract slides

Carr, J. W., Smith, K., Cornish, H., & Kirby, S. (2016, March). Cultural evolution and communication yield structured languages in an open-ended world. Talk presented at the 11th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (Evolang 11), New Orleans, USA.
abstract slides

Tamariz, M., & Carr, J. W. (2016, March). What is unique about the evolution of language compared to other cultural domains? An experimental study of language, technology and art. Talk presented at the 11th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (Evolang 11), New Orleans, USA.
abstract

Carr, J. W. (2015, June). Iterated learning in an open-ended meaning space. Talk presented at the 2015 Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland.
abstract slides

Carr, J. W., Cornish, H., Smith, K., & Kirby, S. (2015, April). Communication increases the expressivity of emergent languages in an open-ended meaning space. Poster presented at the Tokyo Lectures in Language Evolution, Tokyo, Japan.
abstract poster

Carr, J. W., Cornish, H., & Kirby, S. (2014, April). The cumulative cultural evolution of category structure in an open-ended meaning space. Talk presented at the 10th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (Evolang 10), Vienna, Austria.
abstract slides

Carr, J. W. (2014, April). The emergence of combinatoriality in the cultural transmission of pop songs in a children’s gameshow. Poster presented at the 10th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (Evolang 10), Vienna, Austria.
abstract poster

Carr, J. W. (2013, May). Using a children's gameshow to study iterated learning and the emergence of combinatoriality. Talk presented at the 2013 Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland.
abstract slides

Carr, J. W. (2012, September). Measuring the optimization of vowel-spaces: A method for cross-linguistic analysis. Poster presented at the 2012 Advances in Visual Methods for Linguistics (AVML) conference, York, England.
abstract poster

Carr, J. W. (2012, May). Towards a measure of the optimization of natural vowel systems. Talk presented at the 2012 Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland.
abstract video

Carr, J. W. (2011, October). The adaptation of language toward increasingly faithful replication during its cultural transmission. Poster presented at the 1st Interdisciplinary Linguistics Conference (ILinC), Belfast, Ireland.
abstract poster

Carr, J. W. (2011, March). Language evolution on Stella Fructa: The effects of novel variables on an iterated learning model of linguistic evolution by cultural transmission. Talk presented at the 2011 conference of the Undergraduate Linguistics Association of Britain (ULAB), Edinburgh, Scotland.
abstract

Other presentations

Carr, J. W. (2021, July). Bayesian models of cognition: From individual biases to emergent cultural phenomena. Invited talk given at the Laboratoire Parole et Langage, Aix-en-Provence, France.
abstract slides

Carr, J. W. (2018, November). Induction and interaction in the evolution of language and conceptual structure. Pre-viva talk, Edinburgh, Scotland.
slides

Carr, J. W. (2018, March). Simplicity and informativeness in conceptual structure. Invited talk given to the Cognitive Neuroscience department at SISSA, Trieste, Italy.
abstract slides

Carr, J. W. (2017, October). Simplicity priors and conceptual structure. Talk given to the Centre for Language Evolution, Edinburgh, Scotland.
abstract slides

Carr, J. W. (2017, February). Informativeness: A review of work by Regier and colleagues (and a response). Talk given to the Centre for Language Evolution, Edinburgh, Scotland.
abstract slides

Carr, J. W., & Kanwal, J. (2016, April). How to crowdsource behavioural data in the social sciences. Workshop co-organized with the Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing Network, Edinburgh, Scotland.
slides

Kanwal, J., & Carr, J. W. (2016, January). Running experiments online. Workshop given at the 2016 LEC Retreat, Blair Atholl, Scotland.

Carr, J. W. (2015, June). The emergence of categorical and compositional structure in an open-ended meaning space. Talk given to the Language Evolution and Computation Research Unit, Edinburgh, Scotland.
abstract slides

Carr, J. W. (2015, January). Using GitHub for scientific research. Workshop given at the 2015 LEC Retreat, Saint Cyrus, Scotland.
slides handouts

Carr, J. W. (2012, April). Towards a measure of optimization in natural vowel systems. Poster presented at the 32nd Language at Edinburgh Lunch, Edinburgh, Scotland.
poster

Software

bibfish – Extract entries from a .bib file that are cited in a .tex file.

eyekit – A Python package for handling, analyzing, and visualizing eyetracking data.

mantel – A Python implementation of the Mantel test.