Jon W. Carr

  jeradicate.wremove.carrexpunge@edpurge.acdelete.ukerase, pgp      jongleur      jwcarr

I’m a fourth-year PhD student in the Centre for Language Evolution at the University of Edinburgh, supervised by Simon Kirby, Kenny Smith, and Jennifer Culbertson, and funded by the ESRC.

My research uses experimental models to understand how cultural evolution gives rise to the properties we find in language. I’m interested in how discrete, finite languages evolve to express a continuous, open-ended set of meanings by dividing the world into categories. I'm especially interested in how such categories become optimized by competing trade-offs from language learning (make the language as simple as possible) and communication (make the language as expressive as possible).

Publications

Journal articles

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, 892–923. doi:10.1111/cogs.12371 [pdf, code+data]

Chapters in edited collections

Carr, J. W., & Smith, K. (2016). Modeling language transmission. In T. K. Shackelford & V. A. Weekes-Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of evolutionary psychological science. Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3353-1 [preprint]

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). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. [pdf]

Abstracts in conference proceedings

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]

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]

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). Singapore: World Scientific. doi:10.1142/9789814603638_0066 [preprint]

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). Singapore: World Scientific. doi:10.1142/9789814603638_0065 [preprint]

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). Singapore: World Scientific. doi:10.1142/9789814401500_0058 [preprint]

Unpublished material

Carr, J. W. (2013). The cumulative cultural evolution of category structure in an infinite meaning space. (Unpublished master’s dissertation). University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK. [pdfcode+data]

Carr, J. W. (2011). The effects of novel variables on an iterated learning model of linguistic evolution by cultural transmission. (Unpublished technical report). University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK. [pdf]

Carr, J. W. (2010). On the evolution of language by means of cultural transmission: Demonstrated by an experiment modelling the cumulative adaptation of language through cultural transmission. (Unpublished undergraduate dissertation). University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK. [pdf]

Presentations

Conference presentations

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

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. Paper presented at the Inaugural Conference of the Cultural Evolution Society, Jena, Germany. [abstract, slides]

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

Tamariz, M., Kirby, S., & Carr, J. W. (2016, August). Cultural evolution across domains: Language, technology and art. Paper 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. Paper presented at the 2016 Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference, Edinburgh, UK. [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. Paper 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. Paper 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. Paper presented at the 2015 Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference, Edinburgh, UK. [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. Paper presented at the 10th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (Evolang X), 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 X), Vienna, Austria. [abstract, poster]

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

Carr, J. W. (2012, May). Towards a measure of the optimization of natural vowel systems. Paper presented at the 2012 Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference, Edinburgh, UK. [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, UK. [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. Paper presented at the 2011 conference of the Undergraduate Linguistics Association of Britain (ULAB), Edinburgh, UK. [abstract]

Other presentations

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

Kanwal, J., & Carr, J. W. (2016, January). Running experiments online. Workshop given at the 2016 LEC (Language Evolution and Computation Research Unit) Retreat, Blair Atholl, UK.

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

Carr, J. W. (2015, January). Using GitHub for scientific research. Workshop given at the 2015 LEC (Language Evolution and Computation Research Unit) Retreat, Saint Cyrus, UK. [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, UK. [poster]

Resources

MantelTest – An implementation of the Mantel test, a statistical test of the correlation between two distance matrices.

PageTest – An implementation of Page’s test, which is useful for analysing the results of iterated learning experiments. It takes a matrix of scores and returns Page’s L statistic along with the p-value.

SimpleSignUp – A simple web app for signing up and scheduling experiment participants.