Developing a theory for the origins and evolution of language is the goal of this lab’s research. Such a theory necessarily involves three aspects: social, cultural and biological. The social aspect should give us answers to the question “Why did humans start to talk?” The cultural aspect looks to explain how new language forms arise in language and continue to change over time. The biological aspect addresses how the biological foundations for language may have arisen. The Language Evolution lab focuses mostly on the cultural aspect, developing and testing agent-based models to explain how features of language, such as agreement systems, arise and culturally evolve.
Lab website: Language Evolution Lab
Steels L.; Szathmáry E. 2018. The evolutionary dynamics of language. BioSystems. 164:128-137 doi: 10.1016/j.biosystems.2017.11.003
Steels, L. 2017. Human language is a culturally evolving system. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 24(1): 190–193.