network_structure_ldc_special_issue_supplementary-material.html (6.02 MB)

Network Structure Supplementary Material for the article 'Converging evidence: Network structure effects on conventionalization of gestural referring expressions' in LDC 10.2

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posted on 09.09.2020 by Russell Richie, Marie Coppola, Pyeong Whan Cho, Matthew L. Hall
These are the supplementary materials for an article published in Language Dynamics and Change entitled 'Converging evidence: Network structure effects on conventionalization of gestural referring expressions', by Russell Richie, Matthew L. Hall, Pyeong Whan Cho and Marie Coppola, with DOI:10.1163/22105832-bja10008.
New languages emerge through interactions among people, yet the role of social network structure in language emergence is not clear, despite research from experimental semiotics, observational fieldwork, and computational modeling. To better understand the effects of social network structure on the formation of conventional referring expressions, we use a silent gesture paradigm that combines the methodological control of experimental semiotics and computational simulations with the naturalistic affordances of the human body, physical environment, and interpersonal communication. We elicited gestural referring expressions from hearing participants randomly assigned to either a richly- or sparsely-connected communicative network. Results demonstrate greater conventionalization among participants in the richly-connected condition, although this effect disappears after accounting for between-condition differences in overall number of communicative interactions. These results provide the first experimental demonstration that communicative network structure causally impacts the conventionalization of referring expressions in human participants, using a communicative modality in which human language naturally arises.
This material consists of the raw data and code used to analyze that data in the study to produce key figures and statistical analyses.