Jon Carr

Jon completed his PhD in the Centre for Language Evolution at the University of Edinburgh, supervised by Simon Kirby, Kenny Smith, and Jennifer Culbertson. In his PhD he explored the evolution of language and conceptual systems through a combination of Bayesian modelling and experiments. This work showed that language structure becomes optimized under simultaneous pressure from both learning and communicative interaction: The pressure from learning shapes the structure of semantic categories, and the added pressure from communication gives rise to higher-level forms of linguistic structure, such as compositionality. In general, Jon is interested in how simple computational principles can explain the high-level complexity observed in both human behaviour and the culturally evolved phenomena that arise from such behaviour.

In the lab, Jon carries out artificial lexicon experiments, studying how readers familiarize themselves with novel words in either familiar or unfamiliar scripts. He also studies how this learning is affected by type and token frequency. You can find more information about Jon at his website.