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  Iconicity can ground the creation of vocal symbols

Perlman, M., Dale, R., & Lupyan, G. (2015). Iconicity can ground the creation of vocal symbols. Royal Society Open Science, 2: 150152. doi:10.1098/rsos.150152.

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2015
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© 2015 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

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 Creators:
Perlman, Marcus1, Author              
Dale, Rick2, Author
Lupyan, Gary1, Author
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1Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, ou_persistent22              
2Cognitive and Information Sciences, University of California, , ou_persistent22              

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 Abstract: Studies of gestural communication systems find that they originate from spontaneously created iconic gestures. Yet, we know little about how people create vocal communication systems, and many have suggested that vocalizations do not afford iconicity beyond trivial instances of onomatopoeia. It is unknown whether people can generate vocal communication systems through a process of iconic creation similar to gestural systems. Here, we examine the creation and development of a rudimentary vocal symbol system in a laboratory setting. Pairs of participants generated novel vocalizations for 18 different meanings in an iterative ‘vocal’ charades communication game. The communicators quickly converged on stable vocalizations, and naive listeners could correctly infer their meanings in subsequent playback experiments. People's ability to guess the meanings of these novel vocalizations was predicted by how close the vocalization was to an iconic ‘meaning template’ we derived from the production data. These results strongly suggest that the meaningfulness of these vocalizations derived from iconicity. Our findings illuminate a mechanism by which iconicity can ground the creation of vocal symbols, analogous to the function of iconicity in gestural communication systems.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2015
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
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 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1098/rsos.150152
 Degree: -

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Title: Royal Society Open Science
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: London : Royal Society
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 2 Sequence Number: 150152 Start / End Page: - Identifier: Other: 2054-5703
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/2054-5703