Issues of literacy, Issues of modality: Language evolution from a cultural perspective
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Recent research has identified a systematicity bias in human language. That is, humans show a cognitive bias towards compositionality in language. It has previously been suggested that literacy may prompt or enhance this bias in learners. This dissertation presents the results of an experiment which aimed to isolate possible literacy effects of this systematicity bias, using a musical language paradigm. Results indicate that literacy alone may not be sufficient for the development of this systematicity bias. However, differences between musical and orthographical literacy were identified, and may have contributed to these results. A further experiment attempted to address the validity of using such a musical language paradigm, and results indicated that referential meaning is indeed relevant for artificial language learning. Thus, the validity of this paradigm may fall under question, and so, researchers must be cautious to consider both literacy and referential meaning when employing such a paradigm.
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