Sara Iacozza

(Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics)

I am deeply interested in how language takes form and develops in social contexts. During my PhD, I am trying to answer some questions about the role of in-group versus out-group speakers on the processing and learning of novel words. Specifically, I test whether adult learners’ attention is modulated by whom they are learning from, and whether these potential attentional biases are reflected in their source memory and in the way they process incongruent information. In order to test these hypotheses, I use behavioral measures and EEG recordings during a large variety of tasks.
MPI webpage

Limor Raviv

(Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics)

My PhD project relates to the fields of Language Evolution and Language Change by examining how social structure can affect the structure of languages created and used in laboratory settings.
The goal of this project is to explore how different aspects of societies (e.g., group size, network structure, identity of the learners, etc.) shape and affect the emergence of linguistic structure and compositionality in an artificial language game, simulating the process of cultural transmission and communication over time.
I examine whether different grammatical structures emerge in different communities, and what are the optimal conditions for grammatical structure to emerge in the first place. Importantly, I try to tease apart the different social pressures that may shape the formation and distribution of linguistic properties, relying on the classic contrast between Esoteric and Exoteric communities.
I also worked with children and examined their performance in iterated learning and statistical learning tasks, and I take special interest in animal communication and culture.