Universal principles of human communication: preliminary evidence from a cross-cultural communication game

Fay, N., Walker, B., Swoboda, N., Umata, I., Fukaya, T., Katagiri, Y. and Garrod, S. (2018) Universal principles of human communication: preliminary evidence from a cross-cultural communication game. Cognitive Science, 42(7), pp. 2397-2413. (doi:10.1111/cogs.12664) (PMID:30051508)

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Abstract

The present study points to several potentially universal principles of human communication. Pairs of participants, sampled from culturally and linguistically distinct societies (Western and Japanese, N = 108: 16 Western-Western, 15 Japanese-Japanese and 23 Western-Japanese dyads), played a dyadic communication game in which they tried to communicate a range of experimenter-specified items to a partner by drawing, but without speaking or using letters or numbers. This paradigm forced participants to create a novel communication system. A range of similar communication behaviors were observed among the within-culture groups (Western-Western and Japanese-Japanese) and the across-culture group (Western-Japanese): They (a) used iconic signs to bootstrap successful communication, (b) addressed breakdowns in communication using other-initiated repairs, (c) simplified their communication behavior over repeated social interactions, and (d) aligned their communication behavior over repeated social interactions. While the across-culture Western-Japanese dyads found the task more challenging, and cultural differences in communication behavior were observed, the same basic findings applied across all groups. Our findings, which rely on two distinct cultural and linguistic groups, offer preliminary evidence for several universal principles of human communication.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:N.F. and S.G. acknowledge support by an ARC Discovery grant (no. DP120104237).
Keywords:Cross-cultural, dialogue, experimental semiotics, icon, interaction, language evolution, pragmatics, symbol.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Garrod, Professor Simon
Authors: Fay, N., Walker, B., Swoboda, N., Umata, I., Fukaya, T., Katagiri, Y., and Garrod, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:Cognitive Science
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0364-0213
ISSN (Online):1551-6709
Published Online:26 July 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
First Published:First published in Cognitive Science 42(7):2397-2413
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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