SC11 Language Dynamics: Models, Data and Experiments.


We will start by discussing the complex-systems approach to modelling and multi-agent models. Then we will focus on the study of the spontaneous emergence of consensus. We will address the case of simple linguistic conventions and survey different attempts to study them, ranging from modelling to data science approaches and to experiments with human subjects. Focusing on the simple Naming Game, we will highlight how different arrangements of the population, i.e., different social networks, affect the collective dynamics of agreement. Finally, we will discuss the case of category systems. We will show that a simple multi-agent model reproduces quantitatively many statistical properties of the empirical data, unveiling how cognition shapes cultural evolution


Understanding the dynamics of spontaneous emergence of consensus, and in particular the role of the social network and the interplay between cognition and cultural evolution.


D. Centola and A. Baronchelli The spontaneous emergence of conventions: An experimental study of cultural evolution Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 112, 1989 (2015)

A. Baronchelli, T. Gong, A. Puglisi and V. Loreto Modeling the emergence of universality in color naming patterns Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107, 2403 (2010)

A. Baronchelli, M. Felici, V. Loreto, E. Caglioti and L. Steels Sharp transition towards shared vocabularies in multi-agent systems J. Stat. Mech. P06014 (2006)

Course location

Forum 2

Course requirements


Instructor information.