What smartphone apps may contribute to language evolution research


Unlike a standard online experiment, a gaming app lets participants interact freely with a vast number of partners, as many times as they wish. The gain is not merely one of statistical power. Cultural evolutionists can use gaming apps to allow large numbers of participants to communicate synchronously; to build realistic transmission chains that avoid the losses of information that occurs in linear chains; and to study the effects of partner choice as well as partner control in social interactions. We are releasing an app designed to take advantage of these opportunities and generate realistic language evolution dynamics.