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Game Provides Language Development Insights 18

Posted by Zonk
from the stickshift-razorblade-lemur dept.
void*p writes "The Economist is running an article about a computer game developed by Bruno Galantucci, a cognitive scientist at Yale. In the game, two players must find each other in a four-room building by making a single move. The catch is that the players can only communicate using invented symbols. Surprisingly, Galantucci found that teams not only communicated effectively, but also developed startlingly different sets of symbols. Galantucci's 2004 dissertation on the subject (PDF) can be found online."
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Game Provides Language Development Insights

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  • WOW! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rnd() (118781) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @01:35PM (#14045188) Homepage
    This experiment is very cool if you've studied generative linguistics. It brings the idea of innate (or universal grammar) into an experimental paradigm. Of course, there are many shortcomings, such as the contrived nature of the symbols and their visual nature, but at its core this experiment could pave the way for all kinds of incredible experiments and perhaps allow cognitive scientists and linguistic syntacticians to have some productive dialogues (surprisingly, they currently don't really do this)...
  • Re:WOW! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mooingyak (720677) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @02:06PM (#14045463)
    I was wondering how much existing knowledge/language would influence the outcome. Would people from similar backgrounds be more able to invent useful language than people from different backgrounds? Would certain groups of people, or matches of people end up working together better than others? Male/female differences?

    I also got the impression you could probably do morse code with the device though.
  • Tork (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fëanáro (130986) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @02:20PM (#14045592)
    Time to plug a short flash game i found a while ago, which does kind of the same thing (single player):

    TORK [abc.net.au]

    You are stranded on a foreign planet, and can only comunicate with the aliens in a sort of sign language. As you progress throught the game you have to become more and more fluent. Try it!
  • by rubberbando (784342) on Wednesday November 16, 2005 @04:39PM (#14046861)
    I read the article but something is bothering me about the scenario..

    How can you find someone if you have never been to where they are and they have never been to where you are?

    I mean, if you or the other player has been through the whole place, then one of you would have the info needed to describe (sketch) the directions to the other person.

    If you only know the room you are in and the other person only knows the room he/she's in, how would either of you know what is in between and if there is anything in between you at all?

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