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Department of Experimental Psychology University of Oxford South Parks Road Oxford OX1 3UD, UK
My research focuses on the function and evolution of language; namely, why only humans have language, how it evolved in our species, and how it obtained its rich communicative structure (i.e. including syntax and grammar).
Language is widely regarded as one of the most important features which distinguishes humans from other animal species, providing the foundation for human cultural variation. Historically, research in the field has been highly theoretical and dominated largely by computational modelling approaches. To address this gap in our understanding, I employ a broad range of cognitive and behavioral experiments, including cooperative problem-solving, advanced theory of mind (i.e. embedded mind-reading) tasks, and vignettes - specifically, in this case, to investigate honest signalling theory approaches to language evolution. The primary aim of this work is to better understand how language in particular integrates large-scale communities and encourages (and in the worst case discourages) group social cohesion.
Apart from my research, Iâm currently a Demonstrator for the Core Practical undergraduate courses in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience.