Studies have documented that traditional motor skills (i.e. motor habits) are part of the cultural way of life that characterises each society. Yet, it is still unclear to what extent motor skills are inherited through culture. Drawing on ethnology and motor behaviour, we addressed this issue through a detailed description of traditional pottery skills. Our goal was to quantify the influence of three kinds of constraints: the transcultural constraints of wheelthrowing, the cultural constraints induced via cultural transmission, and the potters’ individual constraints. Five expert Nepalese potters were invited to produce three familiar pottery types, each in five specimens. A total of 31 different fashioning hand positions were identified. Most of them (14) were cross-cultural, ten positions were cultural, five positions were individual, and two positions were unique. Statistical tests indicated that the subset of positions used by the participants in this study were distinct from those of other cultural groups. Behaviours described in terms of fashioning duration, number of gestures, and hand position repertoires size highlighted both individual and cross-cultural traits. We also analysed the time series of the successive hand positions used throughout the fashioning of each vessel. Results showed, for each pottery type, strong reproducible sequences at the individual level and a clearly higher level of variability between potters. Overall, our findings confirm the existence of a cultural transmission in craft skills but also demonstrated that the skill is not fully determined by a cultural marking. We conclude that the influence of culture on craft skills should not be overstated, even if its role is significant given the fact that it reflects the socially transmitted part of the skill. Such research offers insights into archaeological problems in providing a representative view of how cultural constraints influence the motor skills implied in artefact manufacturing.
Abstract Hyphenated compounds have largely been neglected in the studies of compounding, which have seldom analysed compounds in context. In this study, we argue that the hyphen use in compounds is strongly motivated. Hyphenation is used when words form a unit, which reduces the possibility of parsing them into separate units or other forms. The current study adopts a new perspective on contextual factors, namely, which part of speech (PoS) the compound as a whole belongs to and how people correctly parse a compound into a unit. This process can be observed and analysed by considering examples. This study therefore holds that hyphenation might have gradually become a compounding technique that differs from general compounding principles. To better understand hyphenated compounds and the motivation for using hyphenation, we conduct a quantitative investigation into their distribution frequency to explore how English hyphenated compounds have been used in over the last 200 years. Diachronic change in the frequency of the distribution for compounds has seldom been considered. This question is explored by using frequency data obtained from the three databases that contain hyphenated compounds. Diachronic analysis shows that the frequencies of tokens and types in hyphenated compounds have been increasing, and changes in both frequencies follow the S-curve model. Historical evidence shows that hyphenation in compounds, as an orthographic form, does not seem to disappear easily. Familiarity and economy, as suggested in the cognitive studies of compounding, cannot adequately explain this phenomenon. The three databases that we used provide cross-verification that suggests that hyphenation has evolved into a compounding technique. Language users probably unconsciously take advantage of the discriminative learning model to remind themselves that these combinations should be parsed differently. Thus the hyphenation compounding technique facilitates communication efficiency. Overall, this study significantly enhances our understanding of the nature of compounding, the motivations for using hyphenation, and its cognitive processing.
Pitch-class distributions are of central relevance in music information retrieval, computational musicology and various other fields, such as music perception and cognition. However, despite their structure being closely related to the cognitively and musically relevant properties of a piece, many existing approaches treat pitch-class distributions as fixed templates. In this paper, we introduce the Tonal Diffusion Model, which provides a more structured and interpretable statistical model of pitch-class distributions by incorporating geometric and algebraic structures known from music theory as well as insights from music cognition. Our model explains the pitch-class distributions of musical pieces by assuming tones to be generated through a latent cognitive process on the Tonnetz, a well-established representation for harmonic relations. Specifically, we assume that all tones in a piece are generated by taking a sequence of interval steps on the Tonnetz starting from a unique tonal origin. We provide a description in terms of a Bayesian generative model and show how the latent variables and parameters can be efficiently inferred. The model is quantitatively evaluated on a corpus of 248 pieces from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic era and describes the empirical pitch-class distributions more accurately than conventional template-based models. On three concrete musical examples, we demonstrate that our model captures relevant harmonic characteristics of the pieces in a compact and interpretable way, also reflecting stylistic aspects of the respective epoch. Paper with appendix
Pseudowords have long served as key tools in psycholinguistic investigations of the lexicon. A common assumption underlying the use of pseudowords is that they are devoid of meaning: Comparing words and pseudowords may then shed light on how meaningful linguistic elements are processed differently from meaningless sound strings. However, pseudowords may in fact carry meaning. On the basis of a computational model of lexical processing, linear discriminative learning (LDL Baayen et al., Complexity, 2019, 1–39, 2019), we compute numeric vectors representing the semantics of pseudowords. We demonstrate that quantitative measures gauging the semantic neighborhoods of pseudowords predict reaction times in the Massive Auditory Lexical Decision (MALD) database (Tucker et al., 2018). We also show that the model successfully predicts the acoustic durations of pseudowords. Importantly, model predictions hinge on the hypothesis that the mechanisms underlying speech production and comprehension interact. Thus, pseudowords emerge as an outstanding tool for gauging the resonance between production and comprehension. Many pseudowords in the MALD database contain inflectional suffixes. Unlike many contemporary models, LDL captures the semantic commonalities of forms sharing inflectional exponents without using the linguistic construct of morphemes. We discuss methodological and theoretical implications for models of lexical processing and morphological theory. The results of this study, complementing those on real words reported in Baayen et al., (Complexity, 2019, 1–39, 2019), thus provide further evidence for the usefulness of LDL both as a cognitive model of the mental lexicon, and as a tool for generating new quantitative measures that are predictive for human lexical processing.
This article briefly appraises the state of the art in the history of emotions, looking to its theoretical and methodological underpinnings and some of the notable scholarship in the contemporary field. The predominant focus, however, lies on the future direction of the history of emotions, based on a convergence of the humanities and neurosciences, and according to important observations about the biocultural status of human beings. While the article stops short of exhorting historians to become competent neuroscientists themselves, it does demand that historians of emotions take note of the implications of social neuroscientific research in particular, with a view to capturing the potential of the emotions to unlock the history of experience, and with a mind to unlocking the political importance of work in this area, namely, the shifting ground of what it means —how it feels— to be human.