Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor, Organizational Behavior

2023-24 Courses

All Publications

  • Zipf's Law of Abbreviation holds for individual characters across a broad range of writing systems COGNITION Koshevoy, A., Miton, H., Morin, O. 2023; 238: 105527


    Zipf's Law of Abbreviation - the idea that more frequent symbols in a code are simpler than less frequent ones - has been shown to hold at the level of words in many languages. We tested whether it holds at the level of individual written characters. Character complexity is similar to word length in that it requires more cognitive and motor effort for producing and processing more complex symbols. We built a dataset of character complexity and frequency measures covering 27 different writing systems. According to our data, Zipf's Law of Abbreviation holds for every writing system in our dataset - the more frequent characters have lower degrees of complexity and vice-versa. This result provides further evidence of optimization mechanisms shaping communication systems.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cognition.2023.105527

    View details for Web of Science ID 001040672900001

    View details for PubMedID 37364507

  • Statistical signals of copying are robust to time- and space-averaging EVOLUTIONARY HUMAN SCIENCES Youngblood, M., Miton, H., Morin, O. 2023; 5: e10


    Cattle brands (ownership marks left on animals) are subject to forces influencing other graphic codes: the copying of constituent parts, pressure for distinctiveness and pressure for complexity. The historical record of cattle brands in some US states is complete owing to legal registration, providing a unique opportunity to assess how sampling processes leading to time- and space-averaging influence our ability to make inferences from limited datasets in fields like archaeology. In this preregistered study, we used a dataset of ~81,000 Kansas cattle brands (1990-2016) to explore two aspects: (1) the relative influence of copying, pressure for distinctiveness and pressure for complexity on the creation and diffusion of brand components; and (2) the effects of time- and space-averaging on statistical signals. By conducting generative inference with an agent-based model, we found that the patterns in our data are consistent with copying and pressure for intermediate complexity. In addition, by comparing mixed and structured datasets, we found that these statistical signals of copying are robust to, and possibly boosted by, time- and space-averaging.

    View details for DOI 10.1017/ehs.2023.5

    View details for Web of Science ID 000983068100001

    View details for PubMedID 37587938

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10426036