P-Y. Oudeyer The Social Formation of Acoustic Codes with 'Something Simpler'. In K. Dautenham and C. Nehaniv, editor, proceedings of the Second International Conference on Imitation in Animals and Artefacts, 2003

Sony CSL authors: Pierre-Yves Oudeyer


How do humans (or other animals) acquire those cultural acoustic codes which are finite discrete repertoires of vocalizations as well as categorization systems (e.g. vowel systems in humans) ? How do these acoustic codes, shared by each speakers of a given language and possibly very different from one language to the other, appeared? It has been proposed in the litterature (e.g. de Boer, 2000) that some form of non-trivial imitation was the mechanism which gave a solution to both questions. We show in this paper that a much simpler mechanism is able to account for the same phenomena. It is based on the self-organization of the coupling between perception and production both within and across agents. The assumptions on which the mechanism relies only deal with local properties of neural units as well as the ability to learn a mapping between two modalities in an unsupervised manner. No social skills or functional pressures related to communication are required. Yet, a structured discrete acoustic code shared by the society appears.

Keywords: origins of speech, imitation, self-organization

BibTeX entry

@INPROCEEDINGS { oudeyer:03d, AUTHOR="P-Y. Oudeyer", BOOKTITLE="proceedings of the Second International Conference on Imitation in Animals and Artefacts", EDITOR="K. Dautenham and C. Nehaniv", TITLE="The Social Formation of Acoustic Codes with 'Something Simpler'", YEAR="2003", }