Yasamin Motamedi


I am interested in understanding how cultural evolutionary processes shape language, particularly in the manual modality. My previous research has used experimental methods looking at gestural communication to understand the effects of interaction and transmission in the evolution of language, drawing motivation from cases of natural sign language emergence. In addition, I am interested in testing modality effects in emerging sign systems (e.g. iconicity), and what such effects tell us about the evolution of language and cognition.

I am currently an affiliated researcher with the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, where I am investigating measures of iconicity in evolving signal systems. I am completing my PhD in the Centre for Language Evolution at the University of Edinburgh, supervised by Simon Kirby, Kenny Smith and Marieke Schouwstra. During my PhD, I have developed Artificial Sign Language Learning methodologies to investigate cultural evolution in manual communication systems.