What is it about?

Languages differ in how they categorize the world (for example, in whether they categorize 'blue' and 'green' as different colors or shades of the same color). This paper shows that these cross-linguistic differences are partly due to the number of speakers that a language has: Larger communities create more expressive and better understood languages, as long as speaekrs have the memory resources to do so.

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Why is it important?

This finding has wide implications as categorization is the basis of many aspects of our behavior, from object and person perception to decision making. The paper also highlights how we can better understand cross-linguistic differences and language evolution by considering community structure.

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This page is a summary of: The influence of community structure on how communities categorize the world., Journal of Experimental Psychology Learning Memory and Cognition, February 2024, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/xlm0001334.
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