Jean-Louis Dessalles (School of Telecom, ParisTech)

Oct. 12, 2012 Seminar.
Evolution, Complexity and Cognition (ECCO) group / Global Brain Institute.
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). ecco.vub.ac.be

Abstract::
Human beings devote some two hours each day on average to reporting events, through conversational narratives. This behaviour is unique in the animal kingdom. Simplicity Theory offers a formal characterization of what makes an event narratable. Interesting events (exceptions, deviations from norms, coincidences, rarities, emotional situations...) all share the property of offering abnormal order: they are less complex than anticipated. Complexity drop (simplicity) seems to be a key determining factor, not only of interest, but also of aesthetics and of emotional intensity. Why did human beings evolve a sense of simplicity?

Bibliography:
Dessalles, J-L. (2008). La pertinence et ses origines cognitives - Nouvelles théories.
Paris: Hermes-Science Publications. pertinence.dessalles.fr
Dessalles, J-L. (2009). Why we talk - The evolutionary origins of language (2nd edition).
Oxford: Oxford University Press. dessalles.fr/WWT/

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