Edinburgh Research Explorer

Prof Simon Kirby

Personal Chair of Language Evolution

Phone: 0131 650 3494

Willingness to take Ph.D. students: Yes

Research Interests

  • Evolution of language and the language faculty
  • Language as a complex adaptive system
  • Iterated learning, cultural evolution and evolutionary theory
  • Computational models of biological, social and cultural systems
  • Experimental models of culture in humans and other animals
  • Evolution of music
  • The intersection of scientific and artistic practice 

Visiting and Research Positions

Mar. 2000 – Mar. 2003 UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH, DEPARTMENT OF LINGUISTICS
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow.
Oct. 2003 – Oct. 2005 UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH, PPLS- Lecturer.
Oct. 2005 – Oct. 2009 UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH, PPLS - Reader in Evolution of Language and Cognition.
Oct. 2009 – UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH, PPLS- Professor of Language Evolution.

Teaching

Courses developed:

  • Current Issues in Language Evolution (10 credits). Postgraduate course.
  • Foundations of Evolution (10 credits). Interdisciplinary postgraduate course made up of guest lectures from across the university (Biology, Economics, Philosophy, Linguistics etc.)
  • Simulating Language (20 credits). Postgraduate and Undergraduate versions.
  • Language Evolution in the Lab (10 credits). Practical course showing how language evolution can be studied in the experiment lab.
  • Language and Communication (part of Linguistics 1). Undergraduate introductory course including guest lectures on a range of topics.
  • Computational Modelling of Linguistic Processes (20 credits). Postgraduate and Undergraduate versions.
  • In addition, I developed and ran the MSc in the Evolution of Language and Cognition aspart of our overall graduate programme in language evolution.

Administrative Roles

  • Director of the Centre for Language Evolution (current)
  • MSc Programme Director, Evolution of Language and Cognition (current)
  • Appeals committee member (current)
  • University complaints officer (current)
  • School Postgraduate Director
  • Director of the Language Evolution and Computation Research Unit
  • School Academic Misconduct Officer
  • School Undergraduate Studies Committee member

Qualifications

Oct. 1988 – Jun. 1992 UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
MA(Hons) Linguistics and Artificial Intelligence, First Class; Recipient of Howe Prize
for Artificial Intelligence 1992
Oct. 1992 – Oct. 1995 UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
PhD dissertation: “Function, Selection and Innateness: the Emergence of Language
Universals”. External examiner: Professor John Hawkins (USC)

2012, Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

Websites

Research outputs

  1. Conceptual structure and isomorphism in the noun phrase: Evidence from silent gesture

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

  2. The cultural evolution of systematic spatial reference

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Research activities & awards

  1. CUNY Sentence Processing Conference

    Activity: Participation in conference, seminar or training courseParticipation in conference

  2. PhD examination, Psychology

    Activity: External academic engagementExternal Examiner or Assessor

  3. Invited talk, linguistics

    Activity: External academic engagementInvited talk

View all (40) »

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