Simulation Applets in NetLogo
This simulation illustrates the phenomenon of coarsening, in which short-range tendencies toward greater similarity promote the development of long-range domains of a given pattern. This concept plays a role in Feedback and Regularity in the Lexicon (Wedel 2007) and Category Competition as a Driver of Contrast (Wedel and Fatkullin, in prep). The applet may take up to a minute to load.
Both of these exemplar-based simulations illustrate the development of category contrast through competition. This concept plays a role in Inhibited Sound Change: An Evolutionary Approach to Lexical Competition (Blevins and Wedel 2009) and Category competition as a driver of category contrast (Wedel and Fatkullin, in preparation). The applets may take up to a minute to load.
Positive and negative feedback pathways often interact to produce unexpected structures in complex systems. One possible result of the interaction of positive similarity-based feedback and negative contrast-preserving feedback is the evolution of constrained phoneme inventories. In this model, phoneme contrast develops parasitically on word-contrast. To see some movies of a simple simulation of this model, run the above short powerpoint presentation. This work is currently being prepared under the working title Sound contrast as an emergent epiphenomenon of lexical contrast.