We provide a computational model of semantic alignment among communicating agents constrained by social and cognitive pressures. We use our model to analyze the effects of social stratification and a local transmission bottleneck on the coordination of meaning in isolated dyads. The analysis suggests that the traditional approach to learning-understood as inferring prescribed meaning from observations-can be viewed as a special case of semantic alignment, manifesting itself in the behaviour of socially imbalanced dyads put under mild pressure of a local transmission bottleneck. Other parametrizations of the model yield different long-term effects, including lack of convergence or convergence on simple meanings only.
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- Semantic alignment
- Social influence
- Cognitive constraints
- Transmission bottleneck