Welcome: From Molecules to Minds

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 6.08.40 PMThis is the public website for the NSF INSPIRE project “From Molecules to Minds.” This web resource is coordinated by the UC Merced team, in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Gary Lupyan, PI) and the University of Auckland (Russell Gray). Our project explores the role of selection in shaping structures across scales, from molecules to minds. The project includes several consultants and collaborators.

From our Project Summary:

Our goal is to integrate two seemingly disparate subjects of study: the distribution and diversity of biomolecular and linguistic variants. This integration comes in the form of pursuing crucial open questions about the role of selection in organizing information, and constraining structural diversity, at these radically different scales. Though selection is a widely acknowledged process at some levels (e.g., phenotypic), its role in shaping genetic and biomolecular distribution and linguistic diversity is either subject to continuing study (in the biological case) or almost entirely neglected (in the linguistic case). Our proposed projects provide convergent tests of the hypothesis that selection acts as an organizing principle of systems varying in scale from molecules to languages.

Other acknowledgements: We thank Macmillan Science and Education for donating significant data via the Macmillan Dictionary API to support some analysis by Ardell and Winter on word frequency and semantics.