Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
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A trait is of adaptive value if it confers a fitness advantage to its possessor. Thus adaptiveness is an ahistorical identification of a trait affording some selective advantage to an agent within some particular environment. In results reported here we identify a trait within natural language discourse as having adaptive value by computing a trait/fitness covariance; the possession of the trait correlates with the replication success of the trait’s possessor. We show that the trait covaries with fitness across multiple unrelated discursive groups. In our analysis the trait in question is a particular statistically derived word-in-context, that is, a word set. Variation of the word-usage is measured as the relative presence of the word set within a particular text, that is, the percentage of the text devoted to this set of words. Fitness is measured as the rate in which the text is responded to, or replicates, within an online environment. Thus we are studying the micro-evolutionary dynamics of natural language discourse.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): adaptation; cultural evolution; evolution in communication; population memetics
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