I am currently a postdoctoral researcher on the ESRC funded project “Constraints on the Adaptiveness of Information in Language (CAIL)”. We are using Information Theory to analyse human language and its cognitive scaffolding, and will produce computational research tools for wider use.

The CAIL project is hosted by Newcastle University in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, as part of the Language Evolution, Variation and Acquisition group and the Centre for Behaviour and Evolution.

I’m generally interested in language evolution, social cognition, and other aspects of cognition that define us as human. My PhD and subsequent work focussed on inferential processing and its interaction with language in evolutionary, psycholinguistic, comparative, and cognitive scientific terms.

Topics of Interest:

  • The evolution of pragmatic competence in humans, cognitive preadaptations for language
  • Mechanisms of inference, the integration of non-linguistic information in linguistic processing
  • The effect of the social-cognitive underpinnings of communication on linguistic structure
  • Comparative study of inferential and social cognition, particularly vis-à-vis communication systems
  • The epistemology of frameworks within cognitive science and evolutionary theory, and models of mind and science more broadly

email: rachael.bailes@ncl.ac.uk