I Segni (simboli, lettere, caratteri) tra natura e cultura

In uno dei prossimi fascicoli della rivista

In uno dei prossimi fascicoli della rivista American Naturalist si sostiene che il mondo dei segni (simboli, lettere, caratteri) che usiamo quotidianamente provengono dal mondo naturale e sono selezionati culturalmente. Ecco cosa sostengono Mark A. Changizi, Qiong Zhang, Hao Ye, and Shinsuke Shimojo (California Institute of Technology), nel prossimo articolo The structures of letters and symbols throughout human history are selected to match those found in objects in natural scenes: Why are letters and other human visual signs shaped the way they are? Changizi and coworkers test the hypothesis that human visual signs have been culturally selected to look like the contour conglomerations (e.g., “L” and “T” junctions) found in natural scenes, because that is what we have evolved to be good at seeing. First, they analyzed one hundred writing systems, Chinese characters, and nonlinguistic visual signs, and found that these disparate classes of human visual sign possess a similar “shape signature,” that is, the contour combinations that are common in one of these classes of visual signs tend to also be common in the other classes. Second, by examining motor and visual complexity, and by examining visual signs known to be selected for the motor or visual system, they make a strong case that the shape signature for human visual signs is primarily selected for reading, at the expense of writing. Finally, they test the ecological hypothesis by comparing the shape signature from natural images to that from human visual signs and find that they highly match one another.