The Emergence of Conventions


Much of our everyday behavior is governed by conventions. The shape of the line we form at the cafe, the language we use to order our coffee, and the money we use to pay for it are all partly arbitrary but self-sustaining solutions to recurring coordination problems. This definition, first formalized by David Lewis (1969), has provided a potent means of characterizing conventions. For cognitive scientists, however, the outstanding question is how these solutions emerge and adapt in populations of learning, reasoning agents. The aim of this symposium is to gather and integrate several distinct empirical and theoretical perspectives on this question, bridging different domains of application.

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