Roland Mühlenbernd

Nicolaus Copernicus University · Ul. Fosa Staromiejska 3 · 87-100 Toruń · Poland ·

I am experienced in crossdisciplinary research (particularly connecting Computer Science, Linguistics, Economics, Philosophy, and Evolution Theory) that taught me the value of 'out-of-the box thinking'. Along my career path I gathered skills in diverse programming languages (e.g. Python, Java), computational & formal (esp. game-theoretic) modelling, and statistcal analysis, as well as 'transferable skills', such as teaching, writing & publishing, reviewing, giving talks, organization of panels, and project management.


Principle Investigator

Center for Language Evolution Studies, Nicolaus Copernicus University Toruń, Poland

As principle investigator of the NAWA-funded project EvoSAL: The Evolution of Semantic Ambiguity in the Lab I investigate the role of semantic ambiguity in human language from an evolutionary point of view. I study ambiguity by calling attention to the role of cost-benefit aspects in language evolution and by applying particularly tools and methods from Evolutionary Game Theory and Experimental Economics. Particularly, I will first approach formal and computational analysis of signaling games under evolutionary dynamics with the goal to detect conditions that support the emergence of semantic ambiguity. Then I will conduct laboratory experiments to validate the prediction of formal analyses by applying tools from Experimental Economics.

December 2019 - Present

Postdoctoral Researcher

Department of Management, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy

As research fellow in the European Union's Horizon 2020 project ODYCCEUS (Opinion Dynamics and Cultural Conflicts in European Spaces), I studied the role of social and cognitive factors for cooperative behaviour in social dilemmas. We investigated game spaces which contain different game types that represent social dilemma situations, such as the prisoners' dilemma or the stag hunt game. We developed models that describe how an agent's cogntive system processes an infinite space of games, and we studied how this influences the way she behaves (cf. LiCalzi & Mühlenbernd 2019). We were able to extract factors that can explain why humans often behave more cooperatively than classical economics theory predicts.

September 2017 - November 2019

Postdoctoral Researcher

Department of Linguistics, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Germany

As research fellow in the ERC Advanced Grant project EVOLAEMP (Language Evolution: The Empirical Turn), I developed computational models to study language change and evolution. In my early work (2011–2014, including PhD thesis) I investigated the role of social and cognitive factors for the emergence of signalling conventions in a society of interacting agents. As a main result I was able to show that agents play different ‘roles’ in the emergence and spread of conventions, which strongly correlate with network-structural features (cf. Mühlenbernd & Quinley 2017, Mühlenbernd 2017). In subsequent work (2014–2017) I i) extended my analysis to more language-specific phenomena (cf. Mühlenbernd & Enke 2017) and ii) developed algorithms for the estimation of the age of languages' proto-stages (cf. Mühlenbernd & Rama 2017).

August 2013 - August 2017


Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Germany

Doktor der Philosophie (Ph.D.)
Field: General Linguistics
Scope: Computational Models of Language Change
Key competences: Theories of Language Change, Network Theory, Evolutionary Game Theory, Learning Models, Computational Modelling, Multi-Agent Systems, Statistical Analysis
April 2010 - July 2013

University of Bielefeld, Germany

Master of Science
Field: Interdisciplinary Media Science
Thesis: 'Kommunikationsmodell für den Entwicklungsprozess von Implikatures' (Communication Model for the Development Process of Implicatures)
Scope: Game-Theoretic Models of Language Use/Pragmatics
Key competences: Theories of Linguistic Pragmatics, Formal Models, Epistemic Game Theory
October 2006 - March 2010

University of Paderborn, Germany

Bachelor of Computer Science
Field: Computer Science (Minor: Psychology)
Thesis: 'FPGA Implementierung eines server-basierten Schedulers für periodische Hardwaretasks' (FPGA Implementation of a server-based Scheduler for periodic Hardware Tasks)
Scope: Implementation of Embedded Systems
Key competences: Programming (C, Java, Python), Logic, Algorithmic Game Theory
March 2004 - October 2006


Research Project Grant (ca. € 75,000)
Project 'The Evolution of Semantic Ambiguity in the Lab' (EVOSAL), funded by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA), Center for Language Evolution Studies, Nicolaus Copernicus University Torun, Poland
December 2019 - today
Visiting Scholar Grant ($ 1,725)
Department of Linguistics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
March 2018
Postdoctoral Researcher Grant (€ 88,200)
ERC project ODYCCEUS, Department of Management, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy
September 2017 - November 2019
Visiting Scholar Grant ($ 4,000)
Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science, University of California, Irvine, USA
July 2017 - September 2017
Conference Subsidy ($ 5,250)
Human Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES), Subsidy for the 12th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (Evolang XII), Center for Language Evolution Studies, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland
July 2017
Visiting Scholar Grant
International Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science. Paul Sabatier University Toulouse, France
March 2015 - April 2015
Udo Keller Foundation Fellowship
Forum Scientiarum, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Germany
November 2011 - July 2012


When the weather is good, I like to play basketball with my son or enjoy going jogging on my own. Or just go around the block with my dog. But I also enjoy sports inside the house: I like to watch American football and classical football, but also basketball, handball, darts and snooker. I also enjoy playing computer sport games with my son, such as football, basketball, kart racing or wrestling. I also like to read popular science, philosophical, political and historical literature, from Richard Dawkins to Richard David Precht. I enjoy reading biographies from diverese people of different historical times, for example Winston Churchill, Karl Marx, Martin Luther, Elon Musk or Helmut Schmidt.

I used to travel a lot, but not only job-related but also enjoy trips with my wife Karolina and my boy(s) to diverse countries. We like to get in contact with interesting and exotic cultures. In this respect, we also like exotic food and enjoy to try out many different restaurants, especially with crazy or exotic food creations. Karolina and I are also big movie fans, we have a big movie collection and like to go to the cinema. But we also love to relax with Live-Concert DVD's, since we love Music and like to listen to Mark Knopfler, Passenger, Neil Young, or Kings of Leon.