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Comparative Psychology Test

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Mary Gani Psychology - 12 Comparative Psychology Test 4. a.) In 1933, Kellogg and Kellogg raised their child with chimpanzee Gua to attempt in teaching Gua spoken English. Although Gua could understand approximately 70 words, there was no speech production at all. Gardner and Gardner (1969) taught a female chimpanzee named Washoe. Instead of teaching her how to speak, they tried another attempt: teaching her American Sign Language (ASL). By utilizing positive reinforcement, Washoe was able to comprehend and use over 130 distinct signs by the age of 4. Like a young child, she generalized words, such as "more tickling" and "more brushing". She also showed spontaneous recombination, such as calling a swan a 'water bird', as well as teaching it to her children and other chimpanzees. Premack and Premack (1972) taught the female chimpanzee Sarah a language using plastic symbols in certain orders. She was able to understand link between plastic symbols and what they stood for. ...read more.


One of the most provocative debates over recent years has been over whether language is an ability specific to humans. While research and development have begun to challenge the assumption of language being human-specific, skeptic scientists as well as others have nonetheless, disregarded evidence. There has been also been a debate on whether it is the productivity or comprehension of language that is more important. Savage-Rumbaugh sees comprehension of language to be the most important aspect of language. Dolphins' studies were geared towards comprehension. Dolphins Ake and Phoenix (studied by Herman et al, 1984) have shown that they could obey instructions to manipulate certain objects if instructions were phrased in linguistic sounds or signs used to represent those objects. However, the debate became was rather inadequate as studies with chimpanzees, for instance studies including Washoe and Sarah, started to prove apparent production of language. The importance of grammar in language was then argued. Researchers such as Terrace began to point out how non-human animals produced language. ...read more.


Researchers have also, now, started recording methods (ie. using video camera and voice recorders) to show for as strong evidence. Terrace also argues that the only motivation that apes possess is that of its operant conditioning, obtaining treats when getting something right, however not fully understanding the meaning of responses. Aitchinson (1983) explained 4 reasons in why Washoe failed to show structure dependence: 1.) She was given a reward every time she used correct sign regardless of word order; 2.) It is easier to preserve word order in speech then in signs; 3.) The Gardners claim that later she did learn to use fixed orders of words; 4.) She could not understand the pattern of language. In 1979, Peitto and Steinberg pointed out that ape signing was characteristically repetitive, with an inconsistent structure. In conclusion, although non-human animals have proved to show understanding, productivity, displacement and structure dependence of language, it is still difficult or impossible to consider that non-human animals are capable of using language to the extent that humans do. However, it is possible to state that non-human animals are able to utilize language to a certain extent. ...read more.

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