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Savage-Rumbaugh (1986)


1. To study language acquisition in two pygmy chimpanzees ­ Kanzi and Mulika ­ compared with
two common chimpanzees ­ Austin and Sherman.
2. To describe the first instance in which a non-human species has acquired symbols without specific
training towards that goal.

Information on the Experiment…

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Observational setting Training environment
Speech synthesiser No speech synthesiser
Used pointing board outside the lab Used pointing board outside the lab

Independent Variable

The two different types of chimpanzees

Dependent Variable

Measure of language acquisition


o Four main differences were found
o Kanzi and Mulika comprehended the lexigrams with…

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Mulika's symbol acquisition

Symbols Age acquired (months)
Milk 17
Key, t-room, surprise 20
Juice, water 22
Groom 37
Egg 40
Hamburger, water, M&M, surprise 41
Clover, Matata (her mother), TV, orange juice 42
Mulika, carrot 43
Grab, tree house, blanket, blackberry 44
Mushroom trail 45
Refrigerator, hot dog 46



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