Aims and Context
- Communic = process of transmttng info frm one indiv or grp to anther indiv or group. Lang = consid a form of comm. Lang is a smll number of signals(sounds, letters+ gestures)- by themselves are meaningless-but can be organised into meaningful combos and by using certain rules-can be made into - an infin number of mssages. Chomsky argued - lang is uniq 2 humans - so - nt be acquired by othr spcies - belived only hmans hd a lang acquis device (LAD).But Skinnr argued - nout spec bout lang-so no reasn why other spcies cdn't learn lang.
- Charles Hockett - produ - 'the design features of lang' - & sugg that there are 13 charcaterist that disting animal comm from human lang - e.g. discplacement (comm about things not present)or productivity (reaction of variety of new messages). Animal comm many of these features - but only Human lang has all of them.
- Hayes+Hayes - attem teach chimp spok lang - Vicki - raise hman hse - 6yrs - reward 4 noises - sound-speech -mast 4 words(mama,papa,up,cup)these only understood by fam -glutt.
- Yerkes noticed - lab chimps - capable - spontaneously developi begging + sim beh. The use of their hands - 2 help solve mechanical probs - partic skill -chimps - suit- sign lang - G+G used.
- G+G used ASL rather-speech - b/c dextrous - proven diff vocal chords than humans - not prod same sounds. ASL = complete lang-complex ideas expressed - enable resear to see if a limitation in developm of lang-due to the chimps cog ability rather than phys restraints.
- Aim - ans - what ext might anoth spec able use human lang. G+G aimed to invest if teach chimp (soc anim) 2 comm us a hum lang. soc imp b/c mitvator in developm of lang - so vit use anim interested in socialising
The method used was a case study - it involved a single ppt (chimpanzee called washoe). washoe was estim 2 be between 8-14 months old when 1st acquired by the Gardners. from this age she was encouraged to socialise with humans and had littlle contact with other chimps.She had been born in the wild in Africa and then taken to America. a young chimp was chosen because there is a crucial stage in human lang acquisition, so there may be the same cut-off points in chimps. A chimps was chosen b/c they are intelligent, sociable, and closely related to humans with whom they can form strong bonds.Why did the researches choose ASL - chimps physically unable to vocalise some sounds, they have the manual dexterity and motivation to imitate sounds, its a complex and complete lang which is equivalent to a spoken lang, + , ASL would allow them to compare Washoe's progress to that of deaf children. In terms of the trainers, all people who dealt with washoe had to masteer ASL. The gardners made sure that Washoe had lots of companions who were also learning ASL. Teaching strategies - operant cond - training methods used - meant that each time she produced a sign that was recogniseable she was rewarded with being tickled - positive reinforcement. Imitation - demonstrating and encouraging copying. babbling - this was encouraged and the correct ASL sign showed. shhaping of hands - her hands were moulded into the right shapes. Recording the results - to decide whther a sign had been learnt, a double blind procedure was used by the researchers. they put a box with a picture inside where washooe would play and when she opened the box and saw the picture she made a sign - the sign was observed by a researcher and noted. a 2nd researcher, who could not see the box, allso recorded what they thought the sign washoe had presented was. this was then checked and only if the sign corresponded with the picture and was used in context for a period of 15 consecutive days, was it counted as learnt.
Findings and conclusions
As a baby when first arrived - little progress mmade. as she got older manual babbling began to emerge just like babies do with sounds washoe did with her hannds. soon she began to pick up clearer signs. By the end of the 22 months of the programme 30 signs fitted the crietria of the the 3 observers had seen the signsoccurring in the appropriate context over a period of 15 consecutive days. at 7 months 4 signs acquired. 14 months = 13 signs acquired. 21 months = 30 signs acquired.