Gardner and Gardner- Evaluating the Methodology

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Method:

CASE STUDY

  • Rich In-depth Data
  • Unusual Behaviours can be explored
  • Difficult to Generalise (each one has a unique characteristic)
  • Theoretical bias may lead them to overlook aspects of their findings (LOW VALIDITY)
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Reliability:

Gardners established a way to measure whether Washoe was using signs RELIABLY

-->

3 OBSERVERS had to report seeing Washoe sign

SPONTANEOUSLY

 and

APPROPRIATELY

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Validity:

  • Record of Washoe's achievements made by researchers who knew her well (OBSERVER BIAS) --> may have biased their recordings

 

  • Gardners have continued to conduct research with Chimpanzees and other apes--> cannot be generalised to other types of animal or specifics within a species ( everyone is individual)
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Ethics:

Benefits sufficient enough to justify the costs?

BENEFITS

  • Greater Appreciation of the value of animals - If some animals can use human language they might be given human rights

COSTS

  • Removing an animals from its natural environment and requiring it to live its life in captivity
  • Completing tasks that are 'Un-Natural'

Part of the process was engulfing Washoe directly into the human world (raising her as a human baby would be) IS THIS ETHICAL?

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