the aim was to determine whether Kanzi could develop the ability to use language in the same way as a child.
cognitive approach, language development
method and design
a case study, longitudinal design
- a pygmy chimp called kanzi who was born 28/10/80 in captivity, in the Yerkes regional primate centre, USA.
- his mother was a language chimp.
- kanzi was assigned to the language research centre at 6 months old and was reared in a language using environment with humans
- when he was 2.5 yrs old after being separated from his mother he was observed spontaneously using symbols without training kanzi identified symbols correctly and did not confuse them, he also understood spoken words.
- when indoors kanzi used a battery powered lexigram keyboard that recorded his use. when outdoors kanzi used a laminated copy of the keyboard at a pointing board
- kanzis outdoor environment was 55 acres of forest in which specific foods were stored at 17 different locations
- a record was kept of kanzis language development for 17 months from when he was 2.5 years old. two records were kept - an automatic computerised record of his lexigram use indoors and notes from observers when outside.
kanzis symbol use was recorded as correct, incorrect, spontaneous, imitation and structured. a record was kept of whether his behaviour matched his symbolic utterance
- 2,530 correct combinations of symbols, many being two foods e.g. hot-dog and cola, were recorded.
- 265 instances of imitating symbols were recorded
- the ordering of symbol, gesture, symbol indicated that kanzi was using correct English syntax and understood that the order of the symbols changed the meaning of the communication.
ecological validity is high in this study as it was conducted in kanzis natural environment
research validity is is high due to the large amount of controls used.