Savage-Rumbaugh (1986)

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Title of the study?
'Spontaneous symbol acquisition and communicative use by Pygmy chimpanzees (Pan Paniscus)
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Context of the study?
Hayes, Gardners, Savage-Rumbaugh
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What did Hayes do?
Taught Vicki (Chimpanzee) to talk.
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What 4 sounds did she produce?
'Mama', 'Papa', 'Cup', 'Up'
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True/False: Use of language was not very accurate and not very convincing.
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What did Gardners do?
Taught Washoe (Chimpanzee) to use American sign language.
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How many signs could Washoe use?
250 signs
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True/False: The jury is NOT still out whether Washoe developed langauge or not.
False: The jury was still out
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What did Savage-Rumbaugh do previously?
Trained Sherman and Austin (Common Chimpanzees) to use lexigrams.
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Aim of the study?
To investigate the human language capabilities of pygmy chimpanzees.
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2 Key focuses of the study?
Show that human language capabilities can be acquired with no training, Demonstrate human language capabilities by showing that chimps were able to provide differential responses on cue.
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Sample of the study?
Kanzi, Mulika, Sherman and Austin
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Details of Kanzi?
Pygmy chimpanzee (Bonobo) aged 30-47 months during time of report.
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Details of Mulika?
Kanzi's younger sister aged 11-21 months during the report.
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Details of Sherman and Austin?
'Common' chimpanzees previously studied and being used as a point of comparison.
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Sampling methodology used?
Opportunity Sample
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2 strengths of the sample?
Bonobos very intelligent so most likely to develop language and Opportunity so quick and easy to recruit
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2 weaknesses of the sample?
Kanzi and Mulika not normal - reared from an early age (not representative) and very small sample so may be difficult to generalise to all Bonobo's
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Research method used?
Longitudinal Case study over 17 months.
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2 strengths of the research method?
Great amount of detail related to language acquisition can be gathered and longitudinal means the effect can be tested over time
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2 weaknesses of the research method?
Researchers emotionally involved so lack objectivity and it is difficult to generalise from individual cases as they all have own characteristics
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Stages of Procedure? (3 stages)
Creating the learning environment, Procedures for identifying language use, Formal testing
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How many parts were there in Creating the learning environment? and what were they?
3: Exposure to language, Outdoor environment and Indoor environment
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Exposure to language?
Kanzi exposed to lexigrams from 6 months as he watched interactions between Matata (Mother)+keepers. Mulika learned through observing Kanzi.
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Were Kanzi and Mulika trained?
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Outdoor environment?
Chimps had to go to named places in a 55 acre forest to get food.
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Indoor environment?
Kanzi and Mulika helped in various activities such as: Laundry and making food.
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3 Procedures for identifying language use?
Lexigram use, Classification and Behavioural verification
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Lexigram use?
Indoor was automatically recorded and outdoor recorded by hand.
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Each utterance classified as: 1) Accurate, 2) Spontaneous, 3) Imitated, 4) Structured
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What was each utterance initiated by?
A question or object
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Behavioural verification?
Checking to see if a chimp responded to symbol in an appropriate way and reliability of observations recorded.
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Formal testing?
Testing of all 4 carefully controlled to rule out effect of queing
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Example of this?
Order of items varied so researcher didn't know what was tested
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How were they tested? (4 methods)
Shown photograph, select lexigram. Listened to word, select photograph. Listened to word, select lexigram. LIstened to synthesised voice, select lexigram
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Who was tested with the synthesised voice?
Kanzi (ONLY)
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Parts to the Findings?
Imitation and spontaneous use of symbols. Formal tests
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When did Kanzi first start using lexigrams and what words could he produce?
After Matata left (17 months) and he produced: banana, chase, peanut and Austin.
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When did Mulika start using lexigrams?
At 12 months
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How many words did Kanzi and Mulika acquire?
Kanzi - 46 words, Mulika - 37 words
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How many combinations did Kanzi produce in 17 months?
2,540 non-imitative combinations and 265 which were prompted or partially imitated
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For both Kanzi and Mulika, how many utterances were spontaneous and imitation?
15% imitation and 80% spontaneous
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What context did both chimps learn new terms in first?
Associative e.g. labelling an object in it's original context
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What 2 contexts came later?
Referential and Representative
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What was Kanzi able to do at the language learning centre?
Lead a visitor who knew nothing of the forest to various sites on demand.
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Formal Tests: Who could match photographs to lexigrams?
All 4 chimpanzees
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Who could select the appropriate lexigram when prompted with one word?
Kanzi and Mulika (ONLY)
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How did Kanzi fare with the synthesised voice?
Did worse than with the spoken voice
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What does the report demonstrate?
A number of key differences between pygmy and common chimps.
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What were these differences? (4 differences)
Ease of language acquisition, Ability to comprehend spoken English, Specificity with which lexigrams were used, Use of syntactical structure.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Context of the study?


Hayes, Gardners, Savage-Rumbaugh

Card 3


What did Hayes do?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What 4 sounds did she produce?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


True/False: Use of language was not very accurate and not very convincing.


Preview of the front of card 5
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