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Lecture 3

Course Code
John Bassili

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Psychology Lecture 3
Approach to Chimp Language
-it took three years for chimp Vicky to learn four words: papa, mama, cup, and up
-the experiment fails to prove chimp have language
-but, the failure for chimp to produce language may be due to the fact that it does not the vocal
apparatus to pronounce the words so there is a barrier
-researcher should think of a method to bypass the barrier of language pronunciation and focus
on language in terms of structure and symbol (be more generative)
-use of symbol is a part of language
-deaf people develop language through sign and do not communicate through sound
Chimp Washoe
-it was taught using American sign language to communicate
-can it understand symbol and produce sentence with structure
-language is generative
idea is coded into sign language
flexibility to go from meaning to sign
-researcher taught Washoe using shaping method
her hand is brought together with the approximation of the sign and is reinforced with the
appropriate response
-Washoe can generalize early signs and use them in all kinds of situation
-after the sign “open” for a door, she can apply to situations like open the suitcase and container
-shows she understands the concept
-most sings are iconic, closely resemble the object and action it refers to
-Washoe learned 24 signs, language acquisition and vocabulary are going up
-also uses inquiry sign to express emotional state, like hug
-capable to generalize and use word spontaneously
-sometimes make wrong sign, but still understand the concept, for example, make a sign for
comb instead of a brush, which both objects serve the same function
-when a mirror is placed in front of Washoe, she has a concept of herself
-has concept of imager, can recognize picture of object
-double blind experiment can be used, Washoe is shown with image probably generated at
random and is tested to produce signs of the shown object
Combining Words: Evidence of Syntactic Structure?
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