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18 Jan 2011
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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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Document Summary

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. It was taught using american sign language to communicate. Can it understand symbol and produce sentence with structure. 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.

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