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PSYA02H3 Lecture Notes - Tourette Syndrome, Autism Spectrum, Asperger Syndrome

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John Bassili

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Psychology-Chapter 10 LECTURE
Chimp Vocal Language
Chimpanzee: Vicki, adopted by the Hayes’ family
Over the course of 3-4 years she was taught how to speak English using phonemes to produce
This required a lot of training
The consonants were harder to learn for Vicki, she had to use her hand to cover her mouth and
in some cases her nose in order to get the right sound
When Vicki correctly made the sound of said the word, it was usually followed by a treat or
After 3 years Vicki managed to acquire a grand total of 4 words: papa, mama, cup, up
So it was not a great success; 3 years=4 words
Why? Chimpanzees don’t have the vocal apparatus to do this (generate vocal sounds), so the
Hayes’ were at a disadvantage right off the bat
Chimpanzee: Washoe, a famous case, chimp trained by the Gardener family and assistants to
use sign language (ASL, ameslan)
Washoe was successful in making the correct signs to indicate what she wanted
After 18 months washoes vocabulary had made it to 24 signs and this sign vocabulary continued
to increase
“W” behind the ear was her sign for Washoe,
Washoe could express her emotional state using signs also (hugs etc.)
Washoe also had a concept of imagery, she could recognize herself in the mirror
A double blind exacting procedure was used where Washoe was shown some object and she
was to produce the sign for it
Eventually she learned to string signs together, ‘time eat’ ‘open hurry’ ‘baby in my drink’
After some time Washoe went to live with Roger Fouts in Oklahoma City at a primate station
where there were other chimps, undergoing similar studies
We need to be a bit weary of these videos; parts may have been edited
**SIDENOTE: Nim Chimpsky
Chimpanzee: Nim Chimpsky, play on names of Noam Chomsky a famous psycholinguist and
political writer, he was a very successful scholar, studied at MIT in the US. He wrote books about
American politics about how there really is no freedom of speech in the US. His books were so
controversial that they wouldn’t even be published in the US. So he had to come to Canada.
Dr. Laura Ann Petitto and Herb Terrace worked with Nim similar to the way the Gardeners
worked with Washoe. They wanted to teach him sign language, but they were also very
optimistic that they could use Nim as a translator/interpreter for other chimps
Dr. Laura now works at UTSC
But this was basically a fail, Nim made too many mistakes that most children would not make.
This brought negative opinions to the whole idea of chimp language. “Animals don’t have real
Later Sue-Savage-Rumbaugh, Georgia State University, did more studies with chimps and gorillas
(Kanzi, Koko, Lana)
She believed primates could learn a rudimentary form of language.
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