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Final Exam Notes

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University of Toronto St. George
Gillian Rowe

Language Communication: transmission of signal that conveys information o Can be experienced through gestures, facial expressions, body language, spoken language o Every attempt at formal communication is an interaction between our goals and desires and the goals and desires of others. o Our ability to express those goals and desires in a way that can be understood by others is the main determinant of effective communication. o Can be seen in humans and non-humans: Clever Hans By tapping hoof on ground, could: count, tell time, make change; however, this was mostly due to Hans reaction to his owners behaviour. Hans trainer was tipping him off by tensing his body up. Honeybees dance: Forager bee locates food, returns to the hive and performs a dance Number of repetitions of the dance communicates quality of food Distance communicated by form of dance Vervet Monkeys: 3 distinct calls to signal danger: (1) snake stand on hind legs and scan ground (2) leopard climb onto smallest branches of nearby trees (3) eagle climb trees but stay close to the trunk or dive into dense bushes Behaviour related to danger distinction of sounds Sarah the adult chimp: Plastic symbols differing in shape, color, and size were used as words (i.e. apple is a small red square) Arranged on board Food rewardreinforcement Washoe (Gardner and Gardner, 1969) Treated like human child and taught American Sign Language Washoes trainers always conversed in ASL when around her. Became able to use signs in novel yet appropriate combinations: o Water bird, dirty Roger, open faucet Had some limits (learned significantly less than a typical child, compared to their ages and years of training) Results: o Language is taught, not just exposed to o Over-interpretation problem o Incomplete documentation o Limited results: small vocabulary o Little evidence of grammar o Little evidence of productive or innovative language Koko: raised gorilla (Patterson and Linden, 1981) Vocabulary over 1000 signs and understands even more spoken English Uses structure, is creative and spontaneous in her language Invented her own new compound signs (i.e. finger-bracelet for ring) Alex: Avian Learning Experiment the parrot Correctly used no and come here; named over 100 objects in the environment; surfed the internet Language: a form of communication o Organized way to combine words to communicate o Psycholinguistics: the study of acquisition, storage, comprehension, and production of language o Chomsky: human essence
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