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Savage Rumbaugh

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Hugh Hooper

on 26 March 2015

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Transcript of Savage Rumbaugh

Savage Rumbaugh et al [1986]
Kanzi's Environments
Why teach language to apes?
Theories of language acquisition
VS
Biologically programmed
Language Acquisition Device (LAD)
innate mechanism
Operant Conditioning
Nature
Nurture
Is language
unique to humans?
Is language species specific?
What is Language?
A suggested list of criteria:
Semanticity
Structure Dependence
Displacement
Words can be used for things that are not there
Creativity
Create novel sentences
Generalisation
Word can be used in more than one context
(e.g. door)
Words mean something (e.g. chair/hurt)
Symbols are combined according to rules of grammar
Language

– small number of signals meaningless alone but combined to produce infinite number of messages
Communication
– way in which one person or animal transmits information to another and influences them
Gua
Vicki
up
cup
mama
papa
Washoe
ASL
132 signs
Seboek said that language studies can be divided into 3 categories -

"outright fraud, self deception & those conducted by Terrace"
Sue
Sherman & Austin
Lexigram
Focused on comprehension rather than production - if an ape understands language - it can be said to have language!?!
Vs
Pygmy
Common
Aim
To report on the language acquisition of Kanzi & his younger sister, Mulika
To compare language acquisition of the bonobos to Sherman & Austin
Method
A longitudinal case study conducted over a 17mth period
Data was gathered via observation
What is meant
by "serendipitous"?
Participants
Kanzi
* Bonobo chimp born in captivity

* Reared in a Language Research Centre -
Matata
(mother) was intended subject

* When 2.5years
Kanzi
began using symbols spontaneously
*
Kanzi
sister,

Mulika

joined the study and

Sherman & Austin (common chimps)
were used for comparsion
* 55 acres forest - with 17 food locations e.g.
bananas
= tree house
* Kanzi learned all locations - could guide people to these locations
Outdoors
Indoors
* Language centre
* Helped with laundry & food preparation
* Could play games & watch TV
Communication System
Lexigram (visual symbol system)
* Consisted of geometric symbols (lexigrams) which brightened when touched.

* These symbols were on an electronic keyboard, or on a pointing board for use outside.

* A speech synthesiser was added when it became apparent that
Kanzi
could comprehend words, so the appropriate words were spoken when a symbol was touched
Data recording & criteria
for language acquisition
* From 2yrs & 6mths
Kanzi's
utterance were recorded and coded for 17mths

* Indoor = automatically

* Outdoor = by hand & entered into a computer at the end of the day
Utterances were classified as follows
* Correct or incorrect
* Spontaneous, imitated or structured (initiated)
IMPORTANT!
Criteria for deciding whether Kanzi had acquired a symbol
behavioural
concordance
measure
1. Spontaneous utterance
2. Utterance had to match behaviour
3. Utterance had to be used on 9/10 occasions
Kanzi
was special because he acquired symbols
spontaneously, without training. In essence, he had acquired them while his mother was being trained!
* 4.5 hrs of video recording was made of real-time recording

* 1 scored real time (unaware it would be used) & 1 scored tape

Found

* Real time recording was good (real time = 37 - video = 46)

* Of the 37 there was 100% agreement

* 1 disagreement over whether lexigram was structured or spontaneous
To check that observations were valid & accurate - a
test for inter-rater reliability
was carried out.
Results
1. Aged 6-16mths

Kanzi
&

Mulika
used gestures spontaneously more than

Matata
&

sherman

&
Austin
2. Early on

Kanzi

understood that lexigrams stood for particular things. For example, if he asked for an
apple

& then offered

orange
, apple
or

banana

- would take the

apple
3.
Kanzi's
single word utternaces by 46mths comprised of 44 lexigrams
4. Like children -
Kanzi
understood language before producing it!
5.

Kanzi
used multiple combinations - accounted for 6% of his utterance

*
Kanzi

made 2805 combined utterances
* 2540 were non-imitated

"hotdog coke"
"A chase B" (not imitated!!!!!)
Formal tests
* 80% of
Kanzi's
utterances were spontaneous (S&A depended on situational cues -
low spontaneous usage
)
* Tests avoided cueing or prompting
* Items recorded correct if scored 3 out of 3
* Results showed that Kanzi could understand spoken English whereas common chimps cannot!!!!!

* S&A could not match photos to spoken English however did well on photo to symbol
Blind test in the Forest

* Aged 3 Kanzi took an experimenter around the woods (this person had never been to the woods).
Conclusions
Kanzi learned to use the symbols spontaneously
Sherman & Austin needed to be trained to use symbols
Kanzi/Pygmy chimps understand spoken English
Common chimps can't understand spoken English
Common chimps can easily generalise symbols BUT don't learn to specify - e.g. use coke & Juice interchangeably
Pygmy chimps don't make this mistake

once the 2 symbols are learnt
S&A never formed requests where they were neither the actor or beneficiary
Kanzi was able to request that A act on B
Evaluation
Full transcript