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Flashcards in Lessons From The Language Studies Deck (42):

What are the sociological issues surrounding nonhuman language capabilities?

language to many is:
1. sacred
2. gift from God
3. what separates us from the beasts
4. what makes us special


How did Chomsky explain language learning in humans?

Humans designed with basic language acquisiton device in brain


Why did the attempts to teach Kelloggs how to speak fail?

-do not have human articulatory appartaus (mouth shape, tongue position, sensori-motor coord)


How did scientists decide to go from teaching chimps how to speak to teaching them sign language?

notice chimps' spontaneous use/development of gesture


How did they teach the chimps sign language?

some by imitation, mostly involved shaping ape's hands into signs


What are examples of the multiple species trained in sign language and their names?

Chimps (Washoe)
Gorillas (Koko)
Orangutan (Chantek)


What limits dolphins so that they cannot learn sign language?

no hands, cannot make gestures


What are dolphins trained for mainly to understand language? What is this an example of?

-trained mainly for comprehension (vs. production of signs/sign sequences)
-example of species appropriate designs


What other attempts did scientists make to teach dolphins language?

imitation of acoustic computer-generated symbols

-started to learn but stopped


What were examples of poor data recording within language studies?

animals were home-raised, naturalistic signing day in/out, no record of learning process


What were examples of little to no scientific "controls" within language studies?

inadvertent cueing by trainers (i.e. Patterson and Koko), situation-specific associations, etc.


What were examples of poor data reporting in language studies?

early studies especially only report successful use of signs, not nonsense or incorrect


What were examples of biased reporting in language studies?

Patterson/Koko over-rich interpretations (conversations about death, capture)


What was the critical method shift in language studies?

change from sign language to using tokens or keyboards


Why was the critical method shift important for language studies?

every "utterance" by trainers and animals is recorded and analyzed, also included blind control w/ Kanzi test and other tests following


How did Premack/Sarah show good ability of semantics within chimps?

-Sarah shown blue triangle as symbol for apple
-asked "color of"
-Sarah answers "RED"


Why is Sarah's response to the color question important?

responds based on properties of evoked representation, not perceptual properties of that symbol


What are examples of instances of dolphins and apes exhibiting the ability to transfer symbol to novel context?

-dolphins, apes can immediately respond to learned symbol for "give ball" in "Is Ball here?" or "What's this?"


What are the exceptions to the transfer symbol task?

-some chimps fail; post route sequence learning, cannot transfer symbol to new task
e.g. Rumbaugh/Lana and Terrace/Nim (regularity of signing drills, no transfer)


What are some examples of novel combinations by apes?

using signs to say WATER BIRD = swan; WHITE TIGER = zebra


What is an example of semantics?

understanding arbitrary word "dog" to represent "dog" although no like features with word to actual symbol


Overall, what are the results of semantic tests on cetaceans and primates?

overall good evidence for use and comprehension of symbols


What is the overall result of syntactical studies for primates and cetaceans?

support for some simple aspects, not for more complex


What are the results of order effects tests for semanticity?

-dolphins, apes discriminate ROGER TICKLE WASHOE vs. WASHOE TICKLE ROGER
-can also discriminate put A on B vs. put B on A (map order to spatial relations)


What is schema?

slot in frame grammar, regularities in position of nouns, verbs, modifiers establish slots


What are the results of schema tests?

1. Dolphins can classify objects as named/unnamed
2. Dolphins/Apes can learn new term from its place (the slot it fills) in familiar sentence frame (i.e. understand "GREY" in presence of old/new colors)


What is embedding?

subassembly (rarely tested) e.g. "He said that she said that they thought that she wanted to go, but she didn't"


How were dolphins trained to embed concepts?

Dolphins trained LEFT HOOP FETCH (Get left hoop) & FRISBEE HOOP FETCH (ring hoop to frisbee) immediately did FRISBEE LEFT HOOP FETCH (bring left hoop to frisbee)


What did they dolphins seem to learn from embedding training?

learned order: indirect object/modifier/direct object/verb


What are the limitations of apes and cetaceans when learning language?

-250 NH symbol capacity vs. 5,000 H word capacity
-embedding = shallow
-imperative limitation vs. Human language more declarative i.e. tell about, direct attention, tertiary


What is pragmatics?

studies the way context contributes to meaning, social language use


What are some examples of studies that used very little social interaction? What made them different from other studies that involved social interaction?

Terrace/Nim: trained in control lab setting, large # trainers, little socialization
Rumbaugh/Lana: 1000's trails, interaction with machine (MACHINE GAVE LANA APPLE) => repetitive understanding
***least successful projects (no symbol learning, no transfer)


Most successful projects with primates and language use involved what?

emphasis on social interaction


What was the Savage-Rumbaugh & Rumbaugh: Sherman & Austin test?

-interactive "Functional Tool task"
-E baits opaque site, demonstrates and helps Chimp to use tool to extract, share food
-C immediately entered "Give Wrench", E enter "Yes, Give Austin Wrench"


What were the results of the Interactive Functional Tool Task?

-C given any tool requested, even if wrong -- soon reject wrong & re-request other
-Added new tools, new locations to use familiar terms, quickly learned new terms
-first trials: asked "name this" about any tool => immediate success


What is the interpretation of the results of the functional tool task?

-Conversational use of keyboard -> treat keys as functional symbols
-approximates neural context of learning


True/False: Sherman/Austin did not shift easily between playing the roles during functional tool task.

FALSE; Sherman and Austin easily shifted to playing these roles when only one had access to tools and only the other to baited site (would request appropriate tool, give, share food)

*would play co-op game even while in same room*


What was interesting about the end of Gardner and Fout's Washoe?

-sign language trained
-taught her offspring signs, molded hands

*example of human enculturation*


What was interesting about Savage-Rumbaugh's work with Kanzi?

-human raised, extensively language trained, taught to flint, knap, etc.
-Kanzi passed tests on theory of mind, imitation, does teaching, etc.


What was the important implication of work with Boysen's Sheeba?

-trained with numerals, helps on Greedy Giveaway task
-suggests symbols intervening between animal/treat enables delayed response, rational choice


What is the implication of Premack's Sarah?

-only chimp reliably successful on Analogies
-possible that it is facilitated by having extensive experience with symbols for same and different


What can be said about the future of Human Enculturation studies?

-effects still not well studied or understood; requires new methods, models!