Location

Ames, Iowa

Start Date

29-4-2016 12:00 AM

Description

If language and cognition are intrinsically linked, it follows that studying the linguistic processes of great apes will heighten our knowledge of the evolution of human language and thought, a primary focus of anthropological research. The present study expanded upon ongoing research of bonobos (Pan paniscus) raised in a language-enriched environment at the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative. While Kanzi’s linguistic and cognitive capabilities have been well documented in early life, this project evaluated a current vocabulary of English and symbolic lexigrams. A series of three computerized match-to-sample tasks tested his ability to match a picture to spoken English, lexigram to spoken English, and picture to lexigram symbol for 120 words commonly encountered in his daily life. An assessment of multiple communication methods used by Kanzi provides data on the extent of language comprehension of a unique ape who plays an important role in the study of language development and ape language research. This project allows for further investigation of the linguistic abilities of humans’ evolutionary relatives and the origins of language in our lineage.

 
Apr 29th, 12:00 AM

English and Lexigram Comprehension of Language-Trained Bonobos

Ames, Iowa

If language and cognition are intrinsically linked, it follows that studying the linguistic processes of great apes will heighten our knowledge of the evolution of human language and thought, a primary focus of anthropological research. The present study expanded upon ongoing research of bonobos (Pan paniscus) raised in a language-enriched environment at the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative. While Kanzi’s linguistic and cognitive capabilities have been well documented in early life, this project evaluated a current vocabulary of English and symbolic lexigrams. A series of three computerized match-to-sample tasks tested his ability to match a picture to spoken English, lexigram to spoken English, and picture to lexigram symbol for 120 words commonly encountered in his daily life. An assessment of multiple communication methods used by Kanzi provides data on the extent of language comprehension of a unique ape who plays an important role in the study of language development and ape language research. This project allows for further investigation of the linguistic abilities of humans’ evolutionary relatives and the origins of language in our lineage.