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What is the adaptionist view of what communication is?

Relation between a signal (evolved to alter behaviour of another organism) and corresponding response (evolved to be affected by a signal) (Krebs and Dawkins)


What is the informational view of what communication is?

Biological signals carry 'information' (reduction in uncertainty) about the world


What are the different types of human communication?

Vocal, gesture, facial, body, visual and olfactory


What is language?

A sophisticated communication system governed by hierarchical rules. Multi-faceted capacity that requires sophisticated cognitive processes


What are three characteristics of language?

It's an open and generative system, linguistic signals are referential so can convey specific meanings, and language is semantic, syntactic, morphological and phonological


What are the universal features of language?

Syntax, semantics, phonology, pragmatics, and morphology


What is syntax?

Rules and principles that govern structure of language (grammar)


What is semantics?

Meaning of linguistic units (relationship between a symbol and what it represents)


What is phonology?

Organisation of speech sounds (phonemes)


What is pragmatics?

How context contributes to meaning


What is morphology?

The structure of words, and rules of how they are formed (morphemes)


How is language modality independent?

Speech, sign language, written language, and speech-accompanying gestures


How are humans and chimpanzees related?

We did not evolve from chimpanzees, but we shared an ancestor 5-6 million years ago. The chimpanzee is the closest model of what our last common ancestor may have been like


Why are primates studied, for example in psychology?

Because it is a window into our primate past, and helps understand the roots of language, and language evolution


What is communicative flexibility?

Vocal learning. Primates have limited capacities for vocal learning though they can readily learn and invent new gestures


What is referential communication?

Cues to emotion and provide meaning about the world. This is an early form of semantic communication


What are playback experiments?

They test the meaning of calls, such as in the vervet monkey study of referential alarm calls and food calls


What are call sequences evidence of?

The evolution of syntax where the order of linguistic elements influence unit meaning


What study looked at audience effects and intentionality?

The study of Thomas Langur alarm calls. Inform about presence of food when friends are around


What is the definition of a gesture?

Discrete, mechanically ineffective bodily movements used to communicate intentionally to change behaviour of receiver


What are some early ape language studies?

Gua, Viki, American sign language studies, and Kanzi


Who was Gua?

Chimpanzee raised as a child but never produced intelligible words (Kellogg)


Who was Viki?

A chimpanzee raised as a child with reinforcement training. After 7 years had only 4 poorly articulated words (Hayes)


What were some American sign language studies on primates?

Washoe the chimp, Koko the gorilla, Chantek the orangutan and Nim the chimp


What did Washoe learn?

150-250 signs but understood more


What did Nim learn?

Raised as a child but developed and learned slower than humans. Signing was mainly imitative and lacked syntactic rules


What was Kanzi?

A language trained bonobo. Had no formal training but could understand 3000 words. He used a lexigram board and demonstrated impressive comprehension and grammar but limited production


What questions to ape language studies raise?

It it really language? Highly dependent on rewards, and mainly only ever involves learning demands and requests


How has the hominim brain evolved?

Huge brain expansion and crucial differences in brain specialisations, as well as rapid increase in cerebral blood flow. Apes have a cerebellum and frontal lobes. Humans have neocortex and greater intra-cortical connectivity in pre-frontal cortex


What does the brain evolution demonstrate about when language evolved?

Homo brain doubles from H.erectus to H.sapiens. Language onset associated with symbolic thought about 100,000 years ago. Language evolution was most likely a very gradual process