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joi, 29 martie 2012

Can animals understand human language? : Rico the Dog case study

Can animals understand human language? : Rico the Dog case study

by Eugene Lindenstrom

Millions of pet owners and animal fanatics all over the world have said for years that animals can understand what they are saying, and in some cases they even answer questions or communicate a response. In 2004, animal chatters rejoiced, as a study found a dog named Rico who appeared to have some remarkable abilities in understanding spoken words.

What separates humans and their language acquisition from that of simpler species is the process of learning. The addition of new and complex language patterns to a human is something that can be easy picked up and understood through the learning process.

In the study conducted by Kellogg and Kellogg in 1967, a chimpanzee named Gua was brought up alongside a human infant child in an attempt to teach it language. By the time Gua had reached 16 months of age, she appeared to understand and became receptive to around 100 words. However the conductors of the experiment were disappointed in her lack of actual speech as they perceived chimpanzees to be of high intelligence due to behaviours displayed that are close to or mimic human behaviours.

As humans we often tend to relate any of our own behaviour as being a sign of intelligence, and consequently we search for similar or exact behavioural patterns in animal species as a form of evidence of their intelligence. Therefore it is highly likely that trying to teach language to chimpanzees has appeared to be successful in their understanding of language and meanings, but then unsuccessful in trying to teach them to actually form speech because we have not selected behaviours that are susceptible to modification by learning.

It is still a possibility that chimpanzees and other species perceived to have high intelligence and understanding levels do have the mental capacity for the modification of their communication patterns, and introduction of new ones, but just not through the human communication form of speech.

Learn more about language on an <a href='http://www.inspire360.co.uk/our-services/certified-courses/nlp-practitioner'>NLP practitioner certification</a> course.

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