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Dendrophobia in bonobo comprehension of spoken English

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    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Truswell, R. (2017), Dendrophobia in Bonobo Comprehension of Spoken English. Mind Lang, 32: 395–415. , which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mila.12150/abstract. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/87.html
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-415
JournalMind and Language
Volume32
Issue number4
Early online date23 Jul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sep 2017
EventEVOLANG XI - New Orleans, United States
Duration: 20 Mar 201624 Mar 2016

Abstract

Comparative data from Savage-Rumbaugh et al. (1993) concerning the comprehension of spoken English requests by a bonobo (Kanzi) and a human infant (Alia) is consistent with Fitch’s (2014) hypothesis that humans exhibit dendrophilia, or a propensity to infer and manipulate hierarchical tree structures to a greater extent than other species. This body of data avoids many pitfalls in interpreting results of relevant Artificial Grammar Learning experiments, and therefore complements those experiments. However, findings from language acquisition suggest that the term dendrophilia is misleading, in that human infants do not show an initial preference for certain hierarchical syntactic structures. Infants are slow to acquire and generalize the hierarchical structures in question, but they can eventually do so. Kanzi, in contrast, is dendrophobic: even though his nonhierarchial strategy impairs comprehension, he never acquires the hierarchical structure.

Event

EVOLANG XI

20/03/1624/03/16

New Orleans, United States

Event: Conference

ID: 19347812