Tag Archives: Language

“Finding Sarah: 49-Year Reunion With the Chimpanzee of David Premack’s Language Studies”

Forthcoming in the Review of General Psychology is a piece describing some of the earlylanguage research with the chimpanzee Sarah (above) in the late-1960s and an effort to locate Sarah today. Details below.

“Finding Sarah: 49-Year Reunion With the Chimpanzee of David Premack’s Language Studies,” by James N. Olson & Linda M. Montgomery. Abstract:

Sarah the chimpanzee was the primary participant in David Premack’s language studies initiated at University of California at Santa Barbara in 1967. The first author was an undergraduate assistant training Sarah from 1967 to 1969. This article describes some of the early work with Sarah and our recent search for her. Sarah’s whereabouts during the intervening years, and subsequent reunion with her in 2016 at Chimp Haven, a chimpanzee sanctuary in Louisiana, are described. It was found that despite her illness, Sarah engaged with the first author and demonstrated that she remembered him and the mechanics of the communication procedure that served as the foundation for testing Sarah’s cognitive reasoning abilities as they pertained to language. There was no evidence she remembered any of the 5 symbolic nouns that were presented during a matching-to-sample procedure. The authors expressed their gratitude to the staff at Chimp Haven for the excellent care of Sarah.

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NBN Interview: The Dancing Bees: Karl von Frisch & the Discovery of the Honeybee Language

The New Books Network (NBN) of podcasts has just released an interview with Tania Munz on her new book The Dancing Bees: Karl von Frisch and the Discovery of the Honeybee Language. As NBN describes,

Tania Munz‘s new book is a dual biography: both of Austrian-born experimental physiologist Karl von Frisch, and of the honeybees he worked with as experimental, communicating creatures. The Dancing Bees: Karl von Frisch and the Discovery of the Honeybee Language (University of Chicago Press, 2016) alternates between chapters that take us into the work and life of a fascinating scientist amid the Nazi rise to power, and bee vignettes that chart the transformations of bees in the popular and scientific imagination over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Readers follow von Frisch from his early intimate connection with a small Brazilian parakeet that lived with the family while von Frisch was a boy, to his work on the sensory powers of fish and bees, to his work on bee communication and beyond. Munz introduces us not just to von Frisch’s texts, lectures, and experiments, but also to his work making films and his struggles to live and work under Nazi power. Munz’s book is both compellingly argued and a pleasure to read!

The full interview can be heard online here.

The University of Chicago Press describes Munz’s book as follows: Continue reading NBN Interview: The Dancing Bees: Karl von Frisch & the Discovery of the Honeybee Language

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The Guardian: “Starved, tortured, forgotten: Genie, the feral child who left a mark on researchers”

The Guardian recently published a piece looking back on the history of Genie, the so-called feral child whose horrendous treatment at the hands of her father made headline news in the 1970s. The fact that Genie had been raised without language or basic social skills also attracted the attention psychologists interested in understanding language development. As The Guardian recounts, however, it was not long before Genie fell out of the public eye and out of the reach of researchers. Her fate today remains something of a mystery.

Read the full piece online here.

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New Books Network Interview Round Up

The New Books Network has posted a fresh batch of interviews, quite a few of which may be interesting to our readership:

51obiAJOTML._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Historian Erik Linstrum (out of the University of Virginia) speaks on Ruling minds: Psychology in the British Empire. The interview can be found here.

 

makariPsychiatrist and historian George Makari talks about his volume Soul machine: The invention of the modern mind. Find the interview here.

 

languagePrakash Mondal (Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad) discusses the work Language, mind, and computation in this interview.

 

chaseBiologist and neuroscientist Ronald Chase (McGill emeritus) talks about the intersection of his personal and professional lives in Schizophrenia: A brother finds answers in biological science.  The interview is here.

 

 

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Baby Einstein Founder Sues University

A founder of the Baby Einstein series of videos, has taken the University of Washington to court to force the release of raw data from a study that found that small children who watch television are more likely to develop cognitive deficits.

According to an article in the New York Times,

A co-founder of the company that created the “Baby Einstein” videos has asked a judge to order the University of Washington to release records relating to two studies that linked television viewing by young children to attention problems and delayed language development. Continue reading Baby Einstein Founder Sues University

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Classic Science from “The Giants’ Shoulders”

a giantThe second issue of the “The Giants’ Shoulders” — a blog carnival focusing on reviews of “great” scientific publications of the past — has been posted at the blog “The Lay Scientist.”

Of particular interest to historians of psychology will be the account by SciCurious of Paul Broca’s “discovery” of Broca’s Area of the brain. Although the account is valuable enough, it unfortunately appears to trade in the myths about Broca that were described in Roger Thomas’ article about commonly repeated untruths in the history of psychology (which appeared in the fall 2007 issue of American Journal of Psychology ). Continue reading Classic Science from “The Giants’ Shoulders”

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Hughlings Jackson and Broca on Aphasia, 1868

Marjorie Perlman LorchThe June issue of Brain, 131(6), includes an “occasional paper” by Marjorie Perlman Lorch that reexamines the supposed debate between Paul Broca and John Hughlings Jackson at the 1868 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BA).

This meeting has been identified as a turning point in favour of Broca’s position on the cerebral localization of language. A return to original sources from key witnesses reveals that the opinion of the British practitioners was generally against Broca’s views. Close examination of contemporaneous materials suggests that no public debate between Jackson and Broca occurred. However, the public discussion after Broca’s presentation records notable concerns over both theoretical issues of localization of function and the status of exceptional clinical cases. A significant stage in the development of current views on the organization of language in the brain is revealed in the accounts of the BA meeting in August 1868 and successive responses to these events in the British press over a period of years.

This latest article contributes to an extensive literature on the history of aphasia. Some of these papers are referenced below the fold. Continue reading Hughlings Jackson and Broca on Aphasia, 1868

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