Teaching Sign Language to a Chimpanzee Essay

893 Words 4 Pages
Teaching Sign Language to a Chimpanzee

The study by the Gardner's educated psychologists about how they should conduct their studies. Also through negative methodology the study showed the importance of sustaining validity in a study. Many aspects of the study can be replicated in order to increase validity of a study, and also many considerations are highlighted through the Gardners' study. According to Gardner and Gardner, 'the results of project Washoe presented the first serious challenge to the doctrine that only human beings have language'. This statement meant that the Gardner's firmly believed that there study sustained a high level of both reliability and validity, which in turn they
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This also meant that a comparison could be made, which would mean that validity of the study was increased and would make the study more reliable as it was in constant direct comparison.

The Gardner's decided to begin with that they would use a young chimp, in order to ensure that there was no 'critical early stage' which may affect the results of the experiment. This methodological approach into using a young chimp ensured that the studies reliability was heightened, and this also increased the validity of the experiment. Washoe was estimated to be between 8 and 14 months when she arrived. This young age of Washoe meant that little progress could be made for the first few months, and Washoe was kept in an environment, which provided minimum distractions. This close control meant that the reliability of the study was increased as it was well scientifically controlled, but also lead to questions being asked about the ecological validity of the study. Washoe life was manipulated around the study, and so a generalised theory of ability of chimpanzees would be hindered-as not all chimpanzees grow up in carefully controlled environments. This idea meant that the methodological approach of using as young chimp as possible was also questioned.

The

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