Chimpanzee's Learn through Modeling


When comparative cognition, the topic discussing whether or not animals can talk is discussed. In order to observe whether or not an animal is capable of learning to talk, using symbols, syntax, and semantics, there were studies completed to observe how chimpanzees react to learning language. After studying these chimpanzees, scientists came to the conclusion that animals do not have the techniques and abilities to verbally communicate with words and sentences like humans. Sign language is a communication skill using hand gestures and symbols. After completing these studies scientists were able to learn that chimpanzees are able to use the learning technique of modeling to learn sign language. Their brains were able to process the model signs that the humans were showing them, the chimpanzees were able to observe and learn how to repeat the signs back. Scientists began to model different signs and positively reinforce the chimpanzees when they properly used sign language to communicate. Overall, this type of experiment showed that all brains work in different ways and that the ways of learning may vary from individual to individual, incorporating all different types of learning.


  1. I really enjoy this topic! My cousin is a high school Psychology teacher, and he always loves to say random fun facts about Psychology or experiments at the dinner table during the holidays. This is one he told me about when I was very young, and I always thought he was crazy when he said chimps can communicate through sign language. I loved this experiment!

  2. Hi, I really found this an very interesting topic to talk about. I found it very interesting that chimpanzee's can understand sign language and can communicate with us. I been thinking about learning sign language for a long time and I think this really has made me want to learn it even more now.


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