Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Sign-Language Experiment

     It is an extraordinary thing that we have been able to communicate with animals but more specifically communicate with apes through American Sign Language (ASL). This study that began in 1967, after it was realized apes are unable to communicate verbally due to the lack of a vocal apparatus and typically communication in the wild was by using hand gestures so the idea came by Beatrix and Allen Gardner who crossed-fostered a chimpanzee named Washoe and taught her how to sign which made her the first non-human being able to communicate by ASL. They taught Washoe simply using the techniques of modeling and molding, which would demonstrate the sign while also performing the action (modeling) and put their hands in the correct sign position and associate it with the object being talked about (molding)so it was a process that help build their vocabulary when . So with the proper of environment by raising Washoe as their own child and finding the best way for them to learn so they finally break the barrier of communication between animals and humans.
    There have been studies done with other animals in order to find ways to communicate. Most famously seen with Koko the Western Lowland Gorilla which is a similar primate species to the chimpanzee which is why she was also able to communicate in ASL which was taught by Penny Patterson. In a 2001 video with Koko and Robin Williams it has amazed so many people the wonders of the world and how childlike she acted and would try an communicate asking to be tickled and be chased. We can learn so much when we are able to connect with these beautiful creatures.


Koko's Tribute to Robin Williams. (2014). YouTube. https://youtu.be/I9I_QvEXDv0.

POWELL, R. U. S. S. E. L. L. A. (2020). Introduction To Learning And Behavior: includes apa membership card. CENGAGE LEARNING.



  1. Love this post! ASL is a beautiful language and its super interesting how animals can learn it.

  2. I absolutely love this!! As it was said before, ASL is such a beautiful language. If it was the base of language we all would be able to communicate more efficiently! Especially if we were able to communicate cross-species! That would be amazing!