The Psychological Record

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 157–172 | Cite as

A Chimpanzee with the Ability to Learn the Use of Personal Pronouns

  • Shoji Itakura


In this research, a female chimpanzee could learn the use of personal pronouns in a conditional matching-to-sample task. In a preliminary experiment, the subject was trained to match the individual name to the pictures of nine individuals and to classify such individuals by personal pronouns. In Experiment 1, training was given in role-reversal usage, such that the first- and second- person pronouns were used by both the subject and the experimenten acting alternatively as “speaker” and “listener.” In Experiment 2, the training of role reversal was extended to include a second companion, with the experimenter becoming a third person. Finally, the subject was given three tests of role reversal in the use of personal pronouns.


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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shoji Itakura
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for the Study of Child DevelopmentUniversity of Medicine and Dentistry of New JerseyUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Faculty of EducationYokohama National UniversityYokohamaJapan

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