Animal Learning & Behavior

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 134–138 | Cite as

The language-like behavior of Lana chimpanzee: Is it merely discrimination and paired-associate learning?

  • James L. Pate
  • Duane M. Rumbaugh


The productions of Lana chimpanzee during an experiment that lasted 25 days were analyzed from a “stock sentence” approach and from a phrase-structure approach. In answering questions posed by the experimenter and in making requests, Lana’s productions seemed to be best explained in the phrase-structure approach, in which phrases, rather than individual lexigrams, served as lexical units. Phrases were transposed, both correctly and incorrectly, and were combined to convey different meanings. Thus, it was concluded that Lana’s productions require a more complex model than the simple discrimination learning model suggested by Thompson and Church (1980).


Sweet Potato Paired Associate Simple Discrimination Lexical Unit Incomplete Sentence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Reference Note

  1. Pate, J. L., Rumbaugh, D. M., & Betz, S.Can a chimpanzee answer questions? Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar


  1. Rumbaugh, D. M. (Ed.).Language learning by a chimpanzee: The Lana project. New York: Academic Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  2. Stalke, H. F. W. On asking the question: Can apes learn language? In K. E. Nelson (Ed.),Children’s language (Vol. 2). New York: Oardner Press, 1980.Google Scholar
  3. Thompson, C. R., &Church, R. M. An explanation of the language of a chimpanzee.Science, 1980,205, 313–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • James L. Pate
    • 1
    • 2
  • Duane M. Rumbaugh
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Language Research Center of Georgia State UniversityAtlanta
  2. 2.Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center of Emory UniversityAtlanta

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