Sequence, Syntax, and Semantics: Responses of a Language-Trained Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus) to Novel Sign Combinations

We present a sea lion’s (Zalophus californianus) responses to anomalous (unfamiliar) combinations of signs created by reordering, deleting, or adding signs. The sea lion’s responses to these anomalous combinations demonstrated that she had learned a number of syntactic relations from exposure to a limited set of standard combinatorial forms. The learned syntactic relations included two […]

Referential Communication by Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Two experiments were conducted to assess the referential function of chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) gestures to obtain food. The chimpanzees received 1 trial per condition. In Experiment 1 (N 101), in full view of the chimpanzee, a banana was placed on top of 1 of 2 inverted buckets or was hidden underneath 1 of the buckets. […]

Semantic communication in vervet monkeys and other animals

The research field of semantic communication in animals was initiated by the study on alarm calls of vervet monkeys, Chlorocebus pygerythrus (then known as Cercopithecus aethiops) by Seyfarth, Cheney and Marler (Animal Behaviour, 1980, 28, 1070–1094). Based on observations of alarm call production and playback experiments in the natural habitat of the monkeys, Seyfarth, Cheney […]