Abstract # 23:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2009 10:00 AM-10:10 AM: Session 3 (Del Mar Room) Oral Presentation


C. R. Menzel
Georgia State University, Language Research Center, Decatur, GA 30034, USA

From a Gibsonian perspective, knowing is an extension of perceiving. During development, perceptual systems become sensitized to invariants, including foods, places, and social routines and come to extract them from the stimulus flux. Over time, perceptual systems begin to operate with fewer and looser constraints from the stimulus flux. Information becomes more detached from stimulation and comes to constitute recall, as opposed to recognition. Recall and manipulation of information about objects and visual symbols emerge as activities of perceptual systems attuned to invariants in the stimulus flux. The aim of these experiments was to characterize the associations that an adult female Pan troglodytes, “Panzee,” extracts between lexigrams and events. While Panzee watched, an experimenter hid an object outside her enclosure. Later, Panzee interacted with a caregiver and conveyed the type of object using a lexigram keyboard. Even when lexigrams were covered with opaque tape, Panzee selected the invisible lexigram corresponding to the hidden object at a level far exceeding chance [Binomial, α=0.01]. Thus, Panzee’s perceptual system derived connections between hidden objects and locations on her keyboard; she did not need to see the visual form of lexigrams to retrieve objects from memory. Panzee used visual features of lexigrams to report hidden objects at levels above chance when the lexigrams, as well as the objects to which they referred, were presented in trial-unique locations.