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The Structure of Learning by Beatrix Gardner, R. Allen Gardner

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CHAPTER  15

Concepts and Communication

When Washoe was 27 months old, she made a hole in the then flimsy inner wall of her house trailer. The hole was located high up in the wall at the foot of her bed. Before we repaired the hole, she managed to lose a toy in the hollow space between the inner and outer walls. When Allen Gardner arrived that evening, she attracted his attention to an area of the wall down below the hole at the level of her bed, signing OPEN OPEN many times over that area. He easily understood her problem and fished out the toy. It was exciting to realize that a chimpanzee had used a human language to communicate new and unexpected information. Soon situations of this sort became commonplace. For example, Washoe’s playground ...

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