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Discussion—Cognitive Development in Animals

Washoe is one of the most famous chimpanzees because of her ability to use sign language to communicate. She was able to communicate approximately 350 words and was even observed teaching her son sign language. Even more impressive was that Washoe was able to combine these words into hundreds of logical combinations with different meanings that were not taught, but rather created by herself. You can learn more about human cognitive development by considering Washoe’s use of sign language, as well as the information gained from the study of other animals such as chimps, rats, etc.

Respond to the following:

  • Specifically, what can we learn about human cognitive development through the study of these animals?
  • Thinking back to the discussion in M1: Assignment 2, are there any ethical issues that arise from using animals to study human development? Consider what you have learned about the inherent differences between animals and humans. 
  • Why do researchers make use of animals instead of humans for their experiments on development?

Write your initial response in 2–3 paragraphs. Apply APA standards to citation of sources.

By Sunday, November 22, 2015, post your response to the appropriate Discussion Area. Through Wednesday, November 25, 2015, review and comment on at least two peers’ responses. In your responses, consider the following:

  • Are there any strengths or limitations noted by your peers that you did not include in your own response? If so, what are they?
  • Are there any other examples of reasoning abilities that you can add to your peers’ responses? If so, what are they?
  • Are there other examples of reasoning abilities that are found to exist only in a small number of species? If yes, indicate what they are.

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