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The Mind of an Ape Paperback – May, 1984

ISBN-13: 978-0393301601 ISBN-10: 0393301605

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc (May 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393301605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393301601
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,583,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
David Premack (born 1925) is currently emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and wife Ann was a science writer (e.g., Why Chimps Can Read).

The authors state in the Introduction to this 1983 book, "Our own attempt to teach language to an ape was not based on the belief that a chimpanzee could be turned into a child. We were interested in the human mind. In order to understand the mind of the human, it was essential, we thought, to compare it with other minds. But were there other minds that were comparable?... We began, then, to teach a simple, written language, one we invented, to a creature that in the ordinary course of its natural life does not acquire a language..."

"Chimpanzees, we now know, are not initiators of language; they will, however, engage in dialogue once drawn into an exchange. It was this ability, through the system of language that Sarah learned, that gave us an invaluable tool for investigating a far more important issue, the mind of an ape." (pg. 34)

They admit, "contrary to popular belief, though we may give the chimpanzee a human hand in place of its own, it will not draw representational pictures--not any more than the chimpanzee will, if given a human larynx, produce even the most childish conversation." (pg. 108) Also, "Children have these concepts, but they do not apply them in all cases. With the chimpanzees it is not yet clear whether they even have the abstract concepts, let alone can use them consistently." (pg. 113)

Their conclusions are surprisingly pessimistic: "After all, even the most avid proponents for language in the ape never supposed that the ape would be capable of adult grammar.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Augusto Montiel Castro on June 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
As me, Im guessing that you had not thought that Chimpanzees could do so much with their brains! However in this great book you'll find a hole lot of clever experiments that will teach you how much alike we are. If you do research it will show you that most of the times, in the area of cognition the details are the most important thing. In it, chimpanzees work with symbols in very different ways,and deal quite well with general and particular operations concerned with language. Step by step, one after another approved test, they will show you the ways through the Mind of an Ape!
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