1.   Guide to exam 3, Spring 2011. Be sure to look at any available old exams. It might also be useful to review previous study guides, recent primate news, and of course the daily notes. Some items on this guide were covered on exam 2. Some questions on language, for example, from old exam two may appear on this forthcoming exam 3.

There may be slight changes for clarity in the essays by next class as well as some links to relevant material.


A.  If you have any specific exam questions, send them to the Blackboard discussion board for exam 3. (and feel free to comment on others questions and my answers.)


B.   Take a look at recent news….

C.    Some concepts to know about , theory of mind (ToM), xenophobia, concealed ovulation, and these.. dealing with sex etc.

D.  We have yet to see Goodall's Return to Gombe, Responsive Brain and Attraction. It will be tight fitting all these in before the exam-- along with some discussion of aggression, ethics, and NHP methods of choosing leaders--this you can extract from the recent videos.


E.            Remember baboons are not apes! It is extremely important to indicate in your anwers what species you are talking about; you can lose points by being vague.

2.            Communication and language

A.           Mammalian communication

B.           Primate communication IS mammalian

1.             Most involve movement- gesture, vocal

2.             Maybe primates have more subtle gestures?

3.             More expressive faces?

a)            Or is this just primate egocentricism? Try the puppet metaphor for an answer? Darwin (1871) wrote much on the topic pointing out similarities across species.  

4.             Visual, olfactory, and touch also play important roles in some species, especially in mating activities.  (This presupposes vocal-auditory communication is relevant.)

a)            Testosterone coloring effects in male monkeys

b)            Facial pads in adult orangutan

c)             Female chimp genital swellings and color

d)            Effects of grooming (social, physiological)

e)             Probably olfactory signals in many species (pheromones, even in humans?) Hormones are implicated in several of the above topics.

f)             Symmetry of body; especially the face



C.           Human language

1.             Highly referential

2.             Open to easily created new messages

a)            New messages out of old words-- sentences.

b)            New words too! (lexicalization)

3.             Hierarchical

4.             Componential and recursive

5.             Probably a recent evolutionary development

a)            A few hundred thousand years?

b)            Fifty thousand years?

c)             Still a mystery but:

(1)           Bipedalism set the stage (3.5+mya)
(2)           Brain enlargement and lateralized brain function was important (2.5mya?)
(3)           Specialized vocal tract by 100,000 years ago
(4)           Specialized movement control necessary for fine-grained movements. See news item on chimp strength.
(5)           Related to 3&4 above - timing is essential
(6)           Language is a social and cultural matter as well.  Social communication probably came first, then referential capacity increased, words were invented and incorporated into the system, and then language took on additional functions. (see NOTES FOR MORE; also see ape, neanderthal, human comparisons.)

6.             L Functions beyond interpersonal communication

a)            Consciousness?

(1)           Certainly our internal dialogue –intra-personal speech
(2)           Awareness of our thoughts
(a)           We 'hear' our thoughts as they are automatically encoded into our language (incl signs)
(b)           We can Review and elaborate them
(c)            These metacognitive processes possibly enable significant cognitive advantages from science to theory of mind (ToM below).
(3)           Confabulation and LH interpreter – an instinctive desire to explain?

b)            The origins of myth, religion and science

c)             Attribution of thoughts to others- ToM

(1)           Young children are egocentric as Piaget demonstrated.
(2)           After age 4, children realize others may think/behave differently because of different beliefs
(a)           We predict behavior on attributed beliefs (“false belief” test)
(b)           These skills are correlated with language development and maternal use of  cognitive words like believe, know, think.  Even deaf children taught signs for these words pass the “false-belief” test sooner.
(c)            Apes show little of this behavior – they have a natural “cognitive verb gap.” How would you teach an ape a symbol for “think’ –  a word used by all normal humans around age 3?
(d)           Autistic individuals may have serious deficits here too.

d)            Episodic memories

(1)           Expanding our consciousness beyond the present
(2)           (2) Humans have a very large hippocampus that plays a basic role in these memories -- and in birds and probably human, the hippocampus size (cell numbers) changes with memories.  

7.             Additional non-communicative functions?

(1)           Longer term planning?
(2)           Humor?

8.             How 'social' is consciousness?

(1)           Language is social- each word was invented by an individual but picked up and used by everyone in that language community
(2)           Certainly ToM is social  
(3)           Socially isolated chimps tend to fail Gallup’s “red spot” test.

9.   Interspecies communication

a)    How do 'human based codes' compare with human languages?

(1) Limited vocabulary
(2) No hierarchical syntax
(3) Only human creativity involved-
(4) Different learning curves from human acquisition

2. What can these studies tell us?

a- maybe we can get some insight into animal minds? (Premack & Pepperberg)

b-A very slight chance of some insight into human language evolution BUT- don't forget use of HBCs starts with an existing human language and a (nominally) intelligent being (us) as trainer. There seems no parallel in the as yet untold story of human language evolution.

In fact the great gap between three year olds and all other species, even with the HBC trainers highlights the differential self-organizing capacities of humans and other species with regard to human language. (This should be no surprise as birds tend to self-organize into flying etc etc).

3.            Demands and effects of social life

A.           Three dimensions

1.             Agents differ from physical objects

2.             Role of communication

3.             Learning from others

a)            Social priming to teaching

B.           Human differences

1.             Referential Language

2.             Sharing and culture is FAR more significant

3.             Culture and language possibly shaped the evolution of our brains (Baldwin effect)

4.             Greater degree of Social insight

a)            Assessing intentions of others

(1)           Gaze, face information
(a)           Gomez ch.7

b)            Theory of mind and false belief test

(1)           Recognizing beliefs predict behavior
(2)           Assessing beliefs of others
(3)           Language dependent?

5.             Extent of sexuality/bonding in non-reproductive sex

a)             See the Strier article in TO on monkeys compared with bonobos.

6.             Do apes blush?

a)            (See Darwin on the topic in Social Brain notes?)

C.            social effects on brain and body development

1.             effects of maternal care (or deprivation of care)

a)            Harlow

b)            Effects of touch

2.             Effects of dominant males on other males development

a)            Baboons, orangs

3.             Stress effects on development

(see Responsive Brain notes; paper on orangs earlier on Blackboard by Sapolsky.)

4.            Social structure and dominance hierarchies

A.           Varying degrees of sexual dimorphism

1.             Probably due to dominance and mating issues.  Darwin and others saw dimorphism as a result of sexual selection.

B.           Hominoid Females tend to leave their natal groups

1.             All species have means of reducing inbreeding

     (compare the baboons to the apes in videos)

C.           Each species is somewhat different

1.             Male dominance may occur in 3 ways (bonobos are unique!)

(1)           Aggressive outsider challenge of current leader (gorilla, orang, baboon)
(2)           Form a new group (collect females without a group)
(3)           Take over from within after downfall of current leader, often with allies. (chimps, maybe mountain gorillas?)  Note that chimps are less dimorphic.  Jane Goodall reported this process in the fate of Frodo.


2.             Rank is variously determined

a)            Female apes must ingratiate selves into existing group using social skills including sex and grooming

b)            Male chimps rely on strength, social skills, and cleverness in forming alliances—their moms help too. Sons may benefit from high ranked females. Maybe more so in bonobos where females rank high overall.  Lots of inter-individual sperm competition.

c)             Orangutans, gorilla, and baboon males fight it out for control of neighborhood females (and have less sperm competition with other males.)

Hence larger degree of sexual dimorphism.

d)            Orangs have some notably unique features involving suppression of growth by calls, forced sex with females ..

5.            Sex – why have it?

A.           Promotes variation which enables selection to be adaptive

B.           http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/miracle/program.html#

C.           two genes for most characteristics offers backup?

D.           Variation may defend against  microbes eliminating entire species—much the same idea as A above.

6.            Mating (see notes)

A.           Sexual selection and mate choice

1.            'Sexual selection depends on the success of certain individuals over others of the same sex, in relation to the propagation of the species; whilst natural selection depends on the success of both sexes, at all ages, in relation to the general conditions of life. The sexual struggle is of two kinds; in the one it is between individuals of the same sex, generally the males, in order to drive away or kill their rivals, the females remaining passive; whilst in the other, the struggle is likewise between the individuals of the same sex, in order to excite or charm those of the opposite sex, generally the females, which no longer remain passive, but select the more agreeable partners. This latter kind of selection is closely analogous to that which man unintentionally, yet effectually, brings to bear on his domesticated productions, when he preserves during a long period the most pleasing or useful individuals, without any wish to modify the breed." Darwin (1871)

Darwin (1871; ch.21)




B.           Each species has its variations

1.             How are individuals attracted to their species?

a)            Earliest experiences are very important

2.             What counts as an 'attractive' mate?

a)            Compare chimps and humans!!

3.             One or several mates?

a)            Polygyny, polygamy, monogamy

4.             Variations presumably reflect sexual and/or natural  selection: for example

a)            Testicle and penis size

b)            Female genital swellings

c)             Human breast development

d)            Classic non-primate cases of peacock feathers and bower bird’s constructions.

C.           Non-reproductive sexual behavior?

1.             Bonobos

2.             Humans

3.             Others??

a)            Probably all apes and at least some monkeys have a decoupled physiology-sex behavior link  to some extent, which enables other psychological and environmental factors to moderate sex behaviors enabling them to take on other functions, e.g. social bonding, mate choice. See the Strier chapter and notes.

7.            Reproduction- basics are common to primates

A.           Females have far greater offspring 'costs' or parental investment than males of their species

B.           Humans are born premature, with lots of implications

1.             Human Brain exposed to culture early.

2.             Females require social support at birth and immediately.

C.           3. Human nursing style and available "solid" food supplements increase human reproduction rates over ape cousins.

8.            Parenting and attachment

A.           Harlow studied the basics

B.           Disrupting early mother-infant relations has many negative effects on the mature primate's social, sexual, and cognitive behaviors

9.            Aggression, competition, and reconciliation

A.           See notes on settings for aggression

B.           Early experience can set the stage for adult behavior

C.           Testosterone plays a role in males

D.           Compare the stories of Frodo, Mr. Kusasi, Titus, bonobo leaders, and the baboon invader seen in recent videos.

10.       Moral behavior and reciprocity

A.           Many primates, all apes- do they have some version of the 'golden rule' built into them?

11.       Ethical issues

A.           Conservation

1.             Apes as citizens, pests, meat, or pets?

2.             Competition with local humans is a serious and difficult problem

3.             Role of zoos?

B.           Research with non-human primates

1.             Federal guidelines now go beyond physical care

2.             Retirement?

3.             Cost/benefit ratio?

4.             Consent? Should cognitive levels affect research participation?

5.             Confusion of research, pets, and conservation

C.           Pathology of apes in human hands?

(1)           Koko
(2)           Zoo gorillas, e.g Boston Joe escapes, attacks
(3)           Many Chimp attacks on humans
(4)           Mr. Kusasi and other orangs

12.       Videos situation (will be updated)

A.           Language video

B.           Teaching Vicki to talk?

C.           BBC Brain video

D.           Ape Genius (PBS notes)

E.            Bonobos (Last Great Ape)

F.              Mr Kusasi (Orphan to King) (language bits,  ToM, ), clever Hans

G.           NSL (follow-up on Language video segment on Creoles-)

H.           brief PBS "sperm competition"(watch it at home)

I.              Goodall “Return to Gombe

J.            attraction and faces, symmetry etc?


13.       Essay questions

(Remember, these are essays but an outline or sketch can help insure you don’t omit anything.)

Sex and reproductive differences in primate behavior

A. We have read about and seen many examples of how male and female primates differ within a species as well as across species. Focusing upon three species: humans, bonobos, and orangutans, discuss the following 3 topics, using examples to make your points. IF SPECIES DO NOT DIFFER ON SOME ISSUE, SAY SO!

1.sexual dimorphism in body. How do the sexes differ in general body features in these species? (Do not ignore the obvious sexual features!)


2.  sexual and social relationships:  How do these 3 species compare and contrast in regards to the sexual relationships and related social relationships --  e.g. aggression, dominance, mating patterns?


3.  Parenting -- How do these 3 species compare and contrast in regards to basic reproductive functions, parental investment, and development (that is, how might parenting affect the development of offspring into adults in both individual cases and differentially in these three species?)


B.  Aggression – situations and functions  (3 parts)


1. Briefly describe an example of  three different types of aggressive behavior we have observed or read about.  Be sure to indicate species.


2. What is the possibly adaptive function that these aggressive behaviors appears to serve?  If none, say so. (say they are pathological behaviors  (See notes for examples.)


3.What are some significant differences in observed aggressive behavior within human, chimp, bonobo, gorilla, and orangutan society? (One comment for each species.)


14.       Short answers

A.  See old exams and topics above.

1.    Look for one question from recent news items

2.    Several questions will come from unused essay question