Michael J. Beran, Ph.D.
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September 1, 2021



Beran, M. J., Pate, J. L., Richardson, W. K., & Rumbaugh, D. M. (2000). A chimpanzee's (Pan troglodytes) long-term retention of lexigrams. Animal Learning and Behavior, 28, 201-207.

In this experiment, a chimpanzee's (Pan troglodytes) long-term retention was examined. The chimpanzee, Lana, was trained to use lexigrams (geometric symbols representing linguistic units) for foods, colors, and objects when she was 2 years of age. At the age of 27, her recognition of three sets of lexigrams was examined. One of these sets (long term lexigrams) included five object lexigrams, one color lexigram, and one food lexigram, none of which had been seen by Lana for more than 20 years. The second set (different-referent lexigrams) contained lexigrams that are still present on the current lexigram keyboards, but had been assigned new referents. The third set (same-referent lexigrams) contained lexigrams that had been kept on the keyboards Lana had used and that had retained the same referents. A food, a colored square, or an object was presented, and Lana had to select, by using a joystick, a lexigram on a computer screen. Lana chose the correct lexigram at a level significantly greater than chance for five of the seven lexigrams that she had not seen for more than 20 years.

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