Marine Cognitive Processes.
Annual rept. no. 1, 1 Jan-30 Sep 85,
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIV HAYWARD
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The purpose of this research is to test the limits of the cognitive capacities of California sea lions within the framework of teaching them to comprehend an artificial language composed of a trainers arm and hand movements. These arbitrary gestural signs by a trainer are mapped on to modifiers designating place in the case of a male sea lion, Bucky, at Marine World, size and brightness in the case of a ten-year-old female sea lion, Rocky, and a three-year old female sea lion, Gertie, at the Long Marine Laboratory, U.C. Santa Cruz as well as mapped on to actions taken toward the designated objects. A second and related goal of our research is to determine the extent to which California sea lion pups imprint on humans and whether human attachment figures are reinforcing enough to play a significant role in controlling simple, as well as complex, learned behavior.