September 25, 2012

Tools and objects used in recent days: tripod, overhead projector, easel and the short handled drawing board described by Lashley in Schiller’s report of the drawing experiments conducted with Alpha when she was 18 years old (Schiller, 1951). The drawing board with a handle was necessary in order to withdraw the drawings before she destoyed them. Alpha’s role as human surrogate puts her in the postition of a prop. Given that she was constantly visible and available for scientific observation it is perhaps not surprising that Schiller reports:

‘If possible, she retires with her paper to a far side of the cage, turns her back to the observer, works for a time with complete preoccupatioin, and eventually tears up the paper. If caged with another animal that watches her drawing she shoulders the other aside or turns away to work in a corner’.

Schiller, P. H. (1951) Figural Preferences in the Drawings of a Chimpanzee. In Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology. Vol. 44 No.2 April. pp.101-111.

For the past two days I have been writing and re-writing the full quote. Each writing of it obliterates the one below.

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