Heidi Shaw, PhD


         BA German, Central Washington University
BA Independent Studies (ethology), CWU
MS Experimental psychology, CWU
PhD Experimental Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno


Heidi Shaw has a diverse educational background including degrees in Ethology (the scientific study of animal behavior), German and Psychology. Rigorous experimental design has been the dominant focus of her graduate work. Her Masters thesis and doctoral dissertation investigated different aspects of the use of American Sign Language in cross-fostered chimpanzees. At YVCC, Shaw typically teaches introductory psychology and child development. She has taught in many learning communities with faculty in the Biology and English departments, and enjoys team-teaching special topics, such as the Salem Witch Trials. In addition to teaching, she continues to conduct research and present her findings at conferences. Her research interests built on past research conducted by Drs. Allen and Trixie Gardner. The Gardners were interested in continuities between animal and human intelligence. They raised young chimpanzees as human children and investigated the effects of these cross-fostering conditions on development. They were also interested in the relationship between social and intellectual development and its expression in language and other forms of communication. Heidi is currently working with Dr. Allen Gardner on various projects related to the infant cross-fostered chimpanzees and often has students helping with this research. When time allows, she also investigates various aspects of point gestures. The coding system developed for describing adult human pointing and the method for transcribing gaze direction will be useful in further studies of both infant and adult chimpanzees, and infant and adult humans.

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