[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]
Re: Bird Brains
> I just read an article in Discover about parrots who (African Grays) who do
> not mimik speach, they understand what they are saying and are capable of
> thinking in the abstract. They recognize that reflections in a mirror imitate
> reality, for instance (a skill which humans do not have until age two). They
> can recognize patterns and make predictions of future events based on the
> patterns (red circle, red square, red triange, what color will the next shape
> be?) All this they do with a little bird brain, _much_ smaller in relation to
> body mass than a monkey's. Is it possible that avian brains are wired to
> make a
> more efficiant use of space than mammalian brains are? Also, what does this
> about dinosaurian brains?
For anyone who's interested in how the study went:
There is a current research project going on with Alex, an
parrot. He is 23 years old. Irene Pepperberg, the scientist working with
Alex, picked an African Grey at random. The Alex was 1 year old when she
bought him from a pet store in Chicago. He had no previous language
training, and the first thing he did was identify objects like paper,
wood and rawhide, and label several colors and shapes. Then he learned
to classify objects by shape, color or material by answering questions.
Then he displayed object permanence: when an object is hidden, he
searches for it. Very young children and most animals do not have that
ability, when an object is removed from view they forget about it. After
that he learned numerical quantity. He wasn't counting but he would tell
if there was a lot of an object or a little. Then he could tell
same/different, and could say what was the same or different about 2
objects. He also understood absence of information. When asked what was
different about 2 identical objects, he answers "none". Then he answered
multi-dimensional questions on a subject, like "What color is the key?"
Then, Irene discovers that Alex practices in the night what he learned
in the day. He then learned actual numerical quantity, counting objects.
Currently, Alex is learning he ABC's. There have been some of her
findings published, and in January 2000 Dr. Pepperberg is publishing a
book called the Alex Studies, a compilation of 20 years of research.
I don't know how this relates to dinosaur minds, if it does, but that
is basic info.