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(io9)   Grey parrots shown to have the reasoning skills of toddlers   ( divider line
    More: Interesting, parrots, African Grey, inferences, reasoning skills  
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1766 clicks; posted to Geek » on 08 Aug 2012 at 1:37 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2012-08-08 10:12:09 PM  
2 votes:

Artemus_Hackwell: Then I read about their diet needs, iron balancing, danger of iron poisoning with certain fruits; which has to be kept on top of. Also another issue was not cleaning the cage I expected that mess...(my cats lay dog size dumps that jam the box sweeper); was if I were to let it out of the cage it would essentially just poop wherever I think?
I could not bear to have it in the cage but would certainly let it amble around the house. Never outside though. Most large cities in the south have colonies of escaped various parrots living in trees and chattering at pedestrians.

I grew up with parrots. My mother was stay at home. African Grey helped teach me to talk when I was a little tyke. African Greys are extraordinarily difficult challenging companions. Their personalities vary greatly like people. They don't need to be caged. They can be trained to stay in their area when you are not home. They are not big flyers. They will pick spots to poop, and can be trained, more or less.

The big problem with CAG's (Congo African Grey's) is they can become neurotic by being kept in a cage, and not having adequate social time.

I have had a Green Cheek Conure for nearly 20 years. He is literally a handful, but they are one of the best parrots. They are relatively quiet, but still have big parrot personality. They are not big talkers, and have gravelly voices, but I think the ability for parrots to talk "human" is vastly overrated. They will communicate in a mix of their language, and your language.

The time thing is the big one. I spend huge swaths of my time hanging out with him. He is never locked up, and has learned to live in the house safely without oversight. The important part of owning a parrot is to channel their wants and behavior to achieve compromise.
2012-08-08 05:02:12 PM  
1 vote:

Lollipop165: Lady Indica: I love my Grey, but they are NOT for everyone.

I VERY much want a sun conure... but I realize just how much work they are (and with such long lives - yikes!). I have 2 dogs and a cat I can barely keep up with. But I hear parrots are even more demanding.

I have a nearly 20 year old Conure. He has mellowed with age. I grew up with a African Grey. She is now in her 40's. It was tough finding a good home for her after my mother died.That bird will probably outlive me.

As far as the intelligence, the article hit the nail on the head. It is not comparable to human intelligence. They are highly intelligent in a way that is not mammalian intelligence, and people tend to get their language use entirely wrong. They are learning to communicate what they want in human language because you seem kind of smart to them, not the other way around.
2012-08-08 02:55:44 PM  
1 vote:

Nurglitch: there was an American philosopher by the name of W.V.O. Quine who, if I recall correctly, held the position that meaning was fixed by reference to states of the world, and its context. The context was the tricky part. Imagine going to a village in the middle of nowhere and seeing a rabbit dart out of the bush. A local waves towards the rabbit and utters the word "duck". To what is that local referring?

This is precisely why translation can't be automated. You can run a document through a translation program and get something that looks like it makes sense, but that's just playing with fire. Without context, only the driest texts written with the explicit purpose of being easy to translate by a bilingual writer (the only people who understand all possible interpretations sans context) with the vigilance of a computer programmer can be perfectly translated by a machine. But in that case, why not just have the guy write in two languages?

And that's communication between two humans. Hell, I see two people who speak the same language fail to communicate all the time. When you're communicating with an animal, you really have to figure out what the animal is trying to say. One of my cats is wicked smart and there's definitely some crude cognitive function going on in his head, but about all he can do if I don't guess his intentions is meow with disapproval. He only has so many ways to communicate, and I'd rather he didn't go the "I will destroy all that is dear to you" route.
2012-08-08 02:47:07 PM  
1 vote:
Conversely, toddlers shown to have the reasoning skills of Grey parrots.
2012-08-08 02:37:18 PM  
1 vote:
***Grey parrots shown to have the reasoning skills of toddlers...your ex-girlfriend
2012-08-08 02:35:50 PM  
1 vote:

Lady Indica: For example, he says 'Good morning' when uncovered. However, when he's being covered if he doesn't want to go to sleep, he says good morning insistently. So he associates it with being uncovered. He doesn't know what the words mean.

That's still rather remarkable. He misinterpreted what "good morning" means, but he's still assigned a meaning to it consistent with his intentions. It's not true speech, but it's still very impressive. I've only owned one animal (a very smart dog) that could make that kind of connection.

Greys are amazing birds.
2012-08-08 02:16:27 PM  
1 vote:
I taught my wife's Grey to say REDRUM over and over and over.
2012-08-08 02:13:48 PM  
1 vote:
Mentioning grey parrot intelligence and not Alex and Irene Pepperberg?
2012-08-08 02:04:41 PM  
1 vote:
I had a dream once that my ex's Grey was a serial killer and I was the only one he would show his real personality to. He talked to everyone else like a normal parrot but when I was alone in a room with him he talked like a brilliant upper class Englishman, and he was like a Bond villian telling me all of his plots and how I was powerless to stop him.
2012-08-08 02:00:25 PM  
1 vote:
Grey parrots shown to have the reasoning skills of toddlers
Toddlers shown to have bird brains.
2012-08-08 01:48:27 PM  
1 vote:
My Grey has a vocab of about 65 words and uses half appropriately. When I say appropriately, I mean he uses them in specific context. This doesn't indicate meaning.

For example, he says 'Good morning' when uncovered. However, when he's being covered if he doesn't want to go to sleep, he says good morning insistently. So he associates it with being uncovered. He doesn't know what the words mean.

He also has his own words for a few things. He doesn't ask for water directly, but if he wants water (or he's out and needs a refill...because he's bathed in it) he makes the sound of water running.

His favorite word which he knows the meaning of, is like any small child. "NO". He speaks in my voice normally, and in my ex's voice (male) when saying 'No' or being aggressive. He's currently living with my ex (who takes very good care of him).

They do NOT make good or easy pets though, and I sincerely hope that articles like this don't spur ownership with someone who wants a 'smart' pet...and instead gets a screaming, noisy, messy demanding bird. I love my Grey, but they are NOT for everyone. I wasn't even able to take him with me when I moved to Northern CA because of the noise. You really should have them in a house with a sound buffer and not an apartment.

I've also known three year old humans, and while my parrot is awesome and intelligent (and my two caiques are also scarily smart) ... there's just no comparison overall. They're smart *birds*, and they think and act very differently from humans. And quite frankly, it's also impossible to determine how much of a Clever Hans effect is going on. They're absolutely smart enough to do that. :)
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