The Alex Studies: Cognitive and Communicative Abilities of Grey Parrots (Paperback)
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Short Description for The Alex Studies Based on 20 years of research, the author examines whether the results of animal-human communication experiments, performed primarily on pigeons, necessarily meant that other birds, particularly parrots, were incapable of mastering cognitive concepts and the rudiments of referential speech.
- Published: 07 May 2002
- Format: Paperback 448 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780674008069 ISBN 10: 0674008065
- Sales rank: 224,560
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Full description for The Alex Studies
Can a parrot understand complex concepts and mean what is says? Since the early s, most studies on animal-human communication have focused on great apes and a few cetacean species. Birds were rarely used in similar studies on the grounds that they were merely talented mimics -that they were, after all, "birdbrains". Experiments performed primarily on pigeons in Skinner boxes demonstrated capacities inferior to those of mammals; these results were thought to reflect the capacities of all birds, despite evidence suggesting that species such a s jays, crows, and parrots might be capable of more impressive cognitive feats. Twenty years ago Irene Pepperberg set out to discover whether the results of the pigeon studies necessarily meant that other birds -particularly the large-brained, highly social parrots - were incapable of mastering complex cognitive concepts and the rudiments of referential speech. her investigation and the bird at its centre - a male Grey parrot named Alex - have since become almost as well known as their primate equivalents and no less a subject of fierce debate in the field of animal cognition.