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.
Buy The Alex Studies book by Irene Maxine Pepperberg from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(235mm x 155mm x 27mm)
Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
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Author Biography - Irene Maxine Pepperberg
Irene Maxine Pepperberg is Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Associate Professor of Psychology, and Affiliate in the Program in Neuroscience at the University of Arizona. She is the winner of the 2000 Selby Fellowship from the Australian Academy of Sciences and was made a Fellow of the American Psychological Society.