Wednesday, August 09, 2006
The image of parrots as mindless mimics has been challenged by a 30-year study that has found they can add, recognise shapes and colours and identify up to 100 different objects. The scientist publishing the research says that parrots, whose brains are almost the size of walnuts, compare with chimpanzees and dolphins in having a level of intelligence similar to that of small children. Their communication skills are similar to those of a two-year-old child, but their adding and ability with colours and shapes are more like a five or six-year-old, said Irene Pepperberg, associate professor of psychology at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, U.S.
She carried out her research with African grey parrots. Although her work was ridiculed at first, the depth of research has gained the respect of other scientists, who increasingly accept her arguments. Professor Pepperberg will publish her latest results in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science. Alex, the most accomplished of her birds, is able to name seven colours and five shapes and count or add up to six. He can identify, request and refuse about 100 different objects and uses phrases such as come here and wanna go. He can also understand concepts such as zero, objects being bigger and smaller than one another, and the same or different. In one experiment, Alex was presented with collections of four, five and six blocks of three different colours and was able to provide the correct answer: Four blue.
Posted by Jeevan at 9:24 AM
Thursday, August 03, 2006
[Continue reading the full article]
I want my children to understand the world, but not just because the world is fascinating and the human mind is curious. I want them to understand it so that they will be positioned to make it a better place. Knowledge is not the same as morality, but we need to understand if we are to avoid past mistakes and move in productive directions. An important part of that understanding is knowing who we are and what we can do... Ultimately, we must synthesize our understandings for ourselves. The performance of understanding that try matters are the ones we carry out as human beings in an imperfect world which we can affect for good or for ill. (Howard Gardner 1999: 180-181)
[VIA The CosmicCode Institute]
Posted by ghost particle at 3:33 AM