Valery LEBOVKA, “FACTS”
Knowing about the unusual talents of parrots, a group of scientists from Harvard decided to conduct a large study, which tested the cognitive abilities of birds and compare them with human.
The results of a study published in the publication of Scientific Reports, writes National Geographic.
For a start, the scientists took Griffin, African grey parrot Jaco and played with him in thimbles. They lined up several cups that hid colored POM-poms, and shuffled them, and then offered Griffin to choose the Cup with POM-POM the desired color. The problem was that the bird had not to follow one subject, as in the classic version of the game, and a few at the same time to indicate the one who asks the presenter.
Then the researchers hooked up to test people: in 21 children from six to eight years and 21 students of Harvard. Students and parrot were 120 rounds, children 36. The researchers performed the game in three stages to see if the subjects to follow two, three and four POM-poms.
Griffin surpassed children at all levels of difficulty , and was either as good or slightly betterthan the Harvard students, in 12 of the 14 tests. They were able to bypass the parrot only in the last two tests, where the researchers used more pompoms and the longer I was shuffling the cups. Then the results was compared with children’s. Scientists still unable to explain this change, but I think that it may be associated with the work of the human intellect.
The game was chosen for a reason. Thimbles check working memory — ability to remember objects that are no longer in sight, and to update previously obtained information — for example, when the position of the objects changes. This is useful when solving logic problems and handling complex information, and also serves as one of the foundations of intelligent behavior.
During the game, psychologists have studied the limits of the brain’s ability to process and update incoming information. They looked at the “working” part of the system of visual working memory. According to scientists, the study will help to understand the nature and origin of this system and of the human intellect in General.
“We believe that one of the main components of human intelligence, its key feature is the ability to think about the information and manipulate it. But if we find that other types can perform these activities [as well as to see how this ability is ancient], you may be able to understand what distinguishes human intelligence from the intelligence of other animals, “said Hrag Pilian, graduate student, graduate school of arts and Sciences, who led the experiment.
Griffin was a Prime candidate for this experiment because the researchers needed an animal whose brain would be functionally similar to human, but sufficiently removed from it evolutionary. Also, it is likely that the parrots had the ability to manipulate information due to the pressure of the environment in the wild: for example, from the need to find their hungry Chicks, and defend themselves from predators. In addition, Griffin was a participant in past cognitive research, as he has already shown that intelligent four-year-old and as smart as children six to eight years.
Earlier, the “FACTS” wrote that the intellectual capacity of parrots … even allow them to participate in robberies.