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Surprising! Parrots also like video games

© Rutpratheep Nilpechr/Pexels

Among the avian kingdom, parrots (species of birds in the family Psittacidae) are distinguished by a rather remarkable intelligence and an insatiable curiosity. From a behavioral point of view, they even share many common characteristics with young children. To avoid boredom, they require constant attention and stimulation. While many specific toys exist for these birds, some owners are turning to a much more modern solution: mobile applications.

The call of technology

The owners of these smart birds discover that their parrots are reaching keep busy independently with drawing applications, mobile games or even music creation applications.

Rébecca Kleinberger of Northeastern University is leading a study on the interaction between animals and technology. She explains that among parrots, “ applications for children are having their small success ”. Proof that these animals find a way to enrich themselves cognitively.

Although we are still very far from Kanzi's superb performance , this 43-year-old bonobo who managed to complete Minecraft, it must be admitted that the parrots also have their say.

As we can see in the video below below, the birds seem, in fact, very reactive to the applicationwhich is offered to them on a touchscreen tablet and even seem to derive a certain form of satisfaction from it.

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An amazing experience

However, parrots don't use touch screens like we do let's do. They actually use their language. This discovery comes from a study (No More Angry Birds) led by Kleinberger and colleagues, also including a collaboration with Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas of the University of Glasgow. These interactions were observed as part of research, the conclusions of which have not yet been published. This will be the subject of a conference next May.

To carry out their experiment, the researchers developed a specific application (visible on the same video) for the twenty parrots which made up the test cohort. This boiled down to a game of reflexes, where red circles appear on the screen that the birds had to touch as quickly as possible. When they succeeded, various treats were given to them in exchange.

Well-licked applications

This study may seem innocent, but in reality, it allowed researchers to recover very valuable data on the way in which parrots interact with touch screens. Indeed, their behavior differs radically from that of humans (touch precision, pressure technique on the screen); a blessing for researchers, who will thus be able to help potentially develop applications that are much better suited to their biological and behavioral needs.

Parrots tend to use their language to interact with a touch screen. Although its composition differs from that of mammals (absence of taste buds), it is very mobile and allows them to manipulate their food jointly with their beak. Rather, they interact through light, quick presses on the screen; although less precise than humans, they still noted that the parrots observed did not act randomly.

Thanks to these observations, the researchers therefore suggest developing games or applications specifically designed for use by parrots. Indeed, the sensitivity of the touch screens did not always clearly detect the birds' tongues, so there may be something to play for! There are many applications specially dedicated to cats on the App Store or the Google Play Store so why not for parrots ?

  • It seems that parrots like to entertain themselves with mobile applications designed for children.
  • A study was conducted by Rébecca Kleinberger of Northeastern University to highlight the behavior of parrots when faced with a dedicated application.
  • The researchers were thus able to collect data allowing them to better understand how they behave, potentially opening the way to the development of applications specific to parrots.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116