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    African Greys As Intelligent As A Four Year Old Human

    NewsParrot NewsWednesday 22 June 2011
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    A new scientific experiment has shown that some African Grey parrots are as intelligent as 4-year old children. In the study a grey parrot called Awisa used reasoning to figure out where a piece of food was hidden. The scientists trained seven African Grey parrots to choose between a cup where they'd seen food hidden and a cup without food. Once the parrots learned how to get a treat by choosing the right cup, they set up an experiment to test their ability to infer by exclusion. In one test the scientists hid one piece of food – such as a seed – in one cup and another such as a walnut in another cup whilst a parrot watched. Next, they picked up one cup, showed the food to the parrot and re-hid it, or picked up a cup, showed the food to the parrot, and put the food in their pockets.

    The parrot was then given a choice of cups. In a second experiment, the scientists did the same thing, but did so behind an opaque screen. The parrot only saw them hold up a piece of food she had removed, but didn't see her remove it. So the parrots, if they're using their smarts, should know that the cup that once held that type of food is now empty. The logical conclusion, then, is that the other cup still has food in it. If the parrots consistently pick the food-filled cup, it suggests they are making that logical inference. Only Awisa passed both experiments (the first was successfully passed by three of the seven parrots.)  The only other animals that have been shown capable of this reasoning are apes, and humans – shedding new light on the intelligence capabilities of birds and especially parrots.

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