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The Alex Foundation's Research Publication (partial list)
Published Books: "The Alex Studies" and "Alex & Me"

"Known as one of the most famous African Grey parrots in history, Alex pioneered new avenues in avian intelligence. He possessed more than 100 vocal labels for different objects, actions, colors and could identify certain objects by their particular material. He could count object sets up to the total number six and was working on seven and eight. Alex exhibited math skills that were considered advanced in animal intelligence, developing his own “zero-like” concept in addition to being able to infer the connection between written numerals, objects sets, and the vocalization of the number. Alex was learning to read the sounds of various letters and had a concept of phonemes, the sounds that make up words."
(The Alex Foundation)


Wikipedia's entry about Alex contains a "Criticisms" section, where it is suggested that "Alex's alleged use of language" could be a result of operant conditioning (read Monday's journal entry if you are not familiar with this term).  What are your thoughts regarding this accusation?
 

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-21 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] shikoneko
Honestly, as far as the criticisms go, I don't think it really matters, much. It still shows just how intelligent they are, even if they're taking hints from someone.

I give my kids hints when they don't know//get something--doesn't mean they're not intelligent, just means they haven't learned yet. I stress yet, because--I feel--if they have the ability to take those hints and provide the correct answer//response//whatever, they're likely intelligent enough to [eventually] be able to figure it out on their own.

If that makes any sense [x

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-21 06:45 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] shikoneko
Yes, exactly [:

Just because it takes some prompting occasionally doesn't lessen [cheapen?] the fact that this bird is obviously extremely smart and has the capacity to be even smarter [imo] Time will tell, of course, but still--I'm impressed.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-21 06:48 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] shikoneko
Aww, I just actually saw that in reading more on him ]:

31 seems so young /:

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-21 07:12 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] shikoneko
trufax [x

And yeah--parrots live for freaking ever. Comparable to the human life span. It always makes me so upset when I see people getting rid of them... parrots are literally a life time commitment... so many people don't realize that, going in ]:

We actually had a Yellow Naped Amazon who cursed like a sailor that we got from my aunt [who'd gotten it from someone who'd passed away]. She died at 80 |:

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-21 07:24 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] shikoneko
Yep! Give or take a few years ^^; Ah, I miss her ]':

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-25 03:53 pm (UTC)
coverallthebasses: utterlyindecent @ LJ (Default)
From: [personal profile] coverallthebasses
Sounds just like Vygotskian scaffolding!

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