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[ba-ohs-talk] Fwd: CG: Conceptual structures in parrots

Now, I think this is interesting...
Jack    (01)

>From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@bestweb.net>
>To: cg <cg@cs.uah.edu>
>There is an interesting article that supports Peirce's claim
>that parrots are not merely "parroting" when they generate
>intelligible speech:
>Following is the opening section of the article.  I'm not at all
>surprised by this story.  It is just one more confirmation of the
>hypothesis, as presented in my 1984 CS book, that conceptual structures
>are commonplace in all higher mammals, independently of their speaking
>ability.  This study suggests that birds (and probably more advanced
>reptiles from which both birds and mammals evolved) share similar kinds
>of conceptual structures.
>John Sowa
>Meet Griffin, the grey parrot, whose astonishing vocal and physical
>skills are demonstrating just how smart the avian world really is.
>Griffin has recently begun to play with objects and speaks English in
>a way that raises fascinating questions about the thought processes
>going on inside a bird's brain.
>The parrot will stack different-sized bottle caps in the right order,
>for example. He will also mix up the English words he has learned, and
>will say simple phrases, like "wanna green nut".  This type of behaviour
>was once thought to be exclusive to humans, great apes, and monkeys.
>Griffin suggests Parrots should be added to the list.
>"Human children start combining their labels at about 22 months," says
>Dr Irene Pepperberg, who works with Griffin at the Massachusetts
>Institute of Technology. "So, they start not just identifying 'cookie'
>and 'milk', but will say 'want milk' or 'want more cookie'.  And they
>also tend to develop this combinatorial behaviour at the same time as
>they start doing physical combinations of their toys. So, they will
>start stacking cups in serried sizes, and things like that."
>She told the American Association for the Advancement of Science
>meeting in Boston: "The simultaneous emergence of both vocal and
>physical combinatorial behaviours was always thought to be a purely
>primate trait, derived from primate brain area.  "The fact that we are
>finding this in animals so far removed from primates is exciting."
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