Animal Cognition

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 711–717

Further evidence for addition and numerical competence by a Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus)

Short Communication

Abstract

A Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus), able to quantify sets of eight or fewer items (including heterogeneous subsets), to sum two sequentially presented sets of 0–6 items (up to 6), and to identify and serially order Arabic numerals (1–8), all by using English labels (Pepperberg in J Comp Psychol 108:36–44, 1994; J Comp Psychol 120:1–11, 2006a; J Comp Psychol 120:205–216, 2006b; Pepperberg and Carey submitted), was tested on addition of two Arabic numerals or three sequentially presented collections (e.g., of variously sized jelly beans or nuts). He was, without explicit training and in the absence of the previously viewed addends, asked, “How many total?” and required to answer with a vocal English number label. In a few trials on the Arabic numeral addition, he was also shown variously colored Arabic numerals while the addends were hidden and asked “What color number (is the) total?” Although his death precluded testing on all possible arrays, his accuracy was statistically significant and suggested addition abilities comparable with those of nonhuman primates.

Keywords

Parrot cognition Parrot numerical competence Nonhuman addition Avian cognition 

Supplementary material

10071_2012_470_MOESM1_ESM.doc (30 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 28 kb)
10071_2012_470_MOESM2_ESM.doc (26 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 27 kb)

References

  1. Beran M (2011) Quantity judgments of auditory and visual stimuli by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). J Expt’l Psychol Anim Behav Proc. doi:10.1037/a0024965 Google Scholar
  2. Biro D, Matsuzawa T (2001) Use of numerical symbols by the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes): cardinals, ordinals, and the introduction of zero. Anim Cogn 4:193–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bowmaker JK, Heath LA, Das D, Hunt DM (1994) Spectral sensitivity and opsin structure of avian rod and cone visual pigments. Invest Ophth Vis Sci 35:1708Google Scholar
  4. Bowmaker JK, Heath LA, Wilkie SE, Das D, Hunt DM (1996) Middle-wave cone and rod visual pigments in birds: Spectral sensitivity and opsin structure. Invest Ophth Vis Sci 37:S804Google Scholar
  5. Boysen ST (1993) Counting in chimpanzees: Nonhuman principles and emergent properties of number. In: Boysen ST, Capaldi EJ (eds) The development of numerical competence: animal and human models. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, pp 39–59Google Scholar
  6. Boysen ST, Berntson GG (1989) Numerical competence in a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). J Comp Psychol 103:23–31PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boysen ST, Hallberg KI (2000) Primate numerical competence: Contributions toward understanding nonhuman cognition. Cognitive Sci 24:423–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boysen ST, Berntson GG, Shreyer TA, Quigley KS (1993) Processing of ordinality and transitivity by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). J Comp Psychol 107:208–215PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carey S (2009) The origin of concepts. New York, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dehaene S (2011) The number sense: how the mind creates Mathematics, Chap 1. Oxford, New York, pp 3–29Google Scholar
  11. Fuson K (1988) Children’s counting and concepts of number. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Matsuzawa T (1985) Use of numbers by a chimpanzee. Nature 315:57–59PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Matsuzawa T, Itakura S, Tomonaga M (1991) Use of numbers by a chimpanzee: a further study. In: Ehara A, Kimura T, Takenaka O, Iwamoto M (eds) Primatology today. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 317–320Google Scholar
  14. Mix K, Huttenlocher J, Levine SC (2002) Quantitative development in infancy and early childhood. New York, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Murofushi K (1997) Numerical matching behavior by a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes): Subitizing and analogue magnitude estimation. Jpn Psychol Res 39:140–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Pepperberg IM (1981) Functional vocalizations by an African Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus). Z Tierpsychol 55:139–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Pepperberg IM (1987) Evidence for conceptual quantitative abilities in the African Grey parrot: labeling of cardinal sets. Ethology 75:37–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Pepperberg IM (1990) Cognition in an African Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus): further evidence for comprehension of categories and labels. J Comp Psychol 104:42–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pepperberg IM (1992) Proficient performance of a conjunctive, recursive task by an African Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus). J Comp Psychol 106:295–305PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pepperberg IM (1994) Evidence for numerical competence in an African Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus). J Comp Psychol 108:36–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pepperberg IM (2006a) Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) numerical abilities: addition and further experiments on a zero-like concept. J Comp Psychol 120:1–11PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pepperberg IM (2006b) Ordinality and inferential abilities of a Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus). J Comp Psychol 120:205–216PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pepperberg IM (2007) Grey parrots do not always “parrot”: Roles of imitation and phonological awareness in the creation of new labels from existing vocalizations. Lang Sci 29:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pepperberg IM, Carey S (submitted) Grey Parrot number acquisition: the inference of cardinal value from ordinal position on the numeral listGoogle Scholar
  25. Pepperberg IM, Gordon JD (2005) Number comprehension by a Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus), including a zero-like concept. J Comp Psychol 119:197–209PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pepperberg IM, Kozak FA (1986) Object permanence in the African Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus). Anim Learn Behav 14:322–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pepperberg IM, Lynn SK (2000) Perceptual consciousness in Grey parrots. Amer Zool 40:393–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pepperberg IM, Wilkes SR (2004) Lack of referential vocal learning from LCD video by Grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus). Interact Stud 5:75–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pepperberg IM, Willner MR, Gravitz LB (1997) Development of Piagetian object permanence in a Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus). J Comp Psychol 111:63–75PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pepperberg IM, Vicinay J, Cavanagh P (2008) The Müller-Lyer illusion is processed by a Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus). Perception 37:765–781PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Rugani R, Fontanari L, Simoni E, Regolin L, Vallortigara G (2009) Arithmetic in newborn chicks. Proc Roy Soc B 276:2451–2460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Shimomura T, Kumada T (2011) Spatial working memory load affects counting but not subitizing in enumeration. Atten Percept Psychophys 73:1694–1709PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Spelke ES, Tsivkin S (2001) Language and number: a bilingual training study. Cognition 7:45–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations