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Grey parrot called Griffin humiliates Harvard students by beating them in a memory test

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Grey parrot called Griffin humiliates Harvard students by beating them in a memory test

Harvard researchers compare human memory skills with those of animals separated from humans in 300 million years of evolution.

A parrot named Griffin humiliated a group of students at Harvard University’s School of Public Health (SPH) by punching them in the head. 

A parrot named Griffin humiliated Harvard University students and local children by beating them in a memory test. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (SPH) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) compared the ability of 22-year-old Griffin to perform memory tests to that of animals separated from humans in 300 million years of evolution. 

Harvard researchers compared human memory skills with those of animals separated from humans by more than 300 million years of evolution.

Harvard researchers compared human memory to that of birds, an animal that has been separated from humans for more than 300 million years. 

They compared the ability of a 22-year-old bird, Griffin, to perform a range of tasks similar to those of children in the US and Canada.

The parrot performed 14 experiments with varying levels of difficulty and the number of dolls required, surpassing the children in all levels on average. 

It wasn’t until the researchers exchanged three cups that Griffin’s skills fell short of the students’ performance.

Griffin, who received raw cashew nuts in exchange for participating, was able to match or surpass the undergrade performance on all three swaps.

In the last two tests, which involved most items and most exercises, Griffin’s “average” fell below the children’s performance, but never below it, though the researchers could not determine why. 

The parrot performed better than the children in all levels of difficulty and averages and performed well in 14 attempts, which differed both in the number of objects to be located and in the difficulty of each one. 

It wasn’t until the researchers made three change cups that Griffin’s ability began to decline after the undergrades performed.

Griffin, who received raw cashew quarters in exchange for participating, managed to match or surpass the performance of all three lower-tier swaps. In the last two tests, which involved most objects and most movements,

Griffin’s average dropped below the children’s performance, though the researcher could not determine why. 

The results suggest that manipulation of visual and functional memory imaging is an evolutionary ancient skill that emerged at a time when humans and parrots shared a common ancestor, the researchers said. 

Alex, another type of Grey Grey, died in 2007, but Dr Pepperberg knows of only two other Grey Parrots in the US – one in California and the other in Florida. 

In her research, Irene Pepperberg found that Griffin, an African grey parrot, gradually realized that he could get a better reward by picking up a green cup and sharing the reward.

In general, grey parrots can see optical illusions like humans, but exercise a different form of reasoning.

Alex was able to identify 50 different objects, recognize sets of six, distinguish seven colors and five shapes, and understand the difference between large and small, equal and different. 

What makes the study remarkable, Pepperberg said, is that previous work that had led to similar results in monkeys did so only under very specific conditions.

The new work, she says, suggests that not only can they grasp the concept of sharing, but they are also able to connect the dots between different types of objects, such as a green cup and a blue cup.

Dr Pepperberg knew Alex, an African grey who died in 2007, through her research with her husband David. 

Alex was able to identify 50 different objects, recognize sets of six, distinguish seven colors and five shapes, and understand the difference between large and small, equal and different.

Grey parrots generally engage in various forms of reasoning and can see optical illusions, like humans. 

Dr Pepperberg set up the Alex Foundation to raise money to do more parrot research. 

The aim of the game was to identify the location of certain coloured fries – Poms – when the researchers asked them to. The human participants and Griffin found at most one hidden object in the shell game, but they traced the whereabouts of all four fries – a – Poms by anticipating the demands of one of the four.

Participants were tested by following Griffin’s movements from a mug full of differently colored red and white pompoms to the correct mugs shown by Griffin and tapped with his beak. 

In a second experiment, Griffin was presented with four coloured cups, with each colour assigned special consequences.

In the first case, green cups represented sharing, and the choice of a green cup resulted in a treat for Griffin and his human counterpart.

In the second experiments, each test round began with Griffin picking a particular cup, but in this case four. 

Aaron writes guides and news related to the games at TheWestNews.com. Apart from his passion for writing and playing games he's exploring new places around the globe.

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