Parrots Are Only The Second Kind of Animal That Can Grasp Probabilities besides human beings & other great Apes


Up until now, only human beings and other great apes have demonstrated an ability to understand probabilities – being able to weigh up the odds based on the available data, or statistical inference, as it’s formally called. Now, for the first time, a parrot species has demonstrated this skill.

Tests on six kea (Nestor notabilis) parrots have shown they were able to understand and act on probabilities in a variety of scenarios that have previously been tested on humans and apes.

The findings have some wide-reaching implications – from understanding more about how the minds of non-primates might work, to producing more realistic and detailed artificial intelligencesystems of our own.

In particular, the result sheds some light on whether human and non-human brains tend to develop specific sections for specific tasks (domain-specific), or adapt the same sort of cognitive processes for whatever task is required (domain-general).

“Our results show that kea exhibit three signatures of statistical inference, and therefore can integrate knowledge across different cognitive domains to flexibly adjust their predictions of sampling events,” the researchers write in their newly published study



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