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The Parrot Brain On Shapes: Similarities with Human Visual Processing

Objects are often not fully visible in everyday life. Human beings are capable of processing the complex visual information related to “incompleteness” because our visual environment is primarily composed of opaque objects that can overlap and partially hide each other. Scientists believe that many nonhuman species are also able to deal with “incompleteness”…

Irene Pepperberg, PhD

Dr. Pepperberg is a Research Associate and Lecturer at Harvard University working in the field of animal cognition and communication, specifically in African Grey parrots. In 1977, Dr. Pepperberg began her work with Alex, her first Grey parrot research subject. For 30 years, Irene and Alex investigated concepts such as shapes, colors, sizes, and numbers, revolutionizing what the world knows about avian cognition. Following in his footsteps are the Grey parrots, Griffin and Athena. Currently, Dr. Pepperberg’s work is entirely supported by The Alex Foundation.  


Wait For It…A Grey Parrot Demonstrates Self-Control

“Griffin”, a grey parrot in Dr. Irene Pepperberg’s animal behavior and avian cognition lab, could wait up to 15 minutes for a better quality reward, even though both treats offered were preferred food items. Griffin displayed delayed gratification for longer than any previously tested avian subject including Goffin’s cockatoos. Fifteen minutes was the longest time evaluated, not necessarily the longest length of time Griffin could wait.

Explore the history of similar research in children and animals as well as the specific results of the study led by Adrienne E. Koepke of Hunter College and Suzanne L. Gray of Harvard University. Also learn more about Dr. Irene Pepperberg and the fascinating work of The Alex Foundation.