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mdubuque
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SONGBIRDS MAY BE ABLE TO LEARN GRAMMAR

April 26th, 2006, 8:55 pm

But can they build nuclear weapons? Isn't that the true paragon of human achievement according to Hamilton?

Matthew


Songbirds May Be Able to Learn Grammar By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer
1 hour, 22 minutes ago


The simplest grammar, long thought to be one of the skills that separate man from beast, can be taught to a common songbird, new research suggests.

Starlings learned to differentiate between a regular birdsong "sentence" and one containing a clause or another sentence of warbling, according to a study in Thursday's journal Nature. It took University of California at San Diego psychology researcher Tim Gentner a month and about 15,000 training attempts, with food as a reward, to get the birds to recognize the most basic of grammar in their own bird language.

Yet what they learned may shake up the field of linguistics.

While many animals can roar, sing, grunt or otherwise make noise, linguists have contended for years that the key to distinguishing language skills goes back to our elementary school teachers and basic grammar. Sentences that contain an explanatory clause are something that humans can recognize, but not animals, researchers figured.

Two years ago, a top research team tried to get tamarin monkeys to recognize such phrasing, but they failed. The results were seen as upholding famed linguist Noam Chomsky's theory that "recursive grammar" is uniquely human and key to the facility to acquire language.

But after training, nine out of Gentner's 11 songbirds picked out the bird song with inserted warbling or rattling bird phrases about 90 percent of the time. Two continued to flunk grammar.

"We were dumbfounded that they could do as well as they did," Gentner said. "It's clear that they can do it."

Gentner trained the birds using three buttons hanging from the wall. When the bird pecked the button it would play different versions of bird songs that Gentner generated, some with inserted clauses and some without. If the song followed a certain pattern, birds were supposed to hit the button again with their beaks; if it followed a different pattern they were supposed to do nothing. If the birds recognized the correct pattern, they were rewarded with food.

Gentner said he was so unprepared for the starlings' successful learning that he hadn't bothered to record the songs the starlings sang in response.

"They might have been singing them back," Gentner said.

To put the trained starlings' grammar skills in perspective, Gentner said they don't match up to either of his sons, ages 2 and 9 months.

What the experiment shows is that language and animal cognition is a lot more complicated than scientists once thought and that there is no "single magic bullet" that separates man from beast, said Jeffrey Elman, a professor of cognitive science at UCSD, who was not part of the Gentner research team.

Marc Hauser, director of Harvard University's Cognitive Evolution Laboratory, who conducted the tamarin monkey experiment, said Gentner's study was important and exciting, showing that "some of the cognitive sources that we deploy may be shared with other animals."

But Hauser said it still doesn't quite disprove a key paper he wrote in 2002 with Chomsky. The starlings are grasping a basic grammar, but not the necessary semantics to have the language ability that he and Chomsky wrote about.

Hauser said Gentner's study showed him he should have tried to train his monkeys instead of just letting them try to recognize recursive grammar instinctively. But starlings may be more apt vocalizers and have a better grasp of language than non-human primates. Monkeys may be trapped like Franz Kafka's Gregor Samsa, a man metamorphosized into a bug and unable to communicate with the outside world, Hauser suggested.

 
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Hamilton
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SONGBIRDS MAY BE ABLE TO LEARN GRAMMAR

April 27th, 2006, 12:44 pm

 
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SONGBIRDS MAY BE ABLE TO LEARN GRAMMAR

January 19th, 2008, 12:11 pm

The lyre bird can learn anything

lyre bird
 
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mdubuque
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SONGBIRDS MAY BE ABLE TO LEARN GRAMMAR

January 26th, 2008, 3:58 am

Chimpanzee Trounces British Memory Champion

I'm the chimpion! Ape trounces the best of the human world in memory competition
by FIONA MACRAE - More by this author »

Last updated at 00:23am on 25th January 2008

When scientists found out that chimps had better memories than students, there were unkind comments about the calibre of the human competition they faced.

But now an ape has gone one better, trouncing British memory champion Ben Pridmore.

Ayumu, a seven-year-old male brought up in captivity in Japan, did three times as well as Mr Pridmore at a computer game which involved remembering the position of numbers on a screen.

And that's no mean feat - the 30-year-old accountant from Derby is capable of memorising the order of a shuffled pack of cards in under 30 seconds.

Both chimp and man watched a computer screen on which five numbers flashed up at various positions before being obscured by white squares.

They then had to touch the squares in order of the numbers they concealed, from lowest to highest. When the numbers were shown for just a fifth of a second - the blink of an eye - Ayumu got it right almost 90 per cent of the time.

His human opponent scored a rather less impressive 33 per cent, Channel Five programme Extraordinary Animals will reveal.

Mr Pridmore, who spends his evenings memorising 400-digit numbers, ruefully acknowledged that he had met his match.

Ben Pridmore can memorise the order of a pack of cards in 30 seconds - but was beaten by a chimp
"I'd rather not be seen on TV doing worse than a chimpanzee in a memory-test," he said. "I'll never live it down!"

The TV tests follow scientific experiments which pitted Ayumu, along with several other young chimps, against a group of university students.

Ayumu was the clear champion, doing twice as well as the humans.

It is thought that young chimps are blessed with photographic memories, allowing them to remember patterns and sequences with amazing accuracy.

Professor Tetsuro Matsuzawa, the Kyoto University researcher behind both sets of experiments, said: "People still believe that humans are superior to chimpanzees in any domain of intelligence.

"That is the prejudice of the people.

"Chimpanzees can be clever in a specific task in comparison to humans."

• The Memory Chimp is on Tuesday, January 29, at 7.30pm on Five

From the Daily Mail
 
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mdubuque
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SONGBIRDS MAY BE ABLE TO LEARN GRAMMAR

January 26th, 2008, 4:00 am

Chimpanzee Trounces British Memory Champion

I'm the chimpion! Ape trounces the best of the human world in memory competition
by FIONA MACRAE

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=510260&in_page_id=1770

When scientists found out that chimps had better memories than students, there were unkind comments about the calibre of the human competition they faced.

But now an ape has gone one better, trouncing British memory champion Ben Pridmore.

Ayumu, a seven-year-old male brought up in captivity in Japan, did three times as well as Mr Pridmore at a computer game which involved remembering the position of numbers on a screen.

And that's no mean feat - the 30-year-old accountant from Derby is capable of memorising the order of a shuffled pack of cards in under 30 seconds.

Both chimp and man watched a computer screen on which five numbers flashed up at various positions before being obscured by white squares.

They then had to touch the squares in order of the numbers they concealed, from lowest to highest. When the numbers were shown for just a fifth of a second - the blink of an eye - Ayumu got it right almost 90 per cent of the time.

His human opponent scored a rather less impressive 33 per cent, Channel Five programme Extraordinary Animals will reveal.

Mr Pridmore, who spends his evenings memorising 400-digit numbers, ruefully acknowledged that he had met his match.

Ben Pridmore can memorise the order of a pack of cards in 30 seconds - but was beaten by a chimp
"I'd rather not be seen on TV doing worse than a chimpanzee in a memory-test," he said. "I'll never live it down!"

The TV tests follow scientific experiments which pitted Ayumu, along with several other young chimps, against a group of university students.

Ayumu was the clear champion, doing twice as well as the humans.

It is thought that young chimps are blessed with photographic memories, allowing them to remember patterns and sequences with amazing accuracy.

Professor Tetsuro Matsuzawa, the Kyoto University researcher behind both sets of experiments, said: "People still believe that humans are superior to chimpanzees in any domain of intelligence.

"That is the prejudice of the people.

"Chimpanzees can be clever in a specific task in comparison to humans."

• The Memory Chimp is on Tuesday, January 29, at 7.30pm on Five

From the Daily Mail
Last edited by mdubuque on January 25th, 2008, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Cuchulainn
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December 22nd, 2010, 11:19 pm

Last edited by Cuchulainn on December 22nd, 2010, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Traden4Alpha
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SONGBIRDS MAY BE ABLE TO LEARN GRAMMAR

December 23rd, 2010, 12:52 am

Quote

Originally posted by: Cuchulainn
cricket
Hmm... Wrong on two counts! That's the sound of a male cricket, but the image is a female katydid.
 
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December 23rd, 2010, 7:35 am

Quote

Originally posted by: Traden4Alpha
Quote

Originally posted by: Cuchulainn
cricket
Hmm... Wrong on two counts! That's the sound of a male cricket, but the image is a female katydid.


oops, it's not cricket; it's a lyer?
 
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January 10th, 2011, 7:08 pm

 
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February 4th, 2012, 8:17 am

Run rabbit, run rabbit run run run

"Champis - den vallande kaninen"
Last edited by Cuchulainn on February 3rd, 2012, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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January 2nd, 2014, 11:00 am

 
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September 11th, 2015, 7:32 am

Trying pronouncing this.
 
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tagoma
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SONGBIRDS MAY BE ABLE TO LEARN GRAMMAR

September 11th, 2015, 9:08 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: CuchulainnTrying pronouncing this.I suspect you're suggesting they shall cut that city name with commas.
 
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September 11th, 2015, 10:42 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: tagomaQuoteOriginally posted by: CuchulainnTrying pronouncing this.I suspect you're suggesting they shall cut that city name with commas.LOLThis is one case where commas are essential.
 
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September 11th, 2015, 10:43 am

Words for thunder in FW
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