Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
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Grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) do not acquire referential English labels when tutored with videotapes displayed on CRT screens if (a) socially isolated, (b) reward for attempted labels is possible, (c) trainers direct birds’ attention to the monitor, (d) live video feed avoids habituation or (d) one trainer repeats labels produced on video and rewards label attempts. Because birds learned referential labels from live tutor pairs in concurrent sessions, we concluded that video failed because input lacked live social interaction and modeling (Pepperberg, 1999). Recent studies (e.g. Ikebuchi & Okanoya, 1999), however, suggest that standard CRT monitor flickering could instead have prevented learning. Using an LCD monitor, we found that eliminating flickering did not enable birds to learn from video under conditions of limited social interaction. Results emphasize the role of social interaction in referential label learning and may generalize to other systems (e.g. disabled children, or possibly software and robotic agents).


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): animal language; social interaction; video learning

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