Ordinality and Inferential Abilities of a Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus)

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Abstract

A grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus), able to label the color of the bigger or smaller object in a pair (I. M. Pepperberg & M. V. Brezinsky, 1991), to vocally quantify ≤6 item sets (including heterogeneous subsets; I. M. Pepperberg, 1994), and separately trained to identify Arabic numerals 1–6 with the same vocal English labels but not to associate Arabic numbers with their relevant physical quantities, was shown pairs of Arabic numbers or an Arabic numeral and a set of objects and was asked for the color of the bigger or smaller one. The parrot's success showed he (a) understood number symbols as abstract representations of real-world collections, (b) inferred the relationship between the Arabic number and the quantity via stimulus equivalence, and (c) understood the ordinal relationship of his numbers.

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