Meet Griffin, the star of the Avian Learning Experiment, an experiment to prove that parrots are capable of more than just parroting. Good birdy. Griffin’s human partner in the experiment is Dr. Irene Pepperberg. We started to establish a two-way communication system with a bird that would allow us then to use that system to examine his intelligence.
Through this two-way communication with Griffin, Dr. Pepperberg is unlocking the secrets of the bird brain and showing just how much a parrot can understand. Hi. Hi, sweetie. Hi.
For the past 12 years, Griffin and Dr. Pepperberg have worked together. Let’s go check the email first, okay? Can we go check email first? Yeah?
Yeah? Griffin is a little bit cautious, a little bit watchful. Griffin is an academic bird who doesn’t mince his words. -What do you want? -I want to go back.
You want to go back? Okay. He means what he says and he says what he means. We’re going to do some matter, okay? Tell me what matter.
-Paper. -Paper, that’s right. Good birdie. There you go. Dr.
Pepperberg’s simplified language uses the minimum number of words possible.
So instead of asking, „What is this made of?“ she asks…
What matter? -Wool. -Good boy. Griffin can also understand abstract concepts and even has the ability to use numbers. Now listen.
How many? -Four. -Four is right. Good boy. But Griffin has plenty of competition for the title of genius parrot.
His main rival has flown in from Tennessee to give a special performance at a top Boston nursery school. -Would you like to hear her talk? -Yeah. -Can you tell everybody your name? -Einstein.
This is Einstein. Now, Einstein, can you tell everybody „hi“? -Hello. -That’s nice. Can you be more polite?
-Sweetheart. -That’s pretty sweet. Now before we start, Einstein, do you need to clear your throat? Irene has come to see Einstein firsthand because she’s heard of her impressive vocal abilities.
Now Einstein just took a trip all around the world.
Well, in Africa, there’s a lot of chimpanzees. Can you do a chimpanzee? How about a pig? What about one that needs to go on a diet? Can you sing?
But today was a very special day for Einstein because it was her birthday. -What would you do if you got a peanut? -Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. Even though Einstein’s ability to mimic is impressive, Irene still thinks that Griffin is top of the class when it comes to comprehension.