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Pigeons are smarter than you think!


http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/48237

From: UNIVERSITY OF IOWA
Published February 4, 2015

The more scientists study pigeons, the more they learn how their brains--no bigger than the tip of an index finger--operate in ways not so different from our own.

In a new study from the University of Iowa, researchers found that pigeons can categorize and name both natural and manmade objects--and not just a few objects. These birds categorized 128 photographs into 16 categories, and they did so simultaneously.

Ed Wasserman, UI professor of psychology and corresponding author of the study, says the finding suggests a similarity between how pigeons learn the equivalent of words and the way children do.

"Unlike prior attempts to teach words to primates, dogs, and parrots, we used neither elaborate shaping methods nor social cues," Wasserman says of the study, published online in the journal Cognition. "And our pigeons were trained on all 16 categories simultaneously, a much closer analog of how children learn words and categories."

For researchers like Wasserman, who has been studying animal intelligence for decades, this latest experiment is further proof that animals--whether primates, birds, or dogs--are smarter than once presumed and have more to teach scientists.

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