Evidence for Conceptual Quantitative Abilities in the African Grey Parrot: Labeling of Cardinal Sets


Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University, 1810 Hinman Ave., Evanston, IL 60201, USA.


An African grey parrot with experience in vocal labeling and categorization of objects, colors, and shapes has been taught to produce vocal numerical labels for collections of 2–6 objects. This ability generalized to sets of novel objects, to objects in random arrays, and to some heterogeneous collections. The results are discussed in terms of their relationship to numerical concepts in humans and other animals, particularly with respect to counting, language, and “prepared” associations.