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THE N'KISI PROJECT
Testing a Language - Using Parrot for Telepathy
paper by Rupert Sheldrake and Aimee Morgana from the Journal of Scientific Exploration
The N'kisi Project is a series of controlled experiments and ongoing research in interspecies communication and telepathy conducted by Aimee Morgana and her language-using parrot "N'kisi".
Aimée Morgana noticed that her language-using African Grey parrot, N'kisi, often seemed to respond to her thoughts and intentions in a telepathic manner. We set up a series of trials to test whether this apparent telepathic ability would be expressed in formal tests in which Aimée and the parrot were in different rooms, on different floors, under conditions in which the parrot could receive no sensory information from Aimée or from anyone else.
During these trials Aimée and the parrot were both videotaped continuously. At the beginning of each trial, Aimée opened a numbered sealed envelope containing a photograph, and then looked at it for two minutes. These photographs corresponded to a prespecified list of key words in N'kisi's vocabulary, and were selected and randomized in advance by a third party. We conducted a total of 149 two-minute trials. The recordings of N'kisi during these trials were transcribed blind by three independent transcribers. Their transcripts were generally in good agreement. Using a majority scoring method, in which at least two of the three transcribers were in agreement, N'kisi said one or more of the key words in 71 trials. He scored 23 hits: the key words he said corresponded to the target pictures.
In a Randomized Permutation Analysis (RPA), there were as many or more hits than N'kisi actually scored in only 5 out of 20,000 random permutations, giving a p value of 5/20,000 or 0.00025. In a Bootstrap Resampling Analysis (BRA), only 4 out of 20,000 permutations equalled or exceeded N'kisi's actual score (p = 0.0002). Both by the RPA and BRA the mean number of hits expected by chance was 12, with a standard deviation of 3. N'kisi repeated key words more when they were hits than when they were misses. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that N'kisi was reacting telepathically to Aimée's mental activity.
Full Text: www.sheldrake.org...
N'kisi is a captive bred, hand raised Congo African Gray Parrot. He is 4-1/2 years old, and his species has a life span similar to humans. He has received teaching in the use of language for 4 years. He is now one of the world's top "language-using" animals, with an apparent understanding and appropriate usage of over 700 words. Aimee intuitively taught N'kisi as one would a child, by explaining things to him in context. (This goes beyond typical interactions with a "pet", involving many hours per day of teaching and conversations.) He is treated as a member of the family.
N'kisi was not trained like a performing animal, and does not just mimic or use speech "on cue". Instead, he has been allowed to develop his own creative relationship to language as a means of self-expression. N'kisi speaks in sentences, showing a grasp of grammar in formulating his own original expressions. He is capable of actual conversations. He often initiates comments about what we are doing, feeling, looking at, thinking, etc, which is how we discovered his ability to read minds.
N'kisi often demonstrates telepathy in spontaneous situations, and also communicates love, compassion, and a keen sense of humor.
Language-using animals are like "animal ambassadors" helping to bridge the worlds of other species with our own. In the wild, parrots live in large flocks with complex social interactions, which have yet to be studied.
About Aimee Morgana:
Since childhood, Aimee has had an intuitive connection with animals, and used these insights in developing her own techniques for teaching parrots to use language. Aimee has been working with parrots since 1985. Her goal is to establish a true communicative dialogue with a member of another species. Unlike laboratory researchers, Aimee decided to give N'kisi "dominance" in their relationship, relinquishing control to open the door for his creativity. She wanted to find out what a parrot might actually have to say, which would reveal fascinating information about how these animals think.
Aimee's ongoing work with N'Kisi illustrates her concept of "partnership research," an approach which honors and explores the close relationships people can have with animals as friends and teachers. Aimee is part of an emerging group of conceptually based artists interested in exploring our human relationship with Nature in work dealing with animals, biology, environmental concerns, and quantum aspects of consciousness. In a dynamic cross-fertilization of approaches, some of these artists have begun collaborating with scientists in new-paradigm research projects that bridge the disciplines of Art and Science.
You said - put my open hand up near the light and in a friendly way I just sort of WILLED Mr. moth to come freely into my hand, and voila, it worked, but instantly, without any hassle!
Parrot's oratory stuns scientists
By Alex Kirby
BBC News Online environment correspondent
Feathered prodigy: N'kisi leads the field
The finding of a parrot with an almost unparalleled power to communicate with people has brought scientists up short.
The bird, a captive African grey called N'kisi, has a vocabulary of 950 words, and shows signs of a sense of humour.
He invents his own words and phrases if he is confronted with novel ideas with which his existing repertoire cannot cope - just as a human child would do.
N'kisi's remarkable abilities, which are said to include telepathy, feature in the latest BBC Wildlife Magazine.
N'kisi is believed to be one of the most advanced users of human language in the animal world.
About 100 words are needed for half of all reading in English, so if N'kisi could read he would be able to cope with a wide range of material.
He uses words in context, with past, present and future tenses, and is often inventive.
One N'kisi-ism was "flied" for "flew", and another "pretty smell medicine" to describe the aromatherapy oils used by his owner, an artist based in New York.
When he first met Dr Jane Goodall, the renowned chimpanzee expert, after seeing her in a picture with apes, N'kisi said: "Got a chimp?"
School's in: He is a willing learner
He appears to fancy himself as a humourist.
When another parrot hung upside down from its perch, he commented: "You got to put this bird on the camera."
Dr Goodall says N'kisi's verbal fireworks are an "outstanding example of interspecies communication".
In an experiment, the bird and his owner were put in separate rooms and filmed as the artist opened random envelopes containing picture cards.
Analysis showed the parrot had used appropriate keywords three times more often than would be likely by chance.
This was despite the researchers discounting responses like "What ya doing on the phone?" when N'kisi saw a card of a man with a telephone, and "Can I give you a hug?" with one of a couple embracing.
Professor Donald Broom, of the University of Cambridge's School of Veterinary Medicine, said: "The more we look at the cognitive abilities of animals, the more advanced they appear, and the biggest leap of all has been with parrots."
Alison Hales, of the World Parrot Trust, told BBC News Online: "N'kisi's amazing vocabulary and sense of humour should make everyone who has a pet parrot consider whether they are meeting its needs.
"They may not be able to ask directly, but parrots are long-lived, and a bit of research now could mean an improved quality of life for years."