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Old 08-03-2019, 05:52 AM
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Parrots reading human body language

How does this happen?

Birds don't cry like humans, yet my Bo knows what it means. When I cry, he always stops what he's doing, comes over to me, looks me in the face, and snuggles against me in a much more passive way than he snuggles me in any other context, by which I mean he just sits there silently without playing games or conveying what he wants me to do. He sits there until I stop.

Humans rely on mirror neurons to understand each other's facial expressions and vocalisations, so how does it work in birds, given that we don't have many facial muscles in common that could trigger mirror neuron activity in them when they watch us?

Interested in the science behind it as well as other people's anecdotal experience. Do yours seem to understand your body language too, or not?
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:31 AM
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Re: Parrots reading human body language

I believe that you are limiting the discussion regarding "Humans rely on (just) mirror neuron" as this represents just a segment of the means in which Humans identify another Human's emotional state.

Much the same can be stated about the Human /Parrot interaction. Science lags far behind in defining the physical how. The 'that they do', opens the door for an understanding beyond our simply seeing and living it.

The last nine months have been difficult for the Boats' household our Amazon has been far more than helpful!

Science is far behind in so many areas. Another example of their abilities: Why are Parrots better at selecting a Human match than Humans are at selecting a Parrot match???
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Old 08-03-2019, 08:51 AM
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Re: Parrots reading human body language

Just like we learn their body language, they learn ours. I don’t pin my eyes or flare my tail to communicate any more than Kiwi cries or gets an angry expression on his face, but somehow we still understand each other. While I am unsure of the science behind it (we are just barely scratching the surface of understanding the human brain, much less animal brains), we do know parrots are creatures of higher intelligence who live in complex social structures, just like us. It would make sense that they have similar mechanisms for reading others, and given enough time, can learn to read the emotions of other species too. And for a parrot living amongst humans, it is just as advantageous to them to learn how to read our emotional state as it is for us to learn theirs.
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Old 08-03-2019, 09:20 AM
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Re: Parrots reading human body language

As creatures of prey, parrots have evolved with a keen awareness of their environment. While they observe our bodies, the nuances of poise, facial expression, tone/tenor of speech, and dress give yield great clues to their minds. They seem capable of discerning intent from interrelated activities, such as putting on shoes, jacket, and heading for the door to leave.

My job required a uniform differing greatly from my usual casual wear. I'd leave home for typically 3 or 4 day intervals, and I learned to say "goodbye" before dressing. Initially, my uniform engendered a painful clinginess with knowledge I'd be gone for a long while.
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Old 08-03-2019, 02:51 PM
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Re: Parrots reading human body language

Well, I have to add, that Callum thinks that my crying sounds are like me laughing, so when I cry, he laughs at me... Dunno if this counts or what LOL.
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Old 08-03-2019, 03:06 PM
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Re: Parrots reading human body language

There is like verbal structure between a sob and a laugh! Also, when he copied your laughter, you laughed and smiled. It is just as possible that he was looking for a way to bring a smile back to your face.
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Old 08-03-2019, 04:47 PM
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Re: Parrots reading human body language

Well how good must their eyesight be on top of that? My computer desk is about 6 to 7 feet away from the cage, he can be silent for a while and be occupied with something but he immediately responds(including vocally) when I look at him, even subtly.

He also seems to understand when I'm tired and lay down for a nap, right away he will be silent seemingly to not disturb me. I can't be deluded about this lol, he could be in an energetic and loud mood but he literally doesn't make a sound when I take a nap on the couch near his cage, this sweetheart is so considerate. I had budgies and cockatiels in the past and they would never do this.

I used to have him in another cage on a table right next to my couch and when I took a nap there he would of course be silent and just look at me, and if I woke up without moving and only opened my eyes for a few seconds he would respond vocally immediately.

And this is a 3 month old parrot, gotta be the tip of the iceberg for adult birds. I think they're amazing creatures.
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