Monday, September 10, 2007
Dr. Pepperberg's Alex
On Friday, Alex passed away unexpectedly at the age of 31. Alex was a crucial part of Dr. Pepperberg's studies in cognitive ethology. The name Alex is actually an acronym, A.L.EX., standing for Avian Learning EXperiment. He was purchased from a Chicago pet store in 1977.
Early studies conducted by Pepperberg were concerned with modeling behavior. Alex was used to demonstrate a teaching technique that has been applied successfully to certain types of learning disabilities. Her current research, however, is most concerned with examining the cognitive capacity of this amazing species. There is more information about the research on the Alex Foundation site.
This is my Alix --
My husband and I purchased Alix about thirteen years ago. She had that name when we got her and we saw no reason to change it. I'm glad now that we didn't.
I am constantly amazed and delighted by my small grey companion. She is adaptable and expressive. I have observed a surprising level of intelligence in her, watching how she reasons.
So, to Dr. Pepperberg and her research team, I extend my heartfelt condolences. I cannot imagine what you are going through with this loss.
And to Alex, whose time was shorter on this earth than it should have been, your contributions to the understanding of avian intelligence is a legacy that will be remembered.