Fair-minded birds

first_imgNew research conducted at Harvard demonstrates sharing behavior in African grey parrots.“I think people usually think of the natural world as being akin to Tennyson’s ‘Nature, red in tooth and claw,’ ” said Irene Pepperberg, a psychology researcher and co-author of the study. “But this type of sharing isn’t unheard of in the wild. In a mated pair, for example, birds often share food or engage in reciprocal grooming.”What makes the study noteworthy, Pepperberg said, is that earlier work that produced similar findings in apes did so only under highly specific conditions.The new work, she said, suggests that African greys such as Griffin, the study subject, not only can grasp the concept of sharing, but also are capable of connecting their actions in the near-term to those of their human partners in the future.“What was important was that in the initial experiment, Griffin wasn’t simply copycatting what the student was doing,” Pepperberg said. “He was making a clear choice and was willing to share. In effect, he was saying, ‘If you’re willing to give me something, I’m willing to share with you.’ In the latter experiment, he understood if he shared now, the student will share next.”The test Pepperberg and colleagues from Brandeis University and the University of Lincoln designed was simple. Griffin was presented with four colored cups, with each color assigned a particular consequence. The green cup represented sharing — to choose it led to a treat for both Griffin and his human counterpart. Pink, by contrast, was the selfish option — only Griffin received a treat. The orange cup signaled generosity, and meant giving up a treat. The purple cup left both parties treatless.In the second experiment, each round of the test began with Griffin selecting a particular cup. Student test subjects then mimicked his choice. Over time, Pepperberg said, Griffin gradually came to understand that he would get a better payoff by picking the green cup — and sharing the reward.“That’s not to say Griffin didn’t occasionally choose the pink cup, but he realized every time he chose pink and got a treat, then on the next round, he didn’t,” Pepperberg said. “At a statistically significant level, he realized that to get the student to choose green and share, he had to first choose green and share.”Tests performed in an earlier study showed that when students consistently showed generosity, the bird became more likely to share; when they were selfish, Griffin responded in kind.“This behavior may have its roots in the wild,” Pepperberg said. “For example, a single parrot is a dead bird, because it can’t both forage and scan for predators. So there are certain things, such as sentinel behavior — where one bird will sit up in a tree watching for predators while the rest of the flock eats — that they do appear to share. It may not be on an exact tit-for-tat basis, but they do share that behavior, because one bird is not always going to be the sentinel. The idea is that it may be my turn now, but it’s going to be your turn eventually.” <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8LepYR8v9A” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/w8LepYR8v9A/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a>last_img read more

Shooting shift carries Wisconsin over Indiana, 69-58

first_imgWisconsin is a scary team when it shoots well. The Badgers are also a scary team when they shoot poorly. It’s just a different type of scary, one the Badgers can’t prefer.That polarization was on full force at the Kohl Center, defining the two halves of basketball between Wisconsin and Indiana Tuesday night. It wound up being strong enough in the Badgers’ favor during the second half to lead Wisconsin in its 69-58 victory over the Hoosiers.In doing so, it was another rendition displaying just how the Badgers (23-5, 10-5) win games at this point in the season. For Wisconsin, with an improved defense from the doldrums that garnered five losses in six games, winning games in February seems to depend almost directly on the Badgers’ shooting tendencies.Although it ended well for UW, it didn’t begin pretty. That ugly pole of horror was on display for the first 20 minutes as Wisconsin netted just 19 points — trailing Indiana’s 29 — on seven buckets for a first half rate of just 25.9 percent.The frustration could have prompted a furious Bo Ryan in the locker room, with his team down 10 to the unranked, struggling Hoosiers (15-12, 5-9).“The halftime talk had nothing to do with threats, violence, none of that,” Ryan said. “It was, ‘We know what we can do, we’ve just gotta do it.’”They did, and then some.With their most prevalent three-point shooter Ben Brust continuing to struggle in the first half, it was almost too perfect that his spark lit the fire under the lifeless Badgers.After missing all four attempts from beyond the arc in the first half, a trend of Brust bricks had swelled. Wisconsin’s sniper had made just one of his last 17 tries from distance over his last five halves of basketball.But then he made one.“I knew it was only a matter of time,” Brust said. “I knew it was going to start, so I was just like, ‘Can it just start now?’”Just 45 seconds after he hit the first one, Brust squared away and connected on another. Thoughts of that scoreless first half were far from the Kohl Center.No more than two-and-a-half minutes passed by before Brust hit his third triple of the second half. This one put Wisconsin up 41-38, a lead it would never surrender, largely because its shooting took off even stronger.“It was definitely good to get a couple to go down,” Brust said. “I think it ignited this team and just trickled down to everyone else … It just kind of got us going and opened things up.”Following Brust’s triad of triples, Wisconsin made six of its next nine shots, extending its lead to its highest point at 58-43, and just about everyone got involved.Sam Dekker and Bronson Koenig found a few layups before Josh Gasser and Traevon Jackson found three pointers. In sum, Wisconsin shot nearly 62 percent in the second half — going 13-for-21 from the field. After just a 1-for-10 performance from beyond the arc in the putrid first half, the Badgers made six of 11 threes in the final 20 minutes.When a team is clicking like the Badgers were in that second half, pressure was sure to increase for the visiting Hoosiers. An array of Badgers’ buckets can seemingly tighten the rim on the opposite end of the floor as Indiana tried to keep pace.Then as they rushed to get stops on the defensive end, Wisconsin’s end of the floor seemed a little more wide open each time. Their shooting percentage justly followed suit.“A lot of times you’re getting ready for one or two guys to be very good passers. Their whole team is,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “The bottom line is: They got some good looks because we were in rotation a little bit.“They got hot. The basket started looking pretty big for them.”Coupled with a defense that didn’t allow a single 30-point half — which they did twice when in losing fashion during the January game in Bloomington, Ind. — Wisconsin’s hot shooting now seems good enough to take them wherever they please.“When the ball goes through the hoop, it makes a lot of things easier,” Dekker said. “People think it’s some crazy magic that happened, but no. We made shots and made some plays … we just ran our plays and it worked.”last_img read more

NBA free agency rumors: JR Smith, Bucks meet

first_imgIt appears the Bucks are looking to add some outside shooting.They are meeting Thursday with former Cavaliers guard JR Smith, according to The Athletic, which cited unidentified league sources. Raptors’ Kyle Lowry had procedure to repair tendon injury in thumb, report says JR Smith will have a free-agent meeting with the Bucks today in Milwaukee, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Bucks are searching for a wing shooter and both sides will have opportunity to sit down.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 18, 2019Smith, 33, was waived by Cleveland earlier this week after spending almost five seasons with the team. He appeared in only 11 games in 2018-19 after agreeing to leave the team in November to await a trade or his release.Milwaukee could have plenty of use for Smith if the two sides can reach an agreement though. Hall of Fame NBA coach Jerry Sloan’s health reportedly in steep decline: ‘He is dying’center_img Related News The Bucks retained 3-and-D wing Khris Middleton by giving him a five-year, $178 million deal this offseason. But they also sent a 50-40-90 shooter in Malcolm Brogdon to the Pacers in a sign-and-trade. Only the Rockets attempted more 3-pointers per game than the Bucks last season, so a 37.3% career 3-point shooter like Smith could help fill the void left by Brogdon’s departure.The Bucks had a league-best 60-22 record and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals before being eliminated by the Raptors in six games. But star Toronto forward Kawhi Leonard is out of the picture now, as he joined the Clippers in the Western Conference in July.Milwaukee has the reigning MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo and the 2019 Coach of the Year in Mike Budenholzer — who transformed the organization’s offense in his first season leading the team. Role-players like Smith and Wesley Matthews could help the Bucks get over the hump and return to the Finals for the first time since 1974.last_img read more