STUDY ON PARROT REMOTE INTERACTION

PARTICIPANTS NEEDED

Do you have a parrot at home that could benefit from socializing remotely with other parrots?

ABOUT THE STUDY – REGISTRATION

We are a team of parrot and animal-computer interaction experts and researchers at Glasgow University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Parrot Kindergarten, an online school for parrot caregivers dedicated to parrot communication. We are exploring the potential of using technology to allow parrots to interact with each other remotely.

For the current at-home study, we are looking for participants who:

 

    • Have a parrot that is at least one year old
    • Live in the continental United States or Canada
    • Be 18 years old or older
    • Have access to a training setup (play stand, cage area, etc.) that allows my bird to move closer and farther away from the tablet screen with three feet of horizontal space so they can exit and approach as they feel comfortable
    • Have a touchscreen (tablet or cell phone) on a stand/tripod/hanging attachment that can be safely and securely near the bird (this device will be called “bird device”)
    • Have a secondary cell phone with a camera or an external camera that can be set up to record the sessions (this device will be called a “recording device”)
    • Be willing to spend up to 15 min per day, four days a week, for up to six weeks, training and facilitating the intervention for your bird (between June 17 and July 31)
    • Have Facebook messenger installed on the bird device and be able to create a “child” profile for your bird

 

If you are interested in being considered for the study, please fill in this form

 

If you have any questions, please contact parrotstudy@media.mit.edu

FAQ

How do I register for the study?

Thank you for your interest. You can click here to register.

Can I particulate if I am not in the continental US or Canada?

Unfortunately the study is limited at this time to only the continental United States and Canada due to time zones.

How are participant groups selected?

Participants will be selected based on species-matches with other parrots within the same time-zone to promote ease in facilitating interactive calls. We will not select everyone who is interested, if we do not find a pairing. 

Do I need to schedule the training for a particular time of day every single time?

Flexible schedules are just fine. Participants will communicate with one another to set up video play dates with the birds.

Can I stay anonymous? What are the privacy considerations?

Your public Facebook name and public profile will be visible to the others in your bird’s interaction group. The researchers will ask you to submit to use video recordings of your sessions. These videos will only be analyised by us as researchers, used to provide information about the interactive systems. Please be aware that videos may include you if you are in the video. If the videos include content that triggers mandatory reporting obligations, please be advised that the researchers will have a duty to act in accordance with legal requirements.

How will the data be used?

The researchers will watch in the videos the behavior of the birds as they interact with one another. They will also collect information about how often the birds ask to call one another, and the duration of the calls.

How familiar does my bird need to be with tablets/cell-phones?

To ensure the comfort of the participants, ideal candidates will be very comfortable touching cell phone or tablet screen devices. No prior formal training is required, however.

What supplies and materials do I need? Do I supply them myself?

In addition to a video-meeting device (either your cell phone or tablet), you will be using:

    • Facebook messenger for kids
    • A toy bell for birds
    • Your bird’s favorite food treats
    • A secondary cell phone or tablet for video recording the sessions
    • Access to internet for uploading videos of your interactive calls

The interactive sessions will be located on a cage, play stand, or other area with a minimum of 3 feet that allows the bird to move freely within the area, to approach the screen, or to move away. 

I’m not on Facebook, can I still participate?

Unfortunately, no. Participant birds will be interacting via Facebook messenger.

What training skills will be used in the study?

Your bird will learn to ring a bell, then select a friend on a tablet/cell phone. From learning this behaviour you will be able to facilitate a call for them. “Touch” or “Target” training with positive reinforcement will be the primary training skill utilized.

How long will the study last?

The study is estimated to begin June 15 and last until July 31.

Can my bird continue to call their friend after the study concludes?

The study will be for a limited time only. After it concludes, you are welcome to continue virtual interaction with other birds and continue afterward too. (Any further interactions will be independent and outside the scope of the study.)

Will I be compensated for this study?

No, there will be no monetary compensation for the study. Our hope is that your bird will have enrichment and fun interacting with others of their species!