Animal Minds Parrot Alex Reading Answers - IELTS Reading Practice

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Study the extraordinary cognitive abilities of Alex, the African Grey parrot, in this IELTS Reading Practice. Read the blog to get details about the IELTS reading practice test including question types and the correct approach to solve them.

animal-minds-parrot-alex-reading-answers.webpThe International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a famous language proficiency test designed to evaluate the English skills of non-native English speakers. The test is divided into 4 sections, namely Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.
This blog highlights one of the popular reading comprehensions, ‘Animal Minds Parrot Alex’, to help students solve all the questions with the correct approach. Read the blog to get the latest tips and tricks to overcome the difficulties faced by many students in the reading section.

Strategies for Solving the "Animal Minds Parrot Alex"

The reading section is one of the complicated sections. Follow these Tips and tricks to get high score in IELTS reading section:

• To solve the short answer questions, test takers must gain clarity about the type of questions first and also make sure to not cross the word limit of the answers.
• To manage time effectively during the IELTS reading section, it is essential to become familiar with its format.
• Quickly finding relevant information in reading passages can be achieved by practicing skimming and scanning techniques.
• Building confidence and efficiency in answering questions under exam conditions can be achieved by regular practice of different IELTS tests.

Animal Minds Parrot Alex Reading Answers

Review the answers provided below for the Animal Minds Parrot Alex Reading. Check your responses and make any necessary corrections to get a 9 in IELTS reading module. The reading consists of variations in the questions, each requiring different methods to solve.

Three different question types are given below. 
• IELTS Reading True/False/Not given
• IELTS Reading Sentence Completion
• IELTS Reading Short answer questions

IELTS reading passage - Animal Minds Parrot Alex

It is recommended to allocate approximately 20 minutes to complete Questions 1-13 based on the Reading Passage provided below. Once the candidate has attempted all the questions, evaluate responses using the Animal Minds Parrot Alex Reading Answers.

IELTS reading passage - Animal Minds Parrot Alex

• In 1977, Irene Pepperberg, a recent graduate of Harvard University, embarked on a daring mission. She aimed to understand the thoughts of another living being by engaging in conversation with it at a time when animals were still considered to be mere machines. To achieve this, she brought a one-year-old African gray parrot named Alex into her laboratory and taught him the sounds of the English language. Her goal was to learn about his perspective by enabling him to communicate.

• Many experts believed that animals were not capable of thinking until Pepperberg had a conversation with Alex, who passed away at the age of 31 in September. They were viewed as machines or robots that could only respond to stimuli, incapable of emotion or thought. This view, however, is not shared by pet owners who see love and emotions in their pets' eyes and know that they have thoughts and feelings. Nonetheless, this claim is still being hotly debated. It is not enough to explain an animal's behavior as instinctual, as it would be too simplistic to attribute human thoughts and emotions to another creature. Thus, the question remains: How does one prove that an animal can think, acquire information about the world, and act upon it? Pepperberg's studies with Alex began as an attempt to answer this question. They worked together in a small, windowless lab at Brandeis University, where toys and newspapers were scattered around. As a result of their collaboration, the notion that animals can think is no longer considered outlandish.

• Significant indicators of higher mental abilities include a strong memory, an understanding of syntax and symbols, self-awareness, the capacity to comprehend others' motivations, the ability to imitate others, and creativity. Through ingenious experiments, researchers have demonstrated that similar talents exist in other species, which challenges the notion that humans are unique and provides insight into the origins of our abilities. For instance, scrub jays can recognise faces, chimps use various tools to probe termite mounds and even hunt small mammals with weapons, dolphins can imitate human postures, the archerfish can learn how to aim its squirt by observing a more experienced fish perform the task, and Alex, the parrot, was surprisingly intelligent.

• Pepperberg and various assistants continued to provide English lessons to Alex for thirty years from when he first started taking them. Alex's companions met the parrots' social needs, including two younger parrots. Like any other flock, this small group had its share of drama, with Alex often being dominant over the other parrots, displaying irritability around Pepperberg, and showing tolerance towards the other female humans while breaking down over a male helper visitor. The pet store employee in Chicago chose Alex, who was later purchased by Pepperberg, who didn't want other scientists to think she had deliberately selected an intelligent bird for her research. Despite having a brain the size of a walnut, most researchers believed that Pepperberg's study on interspecies communication with Alex could have been more worthwhile.

• "Despite being thought of as crazy for attempting it, she shared that chimpanzees were considered remarkable subjects despite their inability to communicate. Scientists have successfully trained chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas to communicate with humans through sign language and symbols with remarkable outcomes. An example of this is the bonobo Kanzi, who has his symbol-communication board with him at all times to communicate with his human researchers, and he has created sign combinations to express his thoughts. However, there is a difference between an animal looking at you, opening its mouth, and speaking compared to using sign language. Alex was able to learn how to use his vocal tract to mimic almost 100 English words, which included the sounds for various foods, even though he referred to an apple as a "beanery." Pepperberg noted that for Alex, apples tasted slightly like bananas and looked like cherries, so he coined the term "cherries

• It seemed ridiculous that a bird would actively participate in practice sessions. However, after observing Alex's behavior and listening to him, it was hard to argue with Pepperberg's explanation. She did not reward him for his repetitive efforts or touch his claws to make him produce sounds. Pepperberg noted that Alex needed to hear the words repeatedly before he could replicate them accurately. She clarified that she was not assessing Alex's ability to learn a human language, as it was irrelevant. Her goal was always to use his imitative skills to understand Avan's cognition better.

• Pepperberg asked Alex about a bird's understanding of the universe because he could approximate the sounds of specific English phrases. However, she could not ask about his thoughts, but she could ask about his knowledge of numbers, forms, and colors. To demonstrate, Pepperberg lifted Alex onto a tall wooden perch in the middle of the room and showed him a green key and a little green cup from a basket on a shelf. She asked Alex, "What's identical?" Without hesitation, Alex responded, "Colour." Pepperberg then asked, "What's different?" Alex replied, "Form." Although Alex's voice sounded like a computer-generated cartoon character, his words and thoughts were alone. Because parrots do not have lips, it appeared as though a ventriloquist was speaking the words, making it challenging for Alex to pronounce sounds like "ba."

• For the next twenty minutes, Alex went through his tests, identifying the different characteristics of objects, such as colors, shapes, sizes, and materials (including wool, wood, and metal). He also performed some basic math, such as counting the number of yellow blocks in a pile of blocks of various colors. Alex then spoke as if to prove that his bird had a mind within its brain. When one of the younger birds that Pepperberg was also teaching mispronounced a word, Alex commanded them to speak clearly and audibly. Pepperberg shook her head and said, "Don't be such a smart aleck!" She explained that Alex knows everything, but he gets bored and interrupts others or purposely gives the wrong answer to be stubborn. At this stage, he has the temperament of a teenager, and Pepperberg never knows what he will do next.

Reading Questions of Animal Parrot Alex

Please rewrite each sentence in the given text while retaining its original meaning. Practice this test to achieve 8 bands in IELTS reading section.

For questions 1-6 on your answer sheet write

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

• Firstly, Alex has grasped quite a lot of vocabulary.
• At the beginning of the study, Alex felt frightened in the presence of humans.
• Previously, many scientists realized that animals possess the ability to think.
• It has taken a long time before people knew cognition existed in animals.
• As Alex could approximately imitate the sounds of English words, he could roughly answer Irene's questions regarding the world.
• By breaking in other parrots as well as producing incorrect answers, he tried to be focused

Questions 7 – 10

Complete the following summary of the paragraphs of Reading Passage.

Using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the Reading Passage for each answer.

Write your answers for the questions 7-10 on your answer sheet.

After the training of Irene, Parrot Alex can use his vocal tract to pronounce more than 7……………………., Some scientists believe that animals lack the capacity for such advanced thinking. They would rather teach 8………………………. Pepperberg clarified that she wanted to conduct a study concerning 9……………………… but not to teach him to talk. The store's assistant picked out a bird at random for her for the sake of avoiding other scientists saying that the bird is 10……………………. later on.

Questions 11 - 13

Answer the questions 11-13 below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.

11. What did Alex reply regarding the similarity of the subjects shown to him?
12. What is the problem of the young parrots except for Alex?
13. What can be given a specific label based on his behavior?

Animal Minds Parrot Alex Reading Answers with Explanation

Not givenExplanation: Alex, the parrot, may have learned a significant amount of vocabulary as it cannot be located. It is uncertain if the number of words he learned reaches the threshold to be considered "significant", though. Nonetheless, according to the information given in the passage, he had grasped a more significant amount of words than the other two parrots.
Not givenExplanation: Alex and his trainer, Pepperberg, were described as a team that worked well together. Alex appeared comfortable around human females, but his feelings towards male assistants were unclear. The text does not state whether Alex was afraid of humans, so the answer is "Not Given".
FalseExplanation: Scientists used to believe that animals could not think or feel, mainly due to a lack of research at the time. However, Pepperberg's study on Alex, which explored how he viewed the world, challenged this belief. The second line of paragraph A and paragraph B's first and second lines make this point clear.
TrueExplanation: Until 1977, it was commonly believed that animals could not think or feel. This belief was based on the first and second lines of paragraph A, the first line of paragraph D, and the seventh line of paragraph F. It took a long time for people to realize that animals are capable of cognition. This was proven by the fact that Pepperberg and his assistants continued to give him English lessons even after thirty years since the study began. It is important to note that the text shows that recognizing the presence of cognition in animals was not an immediate process.
TrueExplanation: When questioning Alex, G Pepperberg asked him about numbers, shapes, and colors to understand his thoughts about his surroundings. Alex was able to pronounce some English words, making this method helpful. The information is presented clearly and concisely, with the most essential details shared first. The language is simple and familiar, making it easy for the reader to understand. The text retains its original meaning without any additions or omissions.
FalseExplanation: In paragraph H's 6th and 7th lines, it is mentioned that Alex once told the younger birds that Pepperberg was teaching them to "talk clearly!" However, Alex would interrupt the less experienced birds out of boredom rather than to increase his focus. Pepperberg compared his behavior to a moody teenager, never knowing what he might do next.
100 English WordsExplanation: In 1st line paragraph G, Pepperberg successfully questioned Alex about numbers, shapes, and colors to figure out his thoughts regarding the environment around him. This was helpful as he could pronounce a few of the English words.
ChimpanzeesExplanation : Scientists believed chimpanzees would be better suited to provide the results they expected in paragraph E's second and third lines. This is because chimpanzees can be taught to communicate using sign language. However, it should be noted that chimpanzees lack the ability to speak.
Avian cognitionExplanation: Pepperberg's objective for the fifth and sixth lines present in paragraph F was not to educate Alex on the English language. Instead, she aimed to collect data on the birds' perception of the world and how they experience it.
Particularly chosenExplanation: Pepperberg purchased Alex from a pet store in Chicago, and in doing so, she allowed the store's assistant to select any of the parrots from a group of unrest, as stated in the fifth line of paragraph D. This was done to prevent any potential criticism from other scientists regarding her choice of an intelligent bird.
ColourExplanation: Alex could distinguish between colors, numbers, and shapes, as stated in the seventh line of paragraph G. Despite his inability to articulate his thoughts, Alex utilized the factors above to support his perception of the world. He could differentiate between the shapes of the objects presented to him and recognize the similarity in their colors.
Wrong pronunciationExplanation: The issue faced by the young parrots, except for Alex, in the fourth line of paragraph H was that they frequently mispronounced a specific word. Pepperberg claimed Alex was more knowledgeable than the other immature birds and would interject when bored.
TeenagerExplanation: It is mentioned in the 6th and 7th lines of paragraph H that Alex, when bored, did not hesitate to interrupt the younger birds as he knew it all before them. He would sometimes give the wrong answer to act obstinate. Pepperberg refers to him as a moody teenager; she was never sure of his intentions that would follow at any given time.


This reading practice will be very supportive for students who are struggling to get better scores in the IELTS test and students who are curious to know everything about IELTS in India. The reason might be a lack of skimming, logic and reasoning skills. This practice test will help candidates improve skills such as an eye for detail, skimming, logic and reasoning.

To enhance band scores, students can connect with the expert language trainers of Canamprep and learn the best tricks to get the desired band.


The reading test lasts for an hour and immediately comes after the listening test. There is no additional time given for transferring answers to the answer sheet.
There are three reading passages for the academic paper and three sections for the general training. Each section may have one or two texts.
The reading test consists of a total of 40 questions.
Applicants are required to use a pencil for reading and listening tests. For writing, either a pen or pencil can be used. So don’t forget to take an eraser.
Yes, it is. If the answer is spelt incorrectly, it will be marked wrong. So, pay attention to your spelling of long academic words.

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