Animal Learning and Cognition : An Introduction book cover
3rd Edition

Animal Learning and Cognition
An Introduction

ISBN 9781841696560
Published February 29, 2008 by Psychology Press
432 Pages

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Book Description

Animal Learning and Cognition: An Introduction provides an up-to-date review of the principal findings from more than a century of research into animal intelligence. This new edition has been expanded to take account of the many exciting developments that have occurred over the last ten years.

The book opens with a historical survey of the methods that have been used to study animal intelligence, and follows by summarizing the contribution made by learning processes to intelligent behavior. Topics include Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning, discrimination learning, and categorization. The remainder of the book focuses on animal cognition and covers such topics as memory, navigation, social learning, language and communication, and knowledge representation. Expanded areas include extinction (to which an entire chapter is now devoted), navigation in insects, episodic memory in birds, imitation in birds and primates, and the debate about whether primates are aware of mental states in themselves and others. Issues raised throughout the book are reviewed in a concluding chapter that examines how intelligence is distributed throughout the animal kingdom.

The broad spectrum of topics covered in this book ensures that it will be of interest to students of psychology, biology, zoology, and neuroscience. Since very little background knowledge is required, the book will be of equal value to anyone simply interested in either animal intelligence, or the animal origins of human intelligence.

This textbook is accompanied by online instructor resources which are free of charge to departments who adopt this book as their text. They include chapter-by-chapter lecture slides, an interactive chapter-by-chapter multiple-choice question test bank, and multiple-choice questions in paper and pen format.

Table of Contents

Preface. 1. The Study of Animal Intelligence. The Distribution of Intelligence. Defining Animal Intelligence. Why Study Animal Intelligence? Methods for Studying Animal Intelligence. Historical Background. 2. Associative Learning Conditioning Techniques. The Nature of Associative Learning. Stimulus–stimulus Learning. The Nature of us Representations. The Conditioned Response. Concluding Comment: The Reflexive Nature of the Conditioned Response. 3. The Conditions for Learning: Surprise and Attention. Part 1: Surprise and Conditioning. Conditioning with a Single CS. Conditioning with a Compound CS. Evaluation of the Rescorla–Wagner Model. Part 2: Attention and Conditioning Wagner’s Theory. Stimulus Significance. The Pearce–Hall Theory. Concluding Comments. 4. Instrumental Conditioning. The Nature of Instrumental Learning. The Conditions of Learning. The Performance of Instrumental Behavior. The Law of Effect and Problem Solving. 5. Extinction. Extinction as Generalization Decrement. The Conditions for Extinction. Associative Changes During Extinction. Are Trials Important for Pavlovian Extinction? 6. Discrimination Learning. Theories of Discrimination Learning. Connectionist Models of Discrimination Learning. Metacognition and Discrimination Learning. 7. Category Formation. Examples of Categorization. Theories of Categorization. Abstract Categories Relationships as Categories. The Representation of Knowledge. 8. Short-term Retention. Methods of Study. Forgetting. Theoretical Interpretation. Serial Position Effects. Metamemory. 9. Long-term Retention. Capacity. Durability. Theoretical Interpretation. Episodic Memory. 10. Time, Number, and Serial Order. Time. Number. Serial order. Transitive Inference. Concluding Comments. 11. Navigation. Part 1: Short-distance Travel. Methods of Navigation. Part 2: Long-distance Travel. Navigational Cues. Homing. Migration. Concluding Comments. 12. Social Learning. Diet Selection and Foraging. Choosing a Mate. Fear of Predators. Copying Behavior: Mimicry. Copying Behavior: Imitation. Theory of Mind. Self-recognition. Concluding Comments. 13. Animal Communication and Language. Animal Communication. Communication and Language. Can an Ape Create a Sentence? Language Training with Other Species. The Requirements for Learning a Language. 14. The Distribution of Intelligence. Intelligence and Brain Size. The Null Hypothesis. Intelligence and Evolution. References.

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John Pearce gained a B.Sc in Psychology from the University of Leeds, and a D. Phil in Experimental Psychology from the University of Sussex. After conducting research at the Universities of York and Cambridge he moved to a lectureship in the Department of Psychology at Cardiff University in 1980, where he is now Professor of Psychology. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2006.


"There are very few instances in which one of the world's leading researchers is willing to write a textbook in his area of expertise, and even fewer where the resulting text is beautifully clear and interesting. Pearce's text is of just this quality; any student fortunate enough to read it will be exposed to a lucid, entertaining, and stimulating introduction to what we know about animal learning and cognition." - Dr. David Lieberman, Department of Psychology, University of Stirling, UK

"This new edition of Pearce's text integrates a solid grounding in associative learning theory with an introduction to topics in animal cognition such as memory, spatial behavior, and social cognition. A particularly noteworthy feature is the way in which students are encouraged to think critically but open mindedly about the many intriguing new findings on animal tool using, imitation, theory of mind, and the like. As a basic text that covers the field of animal learning and cognition as it exists in the early 21st century, it has few, if any, competitors." - Professor Sara J. Shettleworth, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Canada

"The last decade has seen a major revolution in our understanding of animal intelligence, which is elegantly captured in John Pearce's new edition of Animal Cognition: An Introduction. Even better than the last two versions, this textbook provides a clear and comprehensive review of our current knowledge of animal learning and cognition, and in a style that is suitable for all undergraduate levels. I heartily recommend it." - Professor Nicky Clayton, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, UK

"Pearce has expanded and updated an excellent text that combines traditional learning theory with careful and critical coverage of the latest findings in comparative cognition, social learning, and communication. Students and professionals alike will be able to evaluate claims and plan experiments much more effectively after absorbing its wisdom." - Gordon M. Burghardt, University of Tennessee, USA