Animal Cognition: Proceedings of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Conference, June 2-4, 1982

By H. L. Roitblat; T. G. Bever et al. | Go to book overview
find patches of colored light a harder category to form than photographs of trees Herrnstein, 1979). That no man-made machine behaves this way suggests that existing machines differ in some basic way from living organisms, as far as categorization is concerned. The likeliest difference is in the perceptual dimensions themselves, which are hard to unearth and probably even harder to simulate with machines.5 The standard dimensions of physics, taken one at a time, do not begin to exhaust the dimensions entering into categorization by animals or humans.None of the issues arising from the question of categorization has been resolved. At this point, the task is simply to see what the issues are: when and how differential reinforcement shapes the features entering into a polymorphous rule; what the perceptual dimensions are and how they can be physically represented; what the physiological structures are, and how they might have evolved.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Grant No. IST-8100404, from NSF to Harvard University, supported the preparation of this paper and the now research reported in it. A shorter version was presented at the 1982 meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association. Comments by John Cerella. Herbert S. Terrace, and William Vaughn were most helpful and are much appreciated.
REFERENCES
Berlin B., & Kay P. Basic color terms: Their universality and evolution. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969.
Blough D. S. "The shape of some wavelength generalization gradients". Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 1961, 4, 31-40.
Blough D. S. "Pigeon perception of letters of the alphabet". Science, 1982. 218, 397-398.
Butler R. A., & Woolpy J. H. "Visual attention in the rhesus monkey". Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 1963, 56, 324-328.
Cabe P. A. "Discrimination of stereometric and planometric displays by pigeons". Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1976, 42, 1243-1250.
Cabe P. A. Picture perception in nonhuman subjects. In M. A. Hagen (Ed.), The perception of pictures. (Vol. 2.) New York: Academic Press, 1980.
Cabe P. A., & Healey M. L. "Figure-background color differences and transfer of discrimination from objects to line drawings with pigeons". Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 1979, 13, 124-126.
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5
A comparable gulf separates natural and machine locomotion. Birds inspired man-made flight, but airplanes with flapping wings are not the outcome. The most common machine mode of ground travel is wheels; few, it any, animals move on wheels. Underwater locomotion also evolved differently for animals and machines. Categorizing machines may be useful, just as locomoting machines are, but it is probably futile, if not misleading, to think of one as a model of the other.

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