Theories of Animal Memory

Theories of Animal Memory

Theories of Animal Memory

Theories of Animal Memory

Excerpt

This volume was conceived during the summer of 1980. Mark and I had returned from The Third Harvard Symposium on Quantitative Analysis of Behavior: Acquisition, and from Spear and Miller's Binghamton, NY, Conference on Information Processing in Animals: Memory Mechanisms. Our summer discussions of what we learned at Harvard and SUNY often involved Ray Denny, who for several years had been concerned with the transition of animal learning from a strict stimulus-response (S-R) approach to a more cognitive approach. This volume was conceived from these discussions.

We noted that nearly everyone's research was guided by some perspective or theoretical framework based partly on a combination of research results and individual opinions about what animals can do. This volume was thus conceived as a collection of chapters in which animal memory researchers could publicly state their opinions about animal memory, with little concern for substantiating them with test data. This volume would provide an opportunity for researchers to reveal their private thoughts on animal memory. However, when one's private notions are examined carefully, as happens in the transfer from thought to paper, they are altered, constrained, viewed more clearly, and ultimately become theoretical formulations. Thus, what began as an attempt to publish the private perspectives that guide the research of a dozen investigators is now the theoretical formulations of nine animal-memory researchers. We do hope that these chapters will have a guiding influence on the re-emerging field of comparative cognition, and that our readers will be stimulated to examine their own perspectives and guiding influences.

This volume is organized in three main sections of three chapters each. The first section, The Grand Approach, is a collection of chapters with a meta-

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