Concept learning in nonprimate mammals: In search of evidence

Stephen E. G. Lea

in The Making of Human Concepts

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199549221
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191724152 | DOI:
Concept learning in nonprimate mammals: In search of evidence

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This chapter reviews evidence for conceptual learning in nonprimate mammals. It shows that there can be no reasonable doubt that highly complex stimuli in the visual, olfactory, and auditory domains can all be reliably discriminated by mammals from a range of groups. The evidence that such discrimination is at the conceptual level (i.e. that discriminably different stimuli are all assigned the same response), rather than involving a simple trigger feature or labelled line, is less conclusive: in some cases it is simply absent; in others it is indirect or inferential. However, in at least some cases, variation in the stimuli has been demonstrated directly, and the data give no reason to doubt that category discrimination is fully possible in these groups.

Keywords: conceptual learning; nonprimate mammals; discrimination

Chapter.  14475 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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