Spatial PatternsBehavioral Control and Cognitive Representation

Michael F. Brown

in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Cognition

Second edition

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780195392661
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Spatial PatternsBehavioral Control and Cognitive Representation

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience



Objects, events, and places in the world are related to each other in systematic ways. As a result, mechanisms and processes in the nervous system have evolved that allow these relationships to be detected and used in adaptive ways. In this context, the study of learning can be understood as the study of the mechanisms that allow systematicity in the world to affect behavior. This chapter is concerned with systematic spatial relationships among the elements of a set of locations containing hidden goals. It suggests a system for the formation of representations of systematic spatial relations among hidden goals that would be of value when hidden resources have some systematic spatial distribution. The system may, however, be one expression of more general pattern-recognition mechanisms that detect patterns over a variety of dimensions, including serial and temporal patterns. Regardless of its relationship to other forms of pattern learning, spatial pattern learning appears to be somewhat isolated from the spatial learning processes that rely on visual or other sensory cues to specify the location of goals.

Keywords: spatial learning; spatial performance; hidden goals; spatial pattern learning

Article.  9810 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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