Chapter

Learning: Mechanisms, Ecology, and Evolution

Edited by Reuven Dukas

in Cognitive Ecology II

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226169354
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226169378 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226169378.003.0002
Learning: Mechanisms, Ecology, and Evolution

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This chapter discusses the ecological and evolutionary significance of acquisition and retention. The mechanistic research on animal learning and memory is typically conducted under the necessary controlled laboratory conditions using a few animal species whose ecology and behavior in the wild are not well known. The author finds that the increased understanding of the neurogenetic mechanisms underlying learning and memory has led to the realization that there is great similarity in these mechanisms across all animals. Though learning is a key factor in the life history of most animals, it has not been well integrated into the life history literature, which has focused on physical traits such as growth, effort, and senescence. Also, recent work on mechanisms of speciation has made it clear that learning can play an important role in population divergence.

Keywords: acquisition; retention; learning; memory; ecology; behavior; speciation

Chapter.  7794 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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