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Stimulus Control

Space & Time

Classical Conditioning

Operant Conditioning

Complex Behavior

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Important Scientists in the
Early Development of Comparative Cognition

Darwin  Romanes  Morgan  Thorndike  Pavlov  Kohler  Lorenz   Skinner

Charles Darwin

Proposes the theory of evolution and suggests the possible continuity of cognitive processes among different species

Charles Darwin's views on the issue of Mental Continuity

Darwin - Science Hero

The Tree of Life Project

Darwin Online

ROMANES.gif (23558 bytes)George Romanes

Using an anecdotal method, the first to investigate systematically the comparative psychology of intelligence

Explaining his methodology

Explaining his psychological criteria of mind

An example anecdote from Romanes' work

Edward Thorndike's criticisms of Romanes' anecdotal methodology

C. Lloyd Morgan 

Morgan's Canon - (to be repeated often by all engaged in the enterprise)

"For in the study of animal psychology as a branch of scientific inquiry, it is necessary that accurate observation, and a sound knowledge of of the biological relationships of animals, should go hand in hand with a thorough appreciation of the methods and results of modern psychology. The only fruitful method of procedure is the interpretation of facts observed with due care in the light of sound psychological principles. What some of these principles are we have considered, or shall consider in this work. There is one basal principle, however, the brief exposition of which may fitly bring to a close this chapter. It may be stated: --

In no case may we interpret an action as the outcome of the exercise of a higher psychical faculty, if it can be interpreted as the outcome of the exercise of one which stands lower in the psychological scale."

On seeing the process leading to an "intelligent" behavior
           (Morgan's reaction to Romanes' anecdotal strategy)

Ivan PavlovIvan Pavlov

Discovered the conditioned response, extinction, and generalization

A brief primer on classical conditioning

Winner of the 1904 Nobel Prize


wpe3.jpg (3156 bytes)Edward Thorndike

First experimental and theoretical analyses of animal learning and intelligence

Comments on the value of experimental analysis


Wolfgang KohlerWolfgang Kohler

Developed first cognitive analysis of learning and intelligence in animals

Research on the Mentality of Apes

Kohler's objections to Thorndike's approach to animal intelligence

Konrad Lorenz

Played a key role in the development of the ethological approach to animal behavior

Winner of the 1973 Nobel Prize

See video of a fixed action pattern in geese  
                  (an APPLE QUICKTIME PLUG-IN is needed)

B.F. Skinner

Originated important ideas about behaviorism and operant conditioning

Brief history of operant conditioning