Animal Cognition in Nature: The Convergence of Psychology and Biology in Laboratory and Field / Edition 1

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Overview

In the past the fear of anthropomorphizing and the separation of disciplines in animal behavior seem to have prevented research workers from recognising clear signs of highly developed cognitive abilities in animals, abilities that may be easily understood as an evolutionary response to selection pressures.
The idea that animals behave in ways that are simply a robotic response to environmental stimuli or just the result of learning under a particular set of conditioning programs, cannot now be sustained in an age of optimality theories in behavioral ecology. Field studies regularly record complex behaviors where animals integrate the results of past experience with current situations and the survival and reproductive challenges of the moment. For example, food storage behavior requires the integration of remembered maps of the environment, the whereabouts of new and stored food sources and the current needs of nutrition and survival.
In this book, the editors bring together results from studies on all kinds of animals to show how thinking on many behaviors as truly cognitive processes can help us to understand the biology involved. Taking ideas and observations from the whole range of research into animal behavior leads to unexpected and stimulating ideas. A space is created where the work of field ecologists, evolutionary ecologists and experimental psychologists can interact and contribute to a greater understanding of complex animal behaviour, and to the development of a new and coherent field of study.
The editors share many years of experience in laboratory and field. Balda has spent over 20 years looking at the social ecology of the Pinyon Jay, with particular emphasis on food caching behavior, and has collaborated with Kamil in laboratory experiments to test hypotheses generated in the wild. Kamil's laboratory techniques have been instrumental in leading the effort to tie cognition into behavioral ecology through his laboratory experiments on search image and spatial memory in the Blue Jay. Pepperberg's work on cognition and vocal learning in parrots further demonstrates the previously underestimated cognitive power of birds and provides insights into social learning and vocal behavior.

Audience: Animal behavior research scientists, behavioral ecologists, neurobehaviorists, and psychologists.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"All the authors present their most contemporary data and discuss them in a cognitive framework, considering the advantages and disadvantages of such a framework. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in the interface between ecology, ethology and animal cognition."
--Juan Carlos Reboreda in IBIS (2000)
Booknews
Fifteen original chapters synthesize cognitive ethology ideas that were considered heretical in the 1960s, when mental representation, memory, attention, and other cognitive abilities in animals were shunned by most ethologists and psychologists conditioned to stimulus- response models. International contributors reflect a paradigm shift in viewing cognition as an evolutionary trait evident in avian navigation, food-storing, and socially-mediated song; spatial cognition in foraging insects; species-specific vocal learning in parrots; and behaviors of cannibalistic jumping spiders. W. John Smith (biology, U. of Pennsylvania) discusses the implications of an information-sharing model of animal communication. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780120770304
  • Publisher: Elsevier Science
  • Publication date: 9/9/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 465
  • Product dimensions: 1.13 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Table of Contents

A.C. Kamil, On the Proper Definition of Cognitive Ethology.
R.P. Balda and A.C. Kamil, Ecology and Evolution of Spatial Memory in Corvids of the Southwestern U.S.: The Perplexing Pinyon Jay.
S.J. Shettleworth and R.R. Hampton, Adaptive Specialization of Spatial Cognition in Food Storing Birds?
Approaches to Testing a Comparative Hypothesis.
N.C. Clayton and D.W. Lee, Memory and the Hippocampus in Food-Storing Birds.
F.C. Dyer, Spatial Cognition: Lesson from Central-Place Foraging Insects.
W. Wiltschko and R. Wiltschko, The Navigation System in Birds and Its Development.
V.P. Bingman, L.V. Riters, R. Strasser, and A. Gagliardo, Neuroethology of Avian Navigation.
W.J. Smith, Cognitive Implication of an Information-Sharing Model of Animal Communication.
L.F. Baptista, D.A. Nelson, and S.L.L. Gaunt, Cognitive Processes in Avian Vocal Acquisition.
D. Todt and H. Hultsch, Hierarchical Learning, Development, and Representation of Song.
D.E. Kroodsma and B.E. Byers, Songbird Song Repertoires: An Ethological Approach to Studying.
T.J. De Voogd and T. Székely, Causes of Avian Song: Using Neurobiology to Integrate Proximate and Ultimate Levels of Analysis.
I.M. Pepperberg, The African Grey Parrot: How Cognitive Processing Might Affect Allospecific Vocal Learning.
R.S. Wilcox and R.R. Jackson, Cognitive Abilities of Araneophagic Jumping Spiders.
C.G. Beer, Varying Views of Animal and Human Cognition.
Subject Index.
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