Time and Number
Time and Number
Learning, Psychophysics, Stimulus Control, and Retention
The resurgence of interest in animal cognition was accompanied by the use of increasingly complex stimulus arrangements such as temporal events and numerosities. The renewed emphasis on cognitive constructs and theories in animal learning resulted from a dynamic interplay of a set of variables, including the “paradigm shift” in the study of human learning and memory that preceded changes in the approaches to learning in nonhumans by 20 years or more. This chapter reviews research and theory on the ability of nonhuman animals to learn, remember, and discriminate between events that differ in duration and between those that differ in number — in each case, events with temporal extension. This property of time-based and number-based discriminations raises interesting questions for research and theories of the underlying mechanisms, such as the role of memory and the weighting of events early in the sequence versus those that occur later. The chapter begins with a brief history of attempts to understand how nonhuman animals discriminate temporal intervals and moves to a brief presentation of how animals discriminate numerosities.
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