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Comparative CognitionExperimental Explorations of Animal Intelligence$
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Wasserman and Thomas R Zentall

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377804

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377804.001.0001

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The Simultaneous Chain

The Simultaneous Chain

A New Look at Serially Organized Behavior

(p.481) 25 The Simultaneous Chain
Comparative Cognition

Herbert Terrace

Oxford University Press

Serial learning is one of the oldest and most widely studied phenomena of experimental psychology. Lashley argued that chaining theory could not account for knowledge of relationships between non-adjacent items in serially organized behavior. Hierarchical organization, a level of complexity that cannot be derived from chaining theory, is central to the concept of chunking and contemporary theories of language. Because Lashley did not use examples of animal behavior in his critique of chaining theory, its implication for animal cognition is less clear than it is for human cognition. Recent advances in our understanding of serially organized behavior in animals have confirmed that Lashley's critique of chaining theory applies with the same force to sequence learning by animals as it does to sequence learning by humans. Maze learning is the classic example of sequential learning by animals. This chapter discusses simultaneous chains and compares them with cognitive maps. It presents results of experiments that studied serially organized behavior in pigeons and monkeys.

Keywords:   serial learning, simultaneous chains, cognitive maps, pigeons, monkeys, animal cognition, chaining theory, hierarchical organization, animal behavior

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