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Rational Animals?$
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Susan Hurley and Matthew Nudds

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198528272

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198528272.001.0001

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Transitive inference in animals: Reasoning or conditioned associations?

Transitive inference in animals: Reasoning or conditioned associations?

(p.175) Chapter 7 Transitive inference in animals: Reasoning or conditioned associations?
Rational Animals?

Colin Allen

Oxford University Press

This chapter compares cognitive and associative accounts of behaviour by animals on transitive inference tasks. It explains that transitive relationships are often important to animals and that transitive inference would permit an animal to behave in a way appropriate to the dominance relation between other animals even if their relationship has not been directly ascertained. It illustrates a more general methodological dispute between ethological and experimental approaches to animal cognition.

Keywords:   animal behaviour, cognitive behaviour, associative behaviour, transitive inference, animal cognition

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