- LAST REVIEWED: 09 June 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 29 November 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0073
- LAST REVIEWED: 09 June 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 29 November 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0073
Understanding why animals, including humans, behave as they do requires an appreciation for learning. Much of the history of animal learning has come from controlled laboratory experiments, coupled with careful field studies of natural behavior. Indeed, there are many approaches to understanding animal behavior, with equally many terms used to describe the endeavor: animal learning, animal cognition, comparative cognition, comparative ethology, and cognitive ethology, to name just a few. However, all these approaches have a foundation built on the principles of learning. Traditionally, psychological approaches to understanding animal learning have been of a general processes nature. This can be seen with the classic Pavlovian, or classical, conditioning experiments of ringing bells and salivating dogs, paradigms known to a broad audience. These principles have been advanced and refined over the years. The field of animal learning has continued to grow and influence other areas of research. The first section of this bibliography provides general Textbooks that cover the topic of animal learning (and cognition), as well as a few specialized textbooks that discuss more-complex forms of cognition. Next, a selection of peer-reviewed Journals that publish in the area of animal learning, cognition, and behavior are presented, with a brief statement of interest. Finally, the remainder provides an introduction to a few central topics of animal learning and ends with a couple of examples of how the foundational understanding of the principles of learning has been applied to the study of specific topics.
The textbooks on animal learning represent an important source for obtaining an overview of topics central to animal learning as well as more-specialized areas of research. Over the years, Domjan has provided an excellent textbook, aimed at undergraduate students, that offers a general overview of topics central to animal learning; now in its sixth edition, it has proven an excellent resource (Domjan 2010). Bouton 2007 is also a textbook directed at an undergraduate and graduate audience. This textbook focuses on the principles of learning, showing how theory and research guide our understanding of these principles. Pearce 2008 gives an introduction to the principles of learning and goes on to examine specific topics of animal cognition—for instance, navigation, imitation, and episodic memory. Papini 2008 is a textbook directed at an undergraduate or graduate audience that takes a different approach from many of the previously discussed textbooks. This textbook integrates important issues in biology and psychology, providing an excellent interdisciplinary resource. Shettleworth 2010 (as well as the previous, 1998 edition) is an excellent textbook that provides a good foundation on animal learning but goes on to examine cognition from the perspectives of comparative cognition, behavioral ecology, and ethology—an excellent synthesis of these areas. Gallistel 1990 is now a classic textbook offering an overview of learning principles, with a focus on time, number, and space. This book not only is accessible to undergraduate students but also is a strong resource for graduate students and researchers alike. Although perhaps now a bit out of date, Mackintosh 1983 is still a very strong resource for those interested in conditioning and associative learning.
Bouton, Mark E. 2007. Learning and behavior: A contemporary synthesis. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer.
Aimed at midlevel to advanced undergraduate students, this textbook covers the foundational principles of learning and behavior.
Domjan, Michael. 2010. The principles of learning and behavior. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
This textbook, now in its sixth edition, has proven to be a classic in the field. Written for an undergraduate audience, it focuses on the principles of learning and provides an excellent overview of theoretical and empirical research in the area.
Gallistel, C. R. 1990. The organization of learning. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
This now-classic volume presents an overview of learning principles, with a focus on time, number, and space. Provides excellent coverage of the behavioral and neural basis of learning, with a strong emphasis on spatial learning. Written at the level of advanced undergraduates and graduate students, this book continues to be a valuable resource for those interested in learning.
Mackintosh, N. J. 1983. Conditioning and associative learning. Oxford: Clarendon.
An account of the theories and empirical research, focusing on associative learning. This book covers issues within the areas of classical and instrumental conditioning, such as appetitive and aversive reinforcement, laws of association, and excitatory and inhibitory learning, as well as discrimination learning.
Papini, Mauricio R. 2008. Comparative psychology: Evolution and development of behavior. 2d ed. New York: Psychology.
This textbook would be an excellent guide for undergraduate students of psychology and biological sciences alike. It is one of the few comparative psychology textbooks that provide a comprehensive introduction to the biological bases of cognition and evolution.
Pearce, John M. 2008. Animal learning and cognition: An introduction. 3d ed. Hove, UK, and New York: Psychology.
Written for an undergraduate audience, this textbook gives a basic introduction to the main topics required to understand the principles of learning and behavior. An introduction discusses select topics within the area of animal learning and cognition.
Shettleworth, Sara J. 2010. Cognition, evolution, and behavior. 2d ed. Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.
Excellent interdisciplinary coverage of the field of comparative cognition and learning, easily accessible to students and researchers from a psychology or biology background. This book presents a synthesis of knowledge of psychology, evolution, and behavior in the early 21st century. The material is written in such an integrated and clear manner, this book could be used by senior undergraduate as well as graduate students.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Abnormal Psychology
- Action Research
- Addictive Behavior
- Affective Forecasting
- Allport, Gordon
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Animal Behavior
- Animal Learning
- Anxiety Disorders
- Art and Aesthetics, Psychology of
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) In Adults
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Childre...
- Attraction in Close Relationships
- Attribution Theory
- Authoritarian Personality
- Behavior Therapy, Rational Emotive
- Behavioral Economics
- Behavioral Genetics
- Bereavement and Grief
- Biological Psychology
- Birth Order
- Body Image in Men and Women
- Bystander Effect
- Clinical Neuropsychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Cognitive Consistency Theories
- Cognitive Dissonance Theory
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Communication, Nonverbal Cues and
- Comparative Psychology
- Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience
- Coping Processes
- Counseling Psychology
- Critical Thinking
- Cross-Cultural Psychology
- Cultural Psychology
- Death and Dying
- Deceiving and Detecting Deceit
- Defensive Processes
- Depressive Disorders
- Development, Prenatal
- Developmental Psychology (Cognitive)
- Developmental Psychology (Social)
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM...
- Dissociative Disorders
- Drugs and Behavior
- Eating Disorders
- Ecological Psychology
- Educational Settings, Assessment of Thinking in
- Embodiment and Embodied Cognition
- Emerging Adulthood
- Emotional Intelligence
- Environmental Neuroscience and Environmental Psychology
- Ethics in Psychological Practice
- Evolutionary Psychology
- Eyewitness Testimony
- Factor Analysis
- Festinger, Leon
- Five-Factor Model of Personality
- Flynn Effect, The
- Friendships, Children's
- Fundamental Attribution Error/Correspondence Bias
- Gambler's Fallacy
- Game Theory and Psychology
- Health Psychology
- Heuristics and Biases
- History of Psychology
- Human Factors
- Implicit Association Test (IAT)
- Industrial and Organizational Psychology
- Intercultural Psychology
- Intergroup Conflict
- International Classification of Diseases and Related Healt...
- International Psychology
- Interviewing in Forensic Settings
- Intimate Partner Violence, Psychological Perspectives on
- Item Response Theory
- Law, Psychology and
- Learned Helplessness
- Learning versus Performance
- LGBTQ+ Romantic Relationships
- Lie Detection in a Forensic Context
- Life-Span Development
- Locus of Control
- Meaning in Life
- Mechanisms and Processes of Peer Contagion
- Memories, Autobiographical
- Memories, Flashbulb
- Memories, Repressed and Recovered
- Memory, Human
- Memory, Implicit versus Explicit
- Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
- Moral Development
- Moral Psychology
- Moral Reasoning
- Neuroscience of Associative Learning
- Obsessive-Complusive Disorder (OCD)
- Operant Conditioning
- Optimism and Pessimism
- Organizational Justice
- Parenting Stress
- Path Models
- Peace Psychology
- Perception, Person
- Personality Disorders
- Personality Psychology
- Placebo Effects in Psychology
- Positive Psychology
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Prejudice and Stereotyping
- Prisoner's Dilemma
- Prosocial Behavior
- Prosocial Spending and Well-Being
- Psychology, Political
- Psychophysics, Visual
- Psychotic Disorders
- Reasoning, Counterfactual
- Rehabilitation Psychology
- Religion, Psychology and
- Research Methods
- Risk Taking
- Schizophrenic Disorders
- School Psychology
- Self, Gender and
- Self, Psychology of the
- Self-Regulation in Educational Settings
- Sensation Seeking
- Sex and Gender
- Sexual Minority Parenting
- Sexual Orientation
- Single People
- Skinner, B.F.
- Sleep and Dreaming
- Small Groups
- Social Class and Social Status
- Social Cognition
- Social Neuroscience
- Social Touch and Massage Therapy Research
- Somatoform Disorders
- Sports Psychology
- Stereotype Threat
- Subjective Wellbeing Homeostasis
- Teaching of Psychology
- Terror Management Theory
- Testing and Assessment
- Theory of Mind
- Therapies, Person-Centered
- Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral
- Thinking Skills in Educational Settings
- Time Perception
- Trait Perspective
- Twin Studies
- Type A Behavior Pattern (Coronary Prone Personality)
- Women and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM...
- Women, Psychology of