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Saliences, propositions, and amalgams: Emergent learning in nonhumans

  • Heidi Lyn (a1) and Duane M. Rumbaugh (a2) (a3)

We comment on the similarities and differences of Mitchell et al.'s framework for understanding classical and operant conditioning and the theoretical framework put forth by Rumbaugh et al. (2007). We propose that all nonhuman and human learning may be based on amalgams created by co-occurring stimuli that share their response-eliciting properties and that these amalgams may be propositional in nature.

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Lyn H. (2007) Mental representation of symbols as revealed by vocabulary errors in two bonobos (Pan paniscus). Animal Cognition 10:461–75.
Lyn H., Greenfield P. M. & Savage-Rumbaugh E. S. (2006) The development of representational play in chimpanzees and bonobos: Evolutionary implications, pretense, and the role of interspecies communication. Cognitive Development 21:199213.
Lyn H. & Savage-Rumbaugh E. S. (2000) Observational word learning by two bonobos: Ostensive and non-ostensive contexts. Language and Communication 20:255–73.
Rumbaugh D. M., King J. E., Beran M. J., Washburn D. A. & Gould K. L. (2007) A salience theory on learning and behavior: With perspectives on neurobiology and cognition. International Journal of Primatology 28:973–96.
Rumbaugh D. M. & Washburn D. A. (2003) The intelligence of apes and other rational beings. Yale University Press.
Savage-Rumbaugh E. S., McDonald K., Sevcik R. A., Hopkins W. D. & Rupert E. (1986) Spontaneous symbol acquisition and communicative use by pygmy chimpanzees (Pan paniscus). Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 115:211–35.
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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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