The Psychological Record

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 359–371 | Cite as

On the Role of Memory in Concept Learning by Pigeons

  • Donald F. Kendrick
  • Anthony A. Wright
  • Robert G. Cook
Article

Abstract

Twenty pigeons, divided into four groups, were trained to discriminate picture categories of birds and mammals in a natural-category experiment. Two groups were trained with 5 items from each category and two groups were trained with 35 items from each category. For one 5-item group and one 35-item group, stimuli were assigned according to bird (S+ set) and mammal (S− set) categories and for the other groups (5 and 35 items) the same stimuli were pseudorandomly assigned to an arbitrary S+ set and S− set. Groups with fewer items acquired the discrimination faster than groups with more items irrespective of item assignment. Only the 35-item category group, upon transfer to novel items, showed any evidence of concept learning. The 5- item category group learned its expanded 35-item discrimination in about one half the number of sessions required by the 5-item pseudocategory group to learn its expanded 35-item discrimination. The 5-item category group acquired the 35-item discrimination in fewer sessions than the original 35-item category group, indicating a savings attributable to first learning with few items. The 5-item pseudocategory group showed no savings in acquiring the 35-item discrimination relative to the original 35-item pseudocategory group. A continuum model of concept learning is suggested in which categorization is controlled by rote memorization of a few items, by exemplar processing when more items are involved, and by prototype processing when even more items are used.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. BHATT, R. S., WASSERMAN, E. A., REYNOLDS, Jr., W. F., & KNAUSS, K. S. (1988). Conceptual behavior in pigeons: Categorization of both familiar and novel examples from four classes of natural and artificial stimuli. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 14, 219–234.Google Scholar
  2. CERELLA, J. (1979). Visual classes and natural categories in the pigeon. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 5, 68–77.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. CERELLA, J. (1982). Mechanisms of concept formation in the pigeon. In D. J. Ingle, M. A. Goodale, & R. J. W. Mansfield (Eds.), Analysis of visual behavior. Cambridge, MA: M. I. T. Press.Google Scholar
  4. COOK, R. G., WRIGHT, A. A., & KENDRICK, D. F. (1990). Visual categorization by pigeons. In M. L. Commons, R. J. Herrnstein, S. M. Kosslyn, & D. B. Mumford (Eds.), Quantitative analysis of behavior: Behavioral approaches to recognition and concept formation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum..Google Scholar
  5. EDWARDS, C. A., & HONIG, W. K. (1987). Memorization and “feature selection” in the acquisition of natural concepts in pigeons. Learning and Motivation, 18, 235–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. ESTES, W. K. (1986). Memory storage and retrieval in category learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 115, 155–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. GREENE, S. L. (1983). Feature memorization in pigeon concept formation. In M. L. Commons, R. J. Herrnstein, & A. R. Wagner (Eds.), Quantitative analysis of behavior: Discrimination processes. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.Google Scholar
  8. HARTER, J. (1979). Animals: 1419 copyright-free illustrations of mammals, birds, fish, insects, etc. New York: Dover.Google Scholar
  9. HERRNSTEIN, R. J. (1979). Acquisition, generalization, and discrimination reversal of a natural concept. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 5, 116–129.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. HERRNSTEIN, R. J. (1985). Riddles of natural categorization. In L. Weiskrantz (Ed.), Animal intelligence: Proceedings of a Royal Society discussion meeting, held on 6 and 7 June, 1984. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  11. HERRNSTEIN, R. J., & De VILLIERS, P. A. (1980). Fish as a natural category for people and pigeons. In G. H. Bower (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  12. HERRNSTEIN, R. J., LOVELAND, D. H., & CABLE, C. (1976). Natural concepts in pigeons. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 2, 285–311.Google Scholar
  13. HOMA, D. (1978). Abstraction of ill-defined form. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 4, 407–416.Google Scholar
  14. HOMA, D., CROSS, J., CORNELL, D., GOLDMAN, D., & SCHWARTZ, S. (1973). Prototype abstraction and classification of new instances as a function of number of instances defining the prototype. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 101, 116–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. HOMA, D., STERLING, S., & TREPEL, L. (1981). Limitations of exemplar-based generalization and the abstraction of categorical information. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 7, 418–439.Google Scholar
  16. JACOBY, L. L., & BROOKS, L. R. (1984). Nonanalytic cognition: Memory, perception, and concept learning. In G. H. Bower (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  17. KENDRICK, D. F., & RILLING, M. E. (1986). AIM: A theory of active and inactive memory. In D. F. Kendrick, M. E. Rilling, & M. R. Denny (Eds.), Theories of animal memory. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  18. LOMBARDI, C. M., FACHINELLI, C. C., & DELIUS, J. D. (1984). Oddity of visual patterns conceptualized by pigeons. Animal Learning and Behavior, 12, 2–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. MALLOTT, R. W., & SIDDALL, J. W. (1972). Acquisition of the people concept in pigeons. Psychological Reports, 31, 3–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. MCCLELLAND, J. L, & RUMELHART, D. E. (1985). Distributed memory and the representation of general and specific information. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 114, 159–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. MOON, L. E., & HARLOW, H. F. (1955). Analysis of oddity learning by rhesus monkeys. Journal of Comparative Physiological Psychology, 48, 188–194.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. OMOHUNDRO, J. (1981). Recognition vs. classification of ill-defined category exemplars. Memory & Cognition, 9, 324–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. OVERMAN, W. H., & DOTY, R. W. (1980). Prolonged visual memory in macaques and man. Neuroscience, 5, 1825–1831.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  24. POOLE, J., & LANDER, D. G. (1971). The pigeon’s concept of pigeon. Psychonomie Science, 25, 157–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. ROBERTS, W. A., & Mazmanian, D. S. (1988). Concept learning at different levels of abstraction by pigeons, monkeys, and people. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 14, 247–260.Google Scholar
  26. SANTIAGO, H. C., & WRIGHT, A. A. (1984). Pigeon memory: Same/different concept learning, serial probe recognition acquisition, and probe delay effects on the serial-position function. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 10, 498–512.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. SCHRIER, A. M., ANGARELLA, R., & POVAR, M. L. (1984). Studies of concept formation by stumptailed monkeys: Concepts humans, monkeys, and letter A. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 10, 564–584.Google Scholar
  28. SCHRIER, A. M., & BRADY, P. M. (1987). Categorization of natural stimuli by monkeys (Macaca mulatta): Effects of stimulus set size and modification of exemplars. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 13, 136–143.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. SHYAN, M. S., WRIGHT, A. A., COOK, R. G., & JITSUMORI, M. (1987). Acquisition of the auditory same/different task in a rhesus monkey. Bulletin of the Psychonomie Society, 25, 1–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. SIEGEL, R. K., & HONIG, W. K. (1970). Pigeon concept formation: Successive and simultaneous acquisition. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 13, 385–390.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. VAUGHAN, W., Jr., & GREENE, S. L. (1984). Pigeon visual memory capacity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 10, 256–271.Google Scholar
  32. WAGNER, A. R. (1981). SOP: A model of automatic processing in animal behavior. In R. R. Miller & N. E. Spear (Eds.), Information processing in animal behavior: Memory mechanisms. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  33. WASSERMAN, E. A., KIEDINGER, R. E., & BHATT, R. S. (1988). Conceptual behavior in pigeons: Categories, subcategories, and pseudocategories., 14, 235–246.Google Scholar
  34. WRIGHT, A. A., COOK, R. G., RIVERA, J. J., SANDS, S. R, & DELIUS, J. D. (1988). Concept learning by pigeons: Matching-to-sample with trial-unique video stimuli. Animal Learning and Behavior, 16, 436–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. WRIGHT, A. A., SANTIAGO, H. C., & SANDS, S. F. (1984). Monkey memory: Same/different concept learning, serial probe acquisition, and probe delay effects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 10, 513–529.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  36. WRIGHT, A. A., SANTIAGO, H. C., URCUIOLI, P. J., & SANDS, S. F. (1984). Pigeon and monkey serial probe recognition: Acquisition, strategies, and serial position effects. In H. L. Roitblat, T. S. Bever, & H. S. Terrace (Eds.), Animal cognition. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald F. Kendrick
    • 1
  • Anthony A. Wright
    • 2
  • Robert G. Cook
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMiddle Tennessee State UniversityMurfreesboroUSA
  2. 2.University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Graduate School of Biomedical SciencesUSA
  3. 3.Tufts UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations