Advertisement

Critical Commentary

  • M. E. Bitterman

Abstract

About 35 years ago, when I was an undergraduate student in Schneirla’s laboratory and just beginning to be interested in problems of learning, Warden et al. (1940) published the second volume of their trilogy on comparative psychology—the volume on Plants and Invertebrates—which summarized what we knew then about invertebrate learning. Clearly, we did not know very much, and it must be admitted that we do not know much more today. Habituation is found in a wide range of invertebrates, but still we are in the dark about its relation to associative learning, glimmerings of which also appear almost everywhere, although the controls usually are so inadequate and the measures so subjective that we are hard put to decide what the results mean. Only with few invertebrates have we progressed beyond the turn-of-the-century question as to whether they learn at all. A notable exception, of course, is the octopus, which has been studied in a variety of complex experiments patterned after those with vertebrates, but by a technique so unreliable on the whole (Bitterman, 1966; Walker et al., 1970) that we cannot have any confidence in the findings.

Keywords

Classical Conditioning Critical Commentary Comparative Psychology Extinction Curve Partial Reinforcement Effect 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bitterman, M. E., 1965, Phyletic differences in learning, Amer. Psychol 20, 396–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bitterman, M. E., 1966, Learning in the lower animals, Amer. Psychol 21, 1073.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bitterman, M. E., 1972, Review of Mechanisms of Animal Discrimination Learning by N. S. Sutherland and N. J. Mackintosh, Amer. J. Psychol, 85, 301–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dilly, N., Nixon, M., and Packard, A., 1964, Forces exerted by Octopus vulgaris, Pubbl Stn. Zool Napoli, 34, 86–97.Google Scholar
  5. Gelber, B., 1952, Investigations of the behavior of Paramecium aurelia: I. Modification of behavior after training with reinforcement, J. Comp. Physiol Psychol, 45, 58–65.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Pantin, C. F. A., 1951, Organic design, Adv. Sci., 8, 138–150.Google Scholar
  7. Peeke, H. V. S., Herz, M. J., and Wyers, E. J., 1965, Amount of training, intermittent reinforcement and resistance to extinction of the conditioned withdrawal response in the earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris), Anim. Behav., 13, 566–570.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Thompson, R., and McConnell, J. V., 1955, Classical conditioning in the planarian, J. Comp. Physiol. Psychol, 48, 65–68.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Thorpe, W. H., and Davenport, D. (eds.), 1965, Learning and associated phenomena in invertebrates, Anim. Behav., 13, Suppl. 1, 1–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Walker, J. J., Longo, N., and Bitterman, M. E., 1970, The octopus in the laboratory: Handling, maintenance, training, Behav. Res. Methods Instrum., 2, 15–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Warden, J. C., Jenkins, T. N., and Warner, L. H., 1940, “Comparative Psychology,” Vol. 1, “Plants and Invertebrates,” Ronald Press, New York.Google Scholar
  12. Wyers, E. J., Peeke, H. V. S., and Herz, M. J., 1964, Partial reinforcement and resistance to extinction in the earthworm, J. Comp. Physiol Psychol, 57, 113–116.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. E. Bitterman
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Sensory SciencesUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA

Personalised recommendations