Skip to main content

Adaptive Memory and Learning

  • Reference work entry

Synonyms

Evolution and memory; Memory adaptation

Definition

The concept of adaptive memory and learning has two defining assumptions: First, the capacity to preserve and recover information over time is adaptive, meaning that the systems that enable memory and learning are goal-directed and functionally designed. Rather than domain-general, operating the same regardless of input and domain, species’ retention systems are “tuned” to solve particular problems (such as remembering the locations of food sources or predators). Second, as products of natural selection, these systems likely bear the specific imprint of nature’s criterion – the enhancement of fitness (survival en route to differential reproduction). As a result, the ability to learn and remember will likely be influenced by the fitness relevance of the information and tasks involved.

Theoretical Background

Most of the adaptive tasks animals have to solve during their lifetime do not have a stable solution. Animals cannot know...

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_1636
  • Chapter length: 4 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   3,400.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-1-4419-1428-6
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   2,999.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

References

  • Garcia, J. F., & Koelling, R. A. (1966). Relation of the cue to consequence in avoidance learning. Psychonomic Science, 4, 123–124.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nairne, J. S. (2010). Adaptive memory: Evolutionary constraints on remembering. In B. H. Ross (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation (Vol. 53, pp. 1–32). Burlington: Academic.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nairne, J. S., & Pandeirada, J. N. S. (2008). Adaptive memory: Remembering with a stone-age brain. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17, 239–243.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nairne, J. S., Thompson, S. R., & Pandeirada, J. N. S. (2007). Adaptive memory: Survival processing enhances retention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 33, 263–273.

    Google Scholar 

  • Öhman, A., & Mineka, S. (2001). Fears, phobia, and preparedness: Toward an evolved module of fear and fear learning. Psychological Review, 108, 483–552.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tulving, E., & Thomson, D. M. (1973). Encoding specificity and retrieval processes in episodic memory. Psychological Review, 80, 352–373.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to James S. Nairne .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

About this entry

Cite this entry

Nairne, J.S., Vasconcelos, M., Pandeirada, J.N.S. (2012). Adaptive Memory and Learning. In: Seel, N.M. (eds) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_1636

Download citation