HOW ANIMALS LEARN by Russell Freedman


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Kids will learn How Animals Learn from this cogent presentation--everything from Pavlov to problem-solving, well illustrated with photographs and diagrams (even some elementary line graphs) and salted with projects for home testing. Instinctual behavior is distinguished from different areas of learning--habituation, association, imitation, practice (but not motor skills per se). Intelligence is defined as "the ability to change behavior as a result of experience"; the authors point out, however, that intelligence is ultimately tested in the animal's ability to learn "things important to his way of life" rather than in lab test situations and that rats are especially suited to experiments because "they normally live in dark, narrow passageways that resemble lab mazes." Lorenz and imprinting, Pavlov and conditioning, Thorndike, Skinner and puzzle boxes are carefully examined and other significant research (Kohler, Krushinsky), is also reported. The chapter "Animal Tricks and Training" describes much of the entertainment-oriented Brelands' work and includes tips for shaping behavior. No reference to Piaget's work with human animals but there is a chapter on "A Time to Learn" which implicates developmental stages. As discerning as Kay's How Smart Are Animals, emphasizing learning types rather than the representative animals, and avoiding some psych class labels (generalization, discrimination), which may make this more accessible to more (and younger) readers.
Pub Date: April 15th, 1969
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1969


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