Animal Learning & Cognition
Instructor: Dr. Michael F Brown
Office Hours: MTW 1:00-2:00 & by appt
Midterm Exam 30%
Term Paper 30%
Final Exam 30%
Participation 10% (Includes discussion leadership for assigned
Required Book: Wasserman, E.A. & Zentall, T.R. (Eds.) Comparative Cognition:
Experimental Explorations of Animal Intelligence. (2006)
This course will be a SEMINAR covering selected topics in Animal Learning and Cognition. The
principal readings will come from the primary literature (journal articles and book chapters).
Our classroom time will focus on DISCUSSION of the material, put into context by me. Students
are responsible for CAREFULLY reading the assigned material before each class, and being
prepared to discuss it in depth. I strongly suggest that you outline the material as you read it, and
make a list of questions and issues for the purposes of our classroom discussion. This course is
most beneficial (and more fun) when we are successful in running it as a seminar. This requires
cooperation and EFFORT on the part of all of us. Note: Your grade for class participation will be
based on the quality and quantity of your contributions to class discussions.
The exams are intended to tap your understanding of the conceptual issues. You will be allowed to
use a single-side 8.5" X 11" sheet of notes while taking the exams. The second (final) exam will
not be cumulative.
Animal Learning & Cognition
Note: "WZ" signifies a chapter in Wasserman & Zentall (2006)
DATE TOPIC TENTATIVE READING ASSIGNMENTS
Jan 13 Introduction to Animal Cognition
Jan 20 Historical Views of Learning Watson, 1913; Skinner, 1950; Tolman, 1948
Classical Conditioning: Basics Rescorla, 1988; Siegel, 1975; Bitterman, 1983
Jan 27 Conditioning Mechanisms Rescorla & Wagner, 1972; Denniston,
Savastano, & Miller, 2001 pp 65-79; Blaisdell,
Feb 3 Short-term Memory and Memory Cook, Brown, & Riley, 1985; Clayton &
(Patrick) Coding Dickinson, 1998; WZ-Roberts (8)
Feb 10 Memory Mechanisms: Balda & Kamil, 2006; Kamil, Balda, & Olson,
(Mallary) Comparative Considerations 1994; WZ-de Kort, et al. (30)
Feb 17 Attention WZ-Blough (5); WZ-Kamil & Bond (6); WZ-
(Matt) Washburn & Taglialatela (7)
Feb 24 Concept Learning and Categories Zentall, et al., 2008; Cook & Wasserman,
(Rob) 2007; WZ-Jitsumori (18); WZ-Urcuioli (21)
March 3 Semester Break
March 10 Exam
March 17 Timing and Time Perception Roberts (1981); WZ-Church (13); WZ-Crystal
March 24 Counting, Numerosity Brannon & Terrace, 1998; Beran, 2008
March 31 Spatial Representation WZ-Cheng (10); WZ-Spetch & Kelly (11);
(Danielle) Miller & Shettleworth, 2007
April 7 Pattern Learning and Serial WZ-Brown (22); WZ-Fountain (23); Terrace
April 14 Problem Solving, Rationality, WZ-Delius & Delius (28); WZ-Kuczaj &
Tool Use, Intelligence Walker (29); Bluff, et al. (2007)
April 21 Social Cognition Brown, Farley, & Lorek (2007); Kubinyi, et al
April 28 Consciousness and Mental Life Blumberg & Wasserman, 1995; Wynne (2007)
The Term Paper
A major portion (30%) of your grade in this class will be based on a term paper. The basic
idea of this assignment is to give you an opportunity to show how well you can investigate a
specific topic area that strikes you as particularly interesting. Thus, your paper must demonstrate a
level of understanding that goes beyond what is covered in class. You will be expected to research
a limited area of knowledge making full use of the resources available in the library. The paper
should 1) review the existing literature in the area and 2) present a creative contribution to the
literature. This second part can come in any of several forms, such as a new theoretical synthesis of
previously disparate ideas, a new critique of a theory, or a suggested new experiment to test a
previous theory. The paper should follow APA format in terms of citations and the Reference List.
It will NOT have the same organizational structure as an APA-style research report (Intro, Method,
Results, and Discussion).
In order to keep you on track, there will be three steps in the formal requirement:
1) Week of March 17: Each of you must consult individually with me and we must agree on a paper
topic by March 21.
2) April 10: An outline of your paper and a tentative reference list of the materials will be due on
this date. The outline should clearly identify the boundaries of the topic you are researching, what
aspects of it you intend to cover, and what sources you are using to do so. The reference list should
include at least 12 sources of information from the primary literature. I will give you feedback on
this part of the requirement within four days after you turn in your outline. Failure to submit the
outline/reference list on time will result in a reduction of one letter grade from your paper.
3) The paper itself will be due on April 28. As a rough guideline, most good papers will be 15-20
pages in length.
The paper should be clearly divided into 3 parts: 1) an introduction, in which you put the topic in
context, 2) a literature review, in which you explain and discuss the material you researched, and 3)
your creative contribution to the literature. In addition to these three sections of the paper, you
should include a complete reference section (APA style).
I invite and strongly encourage each of you to use my office hours as a resource (feel free to call for
appointments at other times) while you are planning and working on this project.