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January 2022

Dimensions of stimulus complexity

Journal/Book: J Exp Psychol-Anim Behav Proc. 1996; 22: 750 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Amer Psychological Assoc. 3-18.

Abstract: Animal learning research has increasingly used complex stimuli that approximate natural objects, events, and locations, a trend that has accompanied a resurgence of interest in the role of cognitive factors in learning. Accounts of complex stimulus control have focused mainly on cognitive mechanisms and largely ignored the contribution of stimulus information to perception and memory for complex events. It is argued here that research on animal learning stands to benefit from a more detailed consideration of the stimulus and that James Gibson's stimulus-centered theory of perception serves as a useful framework for analyses of complex stimuli. Several issues in the field of animal learning and cognition are considered from the Gibsonian perspective on stimuli, including the fundamental problem of defining the effective stimulus.

Note: Review JG Fetterman, Indiana Univ Purdue Univ, Dept Psychol, 402 N Blackford St, Indianapolis, IN 46202 USA

Keyword(s): SHORT-TERM-MEMORY; MONKEYS CEBUS-APELLA; MATCHING-TO-SAMPLE; COMPARATIVE COGNITION; RELATIVE NUMEROSITY; STURNUS-VULGARIS; AUDITORY-STIMULI; DURATION RATIOS; COLUMBA-LIVIA; HOMO-SAPIENS


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