Adaptive Behaviour and Learning

Repair Shop, by Robert A. Nelson. Cover art for Adaptive Behaviour and Learning, by John StaddonAdaptive behaviour is of two types only. Either an animal comes equipped by heredity with the ability to identify situations in which a built-in response is appropriate or it has mechanisms allowing it to adapt its behaviour in situations in which the correct response cannot be predicted.

Adaptive behaviour of the second type comes about through natural selection, which weeds out individuals that identify situations inaccurately or respond inappropriately. Adaptive behaviour of the second type comes about through the selection of behavioural variants by the environment.

This book is about the second type of adaptive behaviour, of which learning is the most highly developed form. Adaptive Behaviour and Learning constitutes a provocative theoretical integration of the psychological and biological approaches to adaptive behaviour.

John Staddon’s ideas will have a major impact on psychologists and zoologists’ conceptions of the problem of learning. Highly readable, the book will serve as a useful text for courses in learning, animal behaviour and comparative psychology.