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ERIC Number: ED262054
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1984-Aug
Pages: 68
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
The Evolution of Learning Mechanisms.
Garcia, John; Garcia y Robertson, Rodrigo
This paper introduces seven principles of learning, enduring over the last five centuries of psychological thought, to discuss the evolution of the "Biophyche" (the brain in action) in the development of humans and other large organisms. It describes the conditioning theories of Darwin, Pavlov, and Thorndike and critically reviews the twentieth century behaviorism (Watson, Spence, and Skinner) which separated the psychology of learning from biology. The selective pressure of the food chain on the evolution of corporal structure, instinctive behavior, and learning mechanisms is discussed in terms of body and brain, prey and predator, the memory for poison, the memory for pain, the bicameral biophyche, and sensory hedonistics. Both behavioral and physiological solutions have been used for problems of survival. Imprinting is used to illustrate the subtle interplay between instinct and learning. Uses of the geomagnetic field for navigation by humans, birds, and bees illustrates a convergent evolutionary force. While the evolutionary origin of learning is problematical, learning is always an adjustment of a natural behavioral pattern inherent in the anatonomical structure. In conclusion, learning is the primary instinct because it converts a potentially hostile environment into a comfortable territorial home where secondary instinctual processes can take place in safety. (BS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A