The Physiology of Learning


    IN the hope of throwing fresh light on the obscure problem of what goes on when animals “learn,” Mr. Joseph Peterson has tested the effect of altering the length of culs-de-sac in the mazes which white rats were asked to solve on their way to the food-box. There is no doubt that the animals can learn; the question is, What precisely happens? and it is plain that the answer is not going to be easy. Organisms are very complex creatures, and animal behaviour in many of its expressions is extremely complex. The author has no use for psychological assumptions, such as that the rat “perceives relations,” or “makes prac tical judgments,” or “has ideas.” We do not know why “it is needless to say that no evidence of idea-tional behaviour has been found in the white rat.”

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      "The Effect of Length of Blind Alleys on Maze Learning. An Experiment on Twenty-four White Rats." By Joseph Peterson . Behaviour Monographs, vol. iii., No. 4. Pp. 53. (1917.)

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    The Physiology of Learning. Nature 100, 353–354 (1918).

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