THE problem of the evolution of intelligent behaviour has recently achieved publicity1 in relation to work on the learning abilities of various vertebrates2. Over the past three years I have developed a general theory of the evolution of intelligence from, and within the framework of, an instinct system of Lorenz–Tinbergen type3. This theory is of wider scope than any which could be advanced on the basis of the present theories of learning; it can, it is felt, accommodate most of the ‘learning theory’ views; and it appears to provide a context for the understanding of a considerable variety of other phenomena. An extended account and discussion of this general theory of the evolution of intelligence is being offered for publication elsewhere—but a very brief preliminary account appears desirable, to stimulate interdisciplinary appraisal and discussion.
Bitterman, M. E., Scientific American, 212, 92 (1965).
See, for example, Bitterman, M. E., American Psychologist, 15, 704 (1960).
Tinbergen, N., A Study of Instinct (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1951).
Used in the broad sense of “total releaser situation”, cf. Tinbergen, ref. 3 above.
Halstead, W. C., Brain and Intelligence (Chicago University Press, 1947).
Russell, Claire, and Russell, W. M. S., Human Behaviour (Deutsch, London, 1961).
Hudson, L., Nature, 196, 601 (1962); Nature, 198, 913 (1963).
Contemporary Approaches to Creative Thinking, edit. by Gruber, H. E., Terrell, G., and Wertheimer, M. (Atherton Press, N.Y., 1962).
See, for example, Ellen, P., and Wilson, A. S., Experimental Neurology, 8, 310 (1963).
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STENHOUSE, D. A General Theory for the Evolution of Intelligent Behaviour. Nature 208, 815 (1965). https://doi.org/10.1038/208815a0
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