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A Behavioral, Cognitive, and Evolutionary Synthesis

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August 2015 | 608 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Learning: A Behavioral, Cognitive, and Evolutionary Synthesis provides an integrated account of the psychological processes involved in learning and conditioning and their influence on human behavior. With a skillful blend of behavioral, cognitive, and evolutionary themes, the text explores various types of learning as adaptive specialization that evolved through natural selection. Robust pedagogy and relevant examples bring concepts to life in this unique and accessible approach to the field.
Chapter 1: Where Learning Fits Into the Big Picture
What Is Knowledge?  
How Can We Study Something We Cannot See?  
Defining Various Kinds of Learning by Procedures and Phenomena  
The Evolution of Learning  
Learning Is an Adaptive Specialization  
Learning Is Part of an Integrated System of Psychological Processes  
Part I: Learning to Predict Important Events
Chapter 2: The Procedure and Phenomena We Call Pavlovian Conditioning
Procedures, Phenomena, and Processes  
Why We Call It Pavlovian Conditioning  
Conditioned Emotional Responses  
Conditioned Drug Reactions  
Conditioned Food Aversions  
Sign-Tracking (Autoshaping)  
Chapter 3: Pavlovian Conditioning Is an Inference Task
The Elements of Causal Inference  
The Effects of CS-US Consistency in Pavlovian Conditioning  
The Effects of Temporal and Spatial Contiguity on Pavlovian Conditioning  
The Effects of Temporal Precedence on Pavlovian Conditioning  
Chapter 4: Identifying the Predictors of Significant Events
The Salience of Stimuli  
Salience and Prior Experience With Potential Conditioned Stimuli  
Relative Validity in Pavlovian Conditioning  
Surprise and Pavlovian Conditioning  
A Mathematical Model of Pavlovian Conditioning Based on Both Salience and Surprise  
Overshadowing, Relative Validty, and Blocking: Learning About the Other Stimulus  
Chapter 5: The Representations of Knowledge in Pavlovian Conditioning
CS-US Associations: The Representation of Relationships in Pavlovian Conditioning  
Transitive Inference and the Linking of Associations in Second-Order Conditioning  
Conditioned Inhibition: Learning to Predict the Absence of the Unconditioned Stimulus  
The Role of the Environmental Context in Pavlovian Conditioning  
Representing the Temporal Relationships Between Events  
Extinction Revisited  
Chapter 6: From Knowledge to Behavior: The Forms and Functions of Conditioned Responses
Conditioned Responses: Deciding What to Measure  
The Relationship Between Conditioned and Unconditioned Responses  
Behavior Systems and Pavlovian Conditioning  
The Functions of Pavlovian Conditioned Responses  
Pavlovian Conditioning as an Adaptive Specialization  
Part II: Learning About the Consequences of One’s Behavior
Chapter 7: The Procedures and Phenomena We Call Operant Conditioning
Procedures, Phenomena, and Processes  
B. F. Skinner and Operant Conditioning  
The Various Events That Can Serve as Reinforcers  
The Various Events That Can Serve as Reinforcers  
The Four Varieties of Operant Conditioning  
Behavior Modification  
The Differences Between Pavlovian Conditioning and Operant Conditioning  
Chapter 8: How Individuals Adjust Their Behavior to Meet the Demands of the Situation
Operant Conditioning From Two Different Perspectives  
The Functions of Reinforcers in Operant Conditioning  
Adaptive Behavior by Hill-Climbing  
Identifying the Operant in Operant Conditioning  
Chapter 9: Adjusting to Schedules of Partial Reinforcement
Classifying Schedules of Reinforcement  
Ratio Schedules  
Interval Schedules  
Explaining the Differences in Performance on Ratio and Interval Schedules of Reinforcement  
The Effects of Prior Experience on How Individuals Adjust to Schedules of Reinforcement  
Behavioral Persistence  
Chapter 10: Life Is About Making Choices
Choice and the Empirical Matching Law  
The Generalized Theoretical Matching Law  
Why Matching Occurs  
The Significance of the Matching Laws  
Chapter 11: Inference and the Representations of Knowledge in Operant Conditioning
Operant Conditioning Is Also an Inference Task  
The Representations of Knowledge in Operant Conditioning  
The Role of the Stimulus in Operant Conditioning  
Operant Behavior as Procedural Knowledge  
Extinction Revisited  
Chapter 12: The Similarities Between Operant Conditioning and Natural Selection
Sources of Behavioral Variation  
The Mechanism of Selection in Operant Conditioning  
Operant Conditioning as an Adaptive Specialization  
Part III: The Social Transmission of Knowledge
Chapter 13: Social Learning
Learning Food Preferences From Others  
Learning What to Fear Through Observational Conditioning  
Learning What to Do by Observing Others  
Transmission of Information About What to Do Through Directed Instruction  
The Effects of Verbal Instructions on Human Behavior  


Instructor Teaching Site

Calling all instructors!
It’s easy to log on to SAGE’s password-protected Instructor Teaching Site at for complete and protected access to all text-specific Instructor Resources for Learning: A Behavioral, Cognitive, and Evolutionary Synthesis by Jerome Frieman and Stephen Reilly. Simply provide your institutional information for verification and within 72 hours you’ll be able to use your login information for any SAGE title!

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:

  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • A Respondus electronic test bank is available and can be used on PCs. The test bank contains multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter and provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding. Respondus is also compatible with many popular learning management systems so you can easily get your test questions into your online course.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course.
  • An Instructor’s Manual helps you see the book's overall organization so that you can anticipate what comes next and what you need to emphasize in your classroom presentations. Important concepts are highlighted for you as they appear in the book, and their links to other chapters are noted; difficult concepts are also identified based on what students tend to find most challenging. The manual also includes overviews, chapter outlines, and key terms to assist with lecture preparation and review.
  • New discussion questions cover key concepts and issues appropriate for classroom discussion.
  • Lively and stimulating class assignments can be used in class to reinforce active learning. The activities apply to individual or group projects.
Student Study Site

Use the Student Study Site to get the most out of your course!
Our Student Study Site at is completely open-access and offers a wide range of additional features, including something no other publisher offers: SAGE Journal articles!

The open-access Student Study Site includes the following:

  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards reinforce understanding of key terms and concepts that have been outlined in the chapters.
  • Mobile-friendly web quizzes allow for independent assessment of progress made in learning course material.
  • Each chapter includes video and multimedia links related to important topics and designed to supplement key points within the text.
  • Web resources are included for further research and insights.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. This feature also provides questions to focus and guide your interpretation.
  • Web exercises direct you to useful and current web resources, along with creative activities to extend and reinforce learning or allow for further research on important chapter topics. 

I like the text very much except it is extremely skewed toward Behavioral theory of learning. Very little is addressed with regard to other major learning theories. If I were teaching course on ABA's, I would consider using this text; however, I need to be able to teach students that there is more than just one theory out there.

Dr George Edward Humes
Psychology Dept, Kean University
November 13, 2016

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Jerome B. Frieman

Jerome Frieman earned his PhD from Kent State University in Ohio. He has been at Kansas State University since 1968. Over the course of his career, he engaged in research on operant conditioning in pigeons, rats, and dwarf hamsters; Pavlovian conditioning in rats; social learning in dwarf hamsters; and extraordinary memory in a human participant. He is the author of Learning and Adaptive Behavior and co-author of Memory Search by a Memorist. More About Author

Steve Reilly

Steve Reilly obtained his D.Phil. from the University of York, England, for research concerning the neural basis of learning and memory. He has held positions in England, Canada and the United States, and is now in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses on the neural mechanisms and functional neuroanatomy of conditioned taste aversion learning and incentive learning. Dr. Reilly is the editor of two books (Conditioned Taste Aversion: Behavioral and Neural Processes and Associative Learning and Conditioning Theory: Human and Non-Human Applications) and is currently on the editorial boards... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781483359236