Autoshaping: Driving Toward A Psychology Of Learning

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Published In

Contemporary Psychology


The book begins with a historical introduction by Terrace. It establishes clearly what autoshaping is, why it is important, and what a satisfactory theory will have to explain. Although the potentially serious implications of the phenomenon are not given enough attention to suit my taste, the chapter does a good job of establishing a context for the chapters that follow. The remainder of the book is divided into three sections--one on biological factors that influence autoshaping, one on associative factors, and one on temporal factors. Each section represents a different side of the accommodation of learning theory to autoshaping that I just described. In the section on biological factors, Wasserman resurrects the learning-performance distinction, arguing that not enough attention has been paid to the relation between association and the behavior that reflects it.

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