Do animals have cognitive maps?

Bennett, Andrew T. D. 1996, Do animals have cognitive maps?, Journal of experimental biology, vol. 199, no. 1, pp. 219-224.

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Title Do animals have cognitive maps?
Author(s) Bennett, Andrew T. D.ORCID iD for Bennett, Andrew T. D.
Journal name Journal of experimental biology
Volume number 199
Issue number 1
Start page 219
End page 224
Publisher The Company of Biologists
Place of publication Cambridge, England
Publication date 1996-01
ISSN 0022-0949
Keyword(s) cognitive map
spatial memory
representation of space
Summary Drawing on studies of humans, rodents, birds and arthropods, I show that 'cognitive maps' have been used to describe a wide variety of spatial concepts. There are, however, two main definitions. One, sensu Tolman, O'Keefe and Nadel, is that a cognitive map is a powerful memory of landmarks which allows novel short-cutting to occur. The other, sensu Gallistel, is that a cognitive map is any representation of space held by an animal. Other definitions with quite different meanings are also summarised. I argue that no animal has been conclusively shown to have a cognitive map, sensu Tolman, O'Keefe and Nadel, because simpler explanations of the crucial novel short-cutting results are invariably possible. Owing to the repeated inability of experimenters to eliminate these simpler explanations over at least 15 years, and the confusion caused by the numerous contradictory definitions of a cognitive map. I argue that the cognitive map is no longer a useful hypothesis for elucidating the spatial behaviour of animals and that use of the term should be avoided.
Language eng
Field of Research 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©1996, The Company of Biologists
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