Unlimited Associative Learning as a Null Hypothesis

Philosophy of Science:1-24 (forthcoming)


: A common strategy in comparative cognition is to require that one reject associative learning as an explanation for behavior before concluding that an organism is capable of causal reasoning. In this paper, I argue that standard causal-reasoning tasks can be explained by a powerful form of associative learning: unlimited associative learning. The lesson, however, is not that researchers should conduct more studies to reject UAL, but that they should instead focus on 1) enriching the cognitive hypothesis space and 2) testing a broader range of information processing patterns—errors, biases and limits, rather than successful problem solving alone.

Download options


    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,722

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

4 (#1,287,195)

6 months
4 (#163,373)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Marta Halina
Cambridge University

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Perceptual and Associative Learning.Geoffrey Hall - 1991 - Oxford University Press UK.
The Truth and Value of Theories of Associative Learning.Tom Beckers & Bram Vervliet - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (2):200-201.
In Search of the Origins of Consciousness. [REVIEW]Jonathan Birch - 2020 - Acta Biotheoretica 68 (2):287-294.
The Computational Nature of Associative Learning.N. A. Schmajuk & G. M. Kutlu - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (2):223-224.