The study of associative learning: Mapping from psychological to neural levels of analysis

Andrew R. Delamater, K. Matthew Lattal

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

9 Scopus citations


One of the major achievements of the last century of research in experimental psychology is the identification of a coherent set of theories and principles to characterize the nature of simple forms of associative learning. Major advances are also currently being made at a rapid pace in the neurobiology of associative learning, and, interestingly, we are beginning to see how a mapping from a psychological level of analysis to underlying neurobiological mechanisms is possible. This collection of papers honors the illustrative careers of four major learning theorists from the experimental psychology tradition (Robert Rescorla, Allan Wagner, Nicholas Mackintosh, Anthony Dickinson) who have helped shape our understanding of behavioral principles. The collection of works in this special issue reflects common interests among researchers working at both psychological and neurobiological levels of analysis towards a more comprehensive understanding of basic associative learning processes as they relate to several key issues identified and intensively studied by these influential learning theorists. These consist of the questions regarding (1) the critical conditions enabling learning, (2) the contents of learning, and (3) the rules that translate learning into performance. In one way or another, the separate contributions in this issue address these fundamental questions as they relate to a wide variety of currently exciting topics in the study of the neurobiology of learning and memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
StatePublished - Feb 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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