Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Published (as Chapter 1) in Animal Cognition in Nature: The Convergence of Psychology and Biology in Laboratory and Field, edited by Russell P. Balda, Irene M. Pepperberg, and Alan C. Kamil, San Diego (Academic Press, 1998), pp. 1–28. Copyright © 1998 by Academic Press. Used by permission.


The last 20-30 years have seen two “scientific revolutions” in the study of animal behavior: the cognitive revolution that originated in psychology, and the Darwinian, behavioral ecology revolution that originated in biology. Among psychologists, the cognitive revolution has had enormous impact. Similarly, among biologists, the Darwinian revolution has had enormous impact. The major theme of this chapter is that these two scientific research programs need to be combined into a single approach, simultaneously cognitive and Darwinian, and that this single approach is most appropriately called cognitive ethology.