Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Published in The Psychology of Learning and Motivation: Advances in Research and Theory, Volume 26, edited by Gordon H. Bower (San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1990), pp. 1–25. Copyright © 1990 by Academic Press, Inc. Used by permission.


Our purpose in this article is to review the results of our studies of the mechanisms underlying cache recovery by members of the crow, jay, and nutcracker family. In this research program, we have combined psychological and ecological approaches to the study of memory, and the results demonstrate the utility of this interdisciplinary strategy. Unlike most psychological research on learning and memory, this research program originated in the study of how a particular species solves a particular ecological problem. It serves as an example of how natural history and ecology can provide the starting point for a research program that produces interesting and surprising data of general importance. We begin by outlining the ecological problem.