Sadahiko NAKAJIMA, Professor
Psychology of Learning, Behavior Analysis, Comparative Cognitive Science, Study of Human and Animal Relationships
Probably everybody has heard of the story of Pavlov’s dogs. If ringing a bell and then providing food are repeated, after a while simply ringing the bell will cause the dogs to salivate. This is an example of what is called a conditioned reflex or classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is a type of behavior modification based on experience, and is a learning mechanism almost all animals have, from we human beings to invertebrate animals. The theme of my research is experimentally clarifying the learning mechanism that is common to most animals, including human beings. Animals, including human beings, possess a cognitive capacity to process information that has been obtained from the environment, and I also specialize in “comparative cognitive science”, which conducts comparative investigations concerning how this cognitive capacity has evolved and what characteristics are possessed by the cognitive capacities of present animal species. In addition, I conduct research about the various relationships between humans and animals from the standpoint of psychology.