Behavioral and Brain Sciences

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2009), 32:199-200 Cambridge University Press
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Open Peer Commentary

Propositional learning is a useful research heuristic but it is not a theoretical algorithm

A. G. Bakera1, Irina Baetua1 and Robin A. Murphya2

a1 Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, H3A 1B1, Canada
a2 Cognitive Perceptual and Brain Sciences Unit, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom.
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murphy ra [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


Mitchell et al.'s claim, that their propositional theory is a single-process theory, is illusory because they relegate some learning to a secondary memory process. This renders the single-process theory untestable. The propositional account is not a process theory of learning, but rather, a heuristic that has led to interesting research.

The propositional nature of human associative learning Chris J. Mitchell, Jan De Houwer and Peter F. Lovibond School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Kensington 2052, Australia; Department of Psychology, Ghent University, Henri Dunantlaan 2, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium">; School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Kensington 2052, Australia">