Generalization and Tinbergen's four whys

Ken Cheng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Shepard's exponential law provides a functional explanation of generalization. The account complements the more common mechanistic models. The elegant and powerful analyses answer one of Tinbergen's (1963) four whys of behavior: a benefit conferred on the animal by generalizing in this way. A complete account might address evolutionary and developmental questions in addition to mechanistic and functional ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)660-661
Number of pages2
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2001 Cambridge University Press. Article originally published in Behavioral and brain sciences, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 660-661. The original article can be found at

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