Summary

Foraging requires a broad range ofcognitive skills. Foragers must perceive the environment, learn and remember food types, locate food resources, and learn techniques for extracting food items once found. Students of foraging need an understanding of these processes because they enable and constrain foraging behavior. Theorists can use data on animal cognition to develop more realistic foraging models. Foraging researchers can also pursue cognitive questions that provide potentially relevant information about foraging decisions. The separate traditions of psychology and behavioral ecology have formed a barrier to this interdisciplinary research. Psychologists have focused on process (learning, memory, and so on) using a limited number of species in highly controlled situations (Beach 1950), while behavioral ecologists have focused on functional categories ofbehavior (foraging, reproduction, etc.) using many species. Investigators are now working to break down these barriers, and foraging is a key point of contact between behavioral ecology and animal psychology. We hope that this chapter will help inspire future interdisciplinary research efforts. New data could bring answers regarding the survival value of cognition and the mechanisms of foraging within our grasp.

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