Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #330

Object Recognition by Dolphins

Monday, May 26, 2008
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Grand Ballroom
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: James S. MacDonall (Fordham University)
Dr. Herbert L. Roitblat received his BA in Psychology from Reed College in 1974, and his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1978. He was an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Columbia University from 1978 to 1985. He then joined the faculty at the University of Hawaii. In 1999 Roitblat co-founded DolphinSearch, an information retrieval company in Ventura, California. In 2002, he left Hawaii to work full time on DolphinSearch. DolphinSearch used neural network principles to help lawyers identify documents that were relevant to the case they were litigating. In 2006, he co-founded a new information retrieval company, OrcaTec, where he is currently a Principal. OrcaTec provides consulting and software to government and businesses concerning information retrieval and knowledge management.

Characterizing the information that dolphins receive and how they use that information in object recognition present special challenges. The dolphin biosonar system is so different from our own perceptual system that we are not overly bound by own experiences and expectations. This difference allows us to examine fundamental questions about the nature of perception. Vision is for most humans, such a primary sense, that it compels perceptual scientists to view other senses in relation to vision. However, the information that a dolphin gets through its biosonar is nearly as complex as the information we receive through visionobject structure and material compositionbut it comes through a different sensory modality. This talk will consider the similarities and differences between human and dolphin perception and what we can learn from these relations about perception in general.




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