“Perhaps the most quoted statement in the history of comparative psychology is Lloyd Morgan’s canon” (Dewsbury 1984, p. 187). “To this it can be added that perhaps the most misrepresented statement in the history of comparative psychology is Lloyd Morgan’s canon” (Thomas 1998, p. 158). Conwy Lloyd Morgan (1852–1936) did not refer to it as a “canon” but as a “principle.” However, it quickly became known as “Morgan’s canon,” and that is how it will be identified here, unless Morgan is being quoted. Morgan’s canon was intended to guide choice among alternative explanations of animal behavior. This entry emphasizes at least 12 decades of misrepresentation of Morgan’s canon as a guide and provides fundamental guidelines for constructing the best explanations in animal cognition and psychological science.
In no case may we...
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