Learned behaviours

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  • Learned behaviours
    • Passed onto offspring via teaching and learning.
    • Can be altered by experience. Variety is shown between members of a species. Intelligent and intellectual.
    • Learned behaviour benefits animals with a longer lifespan and so time to learn, with an element of parental care of young, living for some time with other members of species to learn from them.
    • Refers to animal responses that change with experience and that has to be learned.
    • Advantage = It is adapted in response to changing circumstances or environments.
    • HABITUATION: Learn to ignore certain stimuli as repeated exposure to stimuli results in neither reward or punishment.
      • E.g. birds ignoring scarecrows. Avoids wasting energy in making escape responses to non-harmful stimuli.
    • IMPRINTING: Young animals becoming associated with another organism, usually a parent.
      • Only occurs in sensitive period - 36 hours after hatching in goslings. Significant in learning skills from parents e.g. flight in birds and seeking mates.
    • CLASSICAL CONDITIONING: Pavlov - Observed when dogs were shown food they salivated. Response to an unconditioned stimulus.
      • He rang a bell before giving the dogs food and noticed they began to salivate when the bell rang. - Conditioned stimulus, classical conditioning.
    • OPERANT CONDITIONING: Skinner  - looked at positive and negative reinforcement. Using Skinner box, pressed lever which presented a food reward.
      • Reward led to rats pressing lever more as they associated the lever with receiving food. Trial and error learning.
    • LATENT LEARNING: Explore new surroundings and retain information about them that may help in future with survival. E.g. rabbit learning surroundings of burrows which could help them escape a fox.
    • INSIGHT LEARNING: Highest form of learning. Ability to think and reason in order to solve problems. Once solved, solution to problem is remembered. E.g chimpanzees stacking boxes to reach bananas.


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