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Biology F215 Revision

Animal Behaviour

Key Words

Key words Definition

Adaptive behaviour Behaviour that increases the chances of an organism's survival into adulthood

Addictive behaviour Behaviours such as smoking and gambling, thought to be more likely in the
presence of the DRD4 receptor gene

ADHD Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Classical conditioning…

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OCD Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Thought to result from a deficiency in the
levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin

What is ethology?

Ethology is the study of how patterns of behaviour adapt organisms to their environment

o It is a descriptive field study approach

Was replaced by behavioural ecology which assumes that optimal…

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Includes simple orientation behaviours such as kineses and taxes

o It can be a simple reflex action or a more complex set of behaviours carried out in a fixed sequence
(Fixed Action Pattern)

What is kineses?

A kinesis is an orientation behaviour where the rate of movement increases
when the…

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For instance Kangaroo rats leap when they hear a rattling sound to try to avoid a rattlesnake

What is a Fixed Action Pattern (FAP)?

FAP's are stereotyped, fixed sequence of behaviours to a particular stimulus

o They are also species-specific

They are innate (genetically determined) and not usually modified by…

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E.g. from observing and copying other members of its family or social group (cultural or
observational learning)

What are the differences between innate and learned behaviour?

Innate behaviour

o Stereotyped

Not modified by experience

Not adaptable and flexible

o Genetically determined

Learned behaviour

o Not stereotyped

Modified by experience


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o A form of learning in which a young animal becomes associated with (imprinted on) another organism -
usually the parent

Allows the young to learn new skills from parent e.g. appropriate type of organism for mating,
song call

Closely associated with innate behaviour

o Tendency to imprint is…

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Involuntary, temporary and reinforced by repetition

For instance the work of Ivan Pavlov ­ the classical conditioning in dogs

Operant conditioning

o Can also be called Trial and error learning

o The animal actively learns to associate an action
with a reward (so action repeated) or punishment
(so action not…

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Ability of young animals to learn by observing others

o Latent (or exploratory) learning

Animals will explore new surroundings and retain information about the surroundings for future

E.g. young rabbits explore area around burrow ­ may need knowledge to escape a

Insight learning

o Most complex form of…

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Why do primates have extended care of young?

Primate gestation periods are relatively short, so the skull is small enough to pass down the birth canal

o Once born there is a lengthy period of development when infant is dependent on parental care

This allows the brain to develop and…

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Young learn through observation and play (cultural learning)

Important to acquire skills e.g. for foraging, that are necessary for survival

Group protection allows time for brain to develop allowing the acquisition of more learned behaviours

Knowledge of food sources and foraging skills e.g. use of tools is shared within group…




An accurate and concise summary of  animal behaviour as needed for the OCR syllabus. There are diagrams, flow charts and tables included. These notes could usefully be used as a for revision or as a basis for making flashcards or a Mind map to make a complete set of resources.



Excellent doc. was really useful for gcse level3 teaching

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