Animal Behaviour OCR A2 Biology

Keywords and quick revision, has pictures :)

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  • Created on: 24-05-12 19:45
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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 A form of learning in which two unrelated stimuli are applied to an animal, one
a `normal response' (for example salivation in the presence of food) another
unrelated (for example the ringing of a bell). After repeated exposure to both
stimuli together the animal will eventually respond with the normal response
to the unrelated stimulus
Conditioned reflex A reflex in which an animal has learned to respond to a different stimulus
from the one that normally elicits a response
DRD4 One of five genes that code for dopamine receptor molecules
Fixed action patterns Instinctive behavioural responses to stimuli leading to a fixed pattern of
neuronal output
Habituation A learned behaviour. With repeated exposure animals learn to ignore stimuli
that lead to neither reward or punishment
Hierarchy A social grouping in which individuals have a place in the order of importance
within the group
Imprinting Young animals becoming associated with another organism ­ usually the
Innate behaviour A behaviour that an animal is capable of from birth without any learning or
Insight learning Regarded as the highest form of learning. Based on the ability to think and
reason in order to solve problems
Kineses Orientation behaviours where the rate of movement increases when an
organism is in unfavourable conditions
Latent (or exploratory) learning Learning by exploration of new surroundings and retaining information that
may be of later use
Learned behaviour Animal responses that change or adapt with experience
Longitudinal study An investigation in which the same individuals are studied repeatedly over a
long period of time

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OCD Obsessive-compulsive disorder.…read more

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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 organism is in an unfavourable environment
o The behaviour is non-directional
For instance woodlice avoid predation by living in damp,
dark areas
If placed in dry/bright conditions they move rapidly
and randomly until they are…read more

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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
o Once started the FAP must run their course and be completed even
if circumstances change
E.g. spider making a cocoon for its eggs
E.g.…read more

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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 innate
The object the response is directed towards is the imprinting stimulus
o Only occurs within a narrow developmental period (sensitive period), often soon after birth or hatching
Usually irreversible
e.g.…read more

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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 repeated)
A Reward or punishment acts as a
reinforcer of the behaviour
Burrhus Skinner investigated
operant conditioning in pigeons
and rats (using the Skinner box)
o Initially the animal accidentally presses the lever which results…read more

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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.…read more

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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 provides time to acquire all learned behaviours necessary
for survival
What is carry behaviour?
Primates are born less mature and spend first part of lives in constant contact with mother
Aids learning and social development…read more

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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.…read more



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.

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