Animal Behaviour revision notes

Notes detailing innate and learned behaviour, including latent learning, habituation, operant and classical conditioning etc. Also talks about primate behaviour and the d4 receptors in humans.

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  • Created on: 01-06-11 15:55
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Animal Behaviour
Ethology ­ The study of the natural behaviour of animals in their natural
Psychology ­ The study of mental processes and their effect on behaviour.
Behaviouralism ­ The study of stimuli and responses and their modification
by rewards and punishments.
Innate Behaviour
Innate behaviour is a pattern of inherited, pre-set behaviour that does not
require learning or practice.
The Escape Reflex ­ A fast, automated response to a stimulus resulting in a
sudden movement that helps the animal escape a predator.
Earthworms have very touch-sensitive receptors on their heads. If it
receives a touch, nerve impulses race along wide axons and cause
longitudinal muscles to contract. Whole body shortens = worm retreats into
Kinesis ­ A response in which an animal's rate of movement, or rate of
turning, is affected by a particular stimulus.
Woodlice move faster and turn less in dry areas than moist areas. Therefore,
they spend more time in moist and darker areas, where they are more likely
to survive.
Taxes ­ Direction of movement is related to the direction of the stimulus.
Maggots have photoreceptors on their heads. Move heads from side to side,
sampling the light intensity. Move towards the direction in which receptors
detect less light.
Learned Behaviour
Learned behaviour ­ Behaviour that has been modified by experience.
Habituation ­ If a shadow falls over the Marine Ragworm, its escape reflex is
to withdraw into its burrow. If this repeatedly happens with no
consequence, the worm learns not to retreat into its burrow. This is a
short-lived example of learned behaviour.
Imprinting ­ In a window of time early in an animal's development, it comes
to behave towards a certain object or organism as something that it should
remain close to, as though it were its mother.
Problems with captive breeding ­ incorrect courtship behaviour etc
Classical Conditioning ­ Pavlov's dog. Learn to respond to a stimulus
different to the one that normally elicits a response.

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Dog began to salivate on the sound of a bell, shortly before food was puffed
into its mouth. Bell = Conditioned stimulus. Food = Unconditioned Stimulus
Associative learning
Operant Conditioning ­ Skinner box. Rat put into box. As it tries to escape,
it inadvertently presses a lever, which dispenses food. It then works out
what caused food to be released, and learns to continually press the lever.…read more

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Infants and females travel inside the group, where they are protected
by the stronger males
Grooming is hygienic. Also helps form stronger social bonds
Genes and Human Behaviour
D4 receptor in brain = receptor for Dopamine
Too many D4 receptors is linked to abnormal behaviour, such as
This receptor is coded for by 18 different alleles. People with a
certain allele have a greater risk of developing ADHD and drug
1.…read more


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