Animal Behaviour

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  • Created by: Ella
  • Created on: 14-05-15 11:32

Advantages of innate behaviour

It does not need to be learnt.

It has immediate survival value for a young, inexperiences animal in a dangerous situation.

It as appropriate for invertebrates with a short life span that do not have time to learn.

It requires few neurones.

It is likely to be appropriate for the animal's habitat, as the alleles controlling it will have been subject to natural selection.

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Escape reflexes, taxes and kinesis

Innate behaviour is instinctive and inherited. It follows a rigid, fixed pattern and is so inflexible and stereotyped (the same in all members of a species). It is automatic and does not require thought of learning. 

Escape reflexes: A particular stimulus brings about an automatic response, the function of which is to avoid predators. Earthworms withdraw underground in response to vibrations in the ground. 

Taxes: A directional movement in response to an external stimulus. Woodlice move away from light to be less visible to predators and less liable to desiccation.

Kineses: A movement in repsonse to an external simulus. The rate of movement is related to the intensity, but not the direction, of a stimulus. When woodlice are placed in dry/bright conditions, they will move around rapidly and randomly until they are in more suitable conditions. 

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Explain the meaning of the term learned behaviour.

Behaviour that is changed, altered and learnt by experience. It requires memory, reinforcement and practice. The behaviour is variable in members of the same species.

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Habituation, imprinting and conditioning.

Habituation: Animals response to certain stimuli lessesns over time because repeated exposure to the stimulus results in neither reward or punishment. It avoids wasting energy in making escape responses to non-harmful stimuli e.g. sea anemones respond to touch by withdrawing their tentacles. On repeated stimulation the response is less and the anemone does not withdraw its tentacles. 

Imprinting: Young animals being associated with another organism, usually the parent. After that, they will only follow and learn from objects that look like the first objects. This helps the young learn skills from the parents. 

Classical conditioning: A form of adaptive learning in which the innate response is modified. The animal learns to respond to a stimulus which is different from the usual stimulus. 

Operant conditioning: A form of adaptive learning in which an animal learns to carry out a particular action in order to recieve a reward or avoid an unpleasant experient, e.g. a dog begs and is rewarded with food. Over time the dog will beg more and more.

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Latent and insight learning

Latent learning: Behaviour that is not directed towards a particular outcome. Animals explore new surroundings and learn information that has no apparent value at the time, but may be useful at some time. 

Insight learning: A form of learning in which an animal integrates memories of two or more earlier actions to produce a new response or gain a reward. The organism has the ability to think and reason in order to solve problems or deal with situations that do not resemble simple fixed reflex responses ot the need for repeat trial and error. 

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Advantages of social behaviour in primates

In chimpanzees, gorillas, oran-utans, monkeys, lemurs or apes behaviour includes:

  • Dominance and hierachy interactions such as play
  • Allogrooming (one gorilla grooming another)
  • Communication (vocal, facial and postural)
  • Passing on of cultural and tool-using knowledge
  • Prolonged and frequenct mother-infant interactions

The benefits are to both the group and the individual and include improved access to food resources and mates as well as the reduction of disease and parasites. 

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Human behaviour and dopamine, DRD4

There are a range of dopamine receptors in the brain. Depending on how effective the receptors are, there will be different levels of dopamine in the brain. The different levels are linked to a range of conditions, such as schizophrenia, ADHD and Parkinson's disease. The DRD4 receptor is one of the most variable receptors.

By studying the levels of dopamine in the brain and the genotype of the individual, the alles which may influence different conditions can be investigated, and different drugs for the conditions can be developed. 

One allele of DRD4 has been found more frequently amongth individuals whose personality is described as 'novelty-seeking' and whose behaviour tends to be exploratory and impulsive. This particular allele of the DRD4 receiptor could have become common in the human population because of natural selection giving those individuals a selective advantage. The behaviour caused by the allele increases the chances of survival and therefore breeding because it helped them to find food/find new resources/make new tools/get mates. The allele was passed on to the next generation and over time the allele increased in frequency. 

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