Learned behaviour

Talks about the 6 types of learned behaviour with examples

Latent learning 

Operant learning 

Classical conditioning 

Habituation learning 

Imprinting learning 

Insight learning 

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  • Created by: Anna
  • Created on: 25-05-13 15:34

Habituation learning

  • This is when animals learn to ignore a certin stimuli to prevent them from responding continuously to stimuli that are not threatening
  • It usually only lasts for a short period of time though e.g. worms forget after 40 minutes that a shadow is not harmful to them
  • If animals, like ducks, imprint on humans they not aquire the correct characteristics to allow them to breed as they may not know which animals they can breed with or the courtship needed to attract them 
  • Example 1: scarecrows and birds
  • Example 2: humans that live near the road or railways are able to sleep because they have learned that the sound of traffic or trains does not pose a threat to them 
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Imprinting learning

  • This is when young animals become associated with another organism (usually the parent)
  • They will look and learn from the first organism but they will only become associated with an organism within a short period of time which is known as the sensitive period or the receptive period 
  • Example 1: birds learning to fly 
  • Example 2: seeking out a suitable organism for mating 
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Classical conditioning

  • This is when an organism learns that a pair of events are related and responds to the first stimuli in anticipation of the second
  • The stimulus that automatically triggers a response e.g. smelling food is known as unconditional conditioning 
  • If there is a stimulus such as ringing the bell before the animal sees or smells the food then this is called the conditioned stimulus and the response is the conditional response 
  • This is classical conditioning 
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Operant conditioning

  • This occurs when the animal learns that there is a reward or a punishment is associated with doing something (an operation) e.g. stepping on a lever, not responding to their name
  • Scientists can use skinner boxes which have different levers that cause different responses - the animal works out which lever causes which response as a result of trail and error
  • Punishment levers can be used to reinforce the reward levers 
  • This is active learning and to some extent voluntary 
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Latent (exploratory) learning

  • Animals explore the surroundings, this is not for immediate information but is retained just so they are aware if they are ever put in a life threatening position and will allow them to stay alive 
  • Latent learning is when learning occurs but not as a result of a reward or a punishment - it just happens 
  • Example 1: rabbits learning the lay out of burrows so they can escape predators 
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Insight learning

  • This is the highest form of learning, animals have to make decisions and solve problems rather than just responding in a simple, fixed response. 
  • When the problem has been solved it is remembered
  • Example 1: chimpanzee's were set in a room where bananas hunt that were out of reach, the chimpanzee's worked out they needed to stack the boxes up to reach the fruit 
  • It is difficult to proove because the experiments cannot be repeated as one it is learnt it wont be forgotten thus meaning we cant prove it happened in an orderly fashion; it may have been a coincidence 
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