Biology notes Essay

Submitted By rmm137
Words: 1005
Pages: 5

Some Terms
Behavior: any observable activity of a living animal
Ethology: the study of animal behavior
Some examples of behavior include:
Moths fly to a light
Bluebirds sing, wolves howl, frogs croak
Humans dance, play sports, & wage wars
Cats stalk mice Two Forms of Behavior
Innate: usually genetically-based (nature)
Learned: usually environment-based (nurture)
Innate behavior can be performed without prior experience
Performed (to completion) the 1st time an animal of the right age and motivational state encounters a particular stimulus
The behavior appears even if the animal has never been taught this behavior before
e.g. a red squirrel will attempt to bury a nut when presented with it for the first time
Examples of innate behavior in humans
Hunger (motivation for feeding)
Humans are able to communicate their hunger state from a very young age
Grasp reflex
Very strong in babies
Response to stimuli
Withdrawing your hand when you touch a hot object
Example of innate behavior in birds
Female cuckoo birds lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species (crows)
Chicks are raised by the unwitting adoptive parents
Shortly after the cuckoo egg hatches, the chick will shove the nest owner’s eggs out of the nest
Innate behavior because they were never taught to do this
Learned behaviors require experience
Learning: the capacity to make changes in behavior on the basis of experience
e.g. the process by which a human learns language
e.g. a cougar teaching her babies how to hunt
Types of learned behaviors:
Classical conditioning
Operant conditioning
Insight learning
Habituation: a decline in response to a repeated stimulus
The ability to habituate prevents an animal from wasting its energy & attention on irrelevant stimuli
e.g. a sea anemone will retract its tentacles when touched, but will stop if the touch is repeated frequently
Saves energy

Habituation in Humans
Those living in urban areas are habituated to the sounds of traffic, construction, sirens, airplanes
Those in the country/rural areas are habituated to sounds of insects, frogs, birds etc.
What happens when someone moves from one habitat to another?
Conditioning: a learned association between a stimulus and a response
Classical conditioning: An animal learns to perform a response, normally caused by one stimulus, to a new stimulus.

Pavlov’s dogs

Operant conditioning allows animals to learn behaviors to receive a reward or to avoid punishment
A learning technique often used to train animals
Going to work = getting paid (reward)
Breaking the law = getting arrested (punishment)
Dog sitting when you tell him to = treat (reward)
Dog NOT sitting when you tell him to = no treat
Trial and error learning – operant conditioning
New and appropriate responses to stimuli are acquired through experience
e.g. Foods that taste good or bad
e.g. if a hungry toad captures a bee that stings its tongue, it will learn to avoid future encounters with bees
Trial-and-Error Learning in a Toad
Fig. 25-3
Insight learning: problem solving without trial and error
In certain situations, animals can solve problems suddenly without prior experience
Done by mentally manipulating concepts
Requires high levels of intelligence
Animal Behavior is a Combination of Innate and Learned Behavior
Behaviors are classified as innate or learned to help scientists that study them
Animal behavior is usually a combination of both
E.g. you withdraw your hand when you touch a hot object = innate response
You learn that a stove is hot so you shouldn't touch it
Innate behaviors can be modified by learned behaviors (experience)
e.g. herring gull chicks come to recognize their own parents as they mature
Newly hatched gull chicks peck for food at a red spot on its parents beak (innate)
Within a few days, the chick has learned enough