Animal Behavior

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Animal Behavior
2012-03-07 14:13:50

The different modes of learning and behavior.
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  1. What is the basis for the instructive learning model in the Birdsong paper?
    Where environmental stimulation adds information not previously present either latent in the brain or already realized in the behavioral repertoire.
  2. Whta is the basis for the selective learning model in the Birdsong paper?
    The organism already possesses the information prior to stimulation by the environment.
  3. What are the two stages in the sensorimotor model of song learning in the Birdsong paper?
    A sensory (instructive) phase in which songs are memorized, and a sensorimotor phase in which the bird compares its own song, via auditory feedback, to the memory trace acquired earlier.
  4. What was the hypothesis set for experiment in the Birdsong paper?
    Song matching is achieved not by instruction, but by a selective attrition process, occurring at a phase of the life cycle when novel songs can no longer be acquired.
  5. If the process of songbirds was due to selection, what would be the results from their experiment?
    Experimental birds should retain and crystalized their matching type and discard the nonmatching type; the control birds should not acquire the novel type, but instead crystalize one of their previously memorized and produced plastic songs.
  6. What was the species of bird that was used in the experiments of the Birdsong paper?
    Male White-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys) subspecies nuttali and oraintha.
  7. What was the conclusion made in the Birdsong experiment?
    Song-matching dialects in birds can originate by means other than the instructive process of sensorimotor learning. Young sparrows acquire novel songs originally by instruction but lose this ability as they approach sexual maturity.
  8. What are the benefits of being able to identify predation pressures of predatory animals?
    Prey animals would be able to more optimally handle the trade-offs they face in everyday life. They may be able to free up time in order to forage or mate.
  9. What is the major idea that comes from Chivers's experiment with the damselflies?
    How to distinguish between learning about predators and innate behavioral responses that prey may display toward predators.
  10. What was Chivers's hypothesis of the damselfly larvae?
    That damselfly larvae might learn abouth the potential dangers associated with pike encounters by using chemical cues.
  11. What did the results from the first experiment show of the damselfly larvae being exposed the the water from the tanks of pike preying on damselflies or minnows?
    The results strongly suggest that damselflies innately associate the scent of pike plus damselfly or pike plus minnow with danger, but they make no such association between pike, mealworm, and danger. That is, the damselflies here hadn't learned anything; they simply were predisposed to respond to the smell of pink and prey (minnows and damselflies) as dangerous.
  12. What were the results of the second experiment in which after taking the damselflies and isolating them for two days and then exposing them to water of pike and mealworms?
    The damselfly larvae curtailed their foraging activities which suggests that, based on their earlier experience in the first experiment, damselflies in the second experiment had learned to associate pike plus the scent of any potential prey with danger.
  13. What is individual learning?
    A relatively permanent change in bahavior as a result of an experience. Individual learning differs from social learning in that it does not involve learning from others.
  14. What two ideas can be seen in relationship using the learning definition with the addition of "relatively permanent"?
    Learning and phenotypic plasticity.
  15. What is phenotypic plasticity?
    The ability of an organism to produce different phenotypes depending on environmental conditions.
  16. What is the relationship between learning and phenotypic plasticity if behavior is included as a phenotype?
    All learning is a type of phenotypic plasticity, but not all phenotypic plasticity involves learning.
  17. What are the three types of experiences that can lead to learning?
    Single stimulus, stimulus-stimulus, and response-reinforcer.
  18. What is sensitization?
    Becoming more sensitive to stimuli over time. Rat example: If, over time, the rats become more likely to turn their heads in the directiong of the blue stick.
  19. What is habituation?
    Becoming less sensitive to stimuli over time. Rat example: If the animals become less likely to turn their heads, habituation is said to have taken place.
  20. What are sensitization and habituation classified as in the three types of experiences?
    Single stimulus.
  21. What is Pavlovian or classical conditioning?
    The experimental pairing of a conditioned and unconditioned stimulus.
  22. What is a conditioned stimulus?
    A stimulus that initially fails to elicit a particular response, but comes to do so when it is associated with a second (unconditioned) stimulus.
  23. What is an unconditioned stimulus?
    A stimulus that elicits a vigorous response in the absence of training.
  24. What is a conditioned response?
    The learned response to a conditioned stimulus.
  25. What is an appetitive stimulus?
    Any stimulus that is considered positive, pleasant, or rewarding such as food, the presence of a potential mate, a safe haven, and so on.
  26. What is an aversive stimulus?
    Any stimulus that is associated with an unpleasant experience such as shock, noxious odors, and so forth.
  27. What is excitatory conditioning?
    When a conditioned stimulus leads to an action (for example, searching for food or hiding). Positive relation.
  28. What is inhibitory conditioning?
    When a conditioned stimulus suppresses or inhibits behavior. Negative relation.
  29. What is involved with second-order conditioning?
    Once a conditioned response has been learned by pairing an unconditioned stimulus with a conditioned stimulus, a new stimulus is presented before the conditioned stimulus, and if the new stimulus itself eventually elicits the conditioned response then the stimulus has become a conditioned stimulus. Rat example: Blue stick before the cat odor, red light before the blue stick equals the same fear response of hiding.
  30. What are the three types of learnability?
    Overshadowing, blocking, and latent inhibition.
  31. What is overshadowing?
    A situation in which the learned response to an unconditioned stimulus is stronger when it is presented alone versus when it is paired with a second unconditioned stimulus.
  32. What is blocking?
    When an association between an unconditioned stimulus and a response prevents an individual from responding to another stimulus or causes the individual to respond less strongly to the second unconditioned stimulus.
  33. What is latent inhibition?
    The subject has been over exposed to a stimulus and so cannot learn and pair the stimulus with an unconditioned response.
  34. What is instrumental conditioning, also known as operant or goal-directed learning?
    Learning that occurs when a response made by an animal is reinforced by reward or punishment. An animal must undertake some action or response in order for the conditioning process to produce learning.
  35. What is the law of effect?
    A principle that maintains that if a response in the presence of a stimulus is follwed by a satisfying event, the association between the stimulus and the response will be strengthened.
  36. What is an operant response?
    A learned action that an animal makes to change its environment.
  37. What is the central idea of learning that Edward Thorndike and Ivan Pavlov share?
    Aside from the details, the qualitative features of learning are the same in all animals, including man- that is, all animals learn in a fundamentally similar fashion.
  38. What general concepts came from the experiments conducted by Garcia and Koelling?
    The connections between a stimulus and a response have to make sense for learning to occur, and that learning in rats can occur without immediate reinforcement which makes sense from an evolutionary perspective for that in nature, one would expect a delay between the time that a rat consumed a substance and any subsequent negative effect of such consumption.
  39. What are extinction curves and how are they associated with studying memory in animals?
    Graphical representations of the weakening and then ending of paired associations. Experiments looking at extinction curves typically test how long an animal will remember some paired association once the pairing has stopped.
  40. When would optimal forgetting be beneficial or not?
    For example, imagine a forager who is able to remember the location and amount of food in patches. If patches are renewable, then while it may pay to remember the location of a food patch, it doesn't necessarily pay to remember how much food was there the last time you visited, as this might lead to erroneous decisions that are based on outdated information.
  41. What were the hypotheses proposed referring to foraging in groups versus individually learn more quickly by Pascal Carlier and Louis Lefebvre?
    They predicted that individuals who live in groups should learn more quickly than territorial individuals. Ideally, on would like to test this hypothesis in a single species, where natural selection has favored group living in some populations, but solitary living in others.
  42. What were the results of Pascal Carlier and Louis Lefebvre's Zenaida doves concerning groups versus individual learning?
    There was clear evidence that group-living doves learned the task more quickly than did brids from the territorial population. Furthermore, they found that the more difficult the learning task the birds had to solve, the more pronounced the between-population differences.
  43. What are the possible explanations for the between-population differences in learning of the doves?
    • 1.) The animals may have already differed in foraging experience before the experiment, and hence some of the differences they uncovered may have been due to what individuals had experienced, and potentially learned, prior to being brought into the labrotory.
    • 2.) Natural selection may have operated on learning ability across these populations.
  44. What was the purpose of Huntingford and Wright's experiments with the sticklebacks?
    They examined whether between-population differences emerged in terms of how long it took to learn to avoid the side of the tank associated with the heron predation (and food).
  45. What were the results of the experiments conducted by Huntingford and Wright using the sticklebacks?
    Fish from high-predation areas learned the task of avoiding the side with predation more quickly than did fish from predator-free populations.
  46. When do ethologists, behavioral ecologists, and psychologists believe natural selection should be favored over genetic trasmission?
    When the environment an animal lives in changes often, but not too often.
  47. What two assumptions must be taken into consideration when looking at models of lerning versus genetic transmission?
    • 1.) Most models assume that there is some cost to learning, even if it is only a very small cost.
    • 2.) When we speak of learning in such models we are referring to the ability to learn being a trait that has an underlying genetic basis.
  48. When is information best passed on by genetic transmission?
    • When the environment rarely changes- and hence the environment that offspring encounter is similar to that of their parents, since such a means of transmission avoids the costs of learning.
    • Also when the evnironment is constantly changing it is favored because there is nothing worth learning because what is learned is completely irrelevant in the next situation. Acting on past experience is worthless, as past experience is of no predictive value.
  49. When is learning favored over genetic transmission?
    In an environment that changes, but not too much. Somewhere in the middle, in between an environment that never changes and one that always changes. The environment is stable enough to favor learning, but no so stable as to favor genetic transmission.
  50. What two sections are present in Stephens model of environmental predictability?
    • 1.) Predictability within the lifetime of the individual.
    • 2.) Predictability between the environment of parents and offspring.
  51. What were the results of the long-tailed tits experiments of Sharp on churr learning?
    • 1.) The calls of foster siblings raised together were about as similar as the calls of biological siblings raised together.
    • 2.) The calls of biological siblings raised apart were dissimilar as the calls of unrelated individuals in nature.
    • 3.) The songs of foster parents and their foster offspring were very similar, whereas the songs of biological parents and their offspring were different when the offspring were raised by foster parents.

    These results all suggest an important role for learning in the development of churr calls.
  52. What are the two components of aggression?
    • Intrinsic factors: Usually refer to traits that correlate with an animal's fighting ability, with the most common of these factors being some measure of size.
    • Extrinsic factors: Include what have come to be known as "winner" and "loser" effects. Winner and loser effects are usually defined as an increased probability of winning an aggressive interaction based on past victories and an increased probability of losing an aggressive interaction based on past losses, respectively.
  53. Are hormones proximate or ultimate factors?
  54. What are glucocorticoids and what is an example?
    • Hormones that play a large role in the stress responses and learning of many animals such as corticosterone. Experimental work shows that not only do glucocorticoids have an effect on learning and memory in adult animals, but that when pregnant female rats are stressed, and glucocorticoid levels rise, the offspring of such females show high levels of anxiety and perform suboptimally in learning tests.
    • They cross the "blood-brain" boundary and enter the brain where they can affect emotional state and cognitive abilities. They bind to receptors in the hippocampal section of the brain.