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What are some of the many approaches to studying animal behaviour?
psychology, sociobiology, behavioral ecology, comparative psychology, experimental psychology, ethology, behavioural physiology, neurophysiology
biological/scientific study of behaviour
founder of conditioning
- founder of behaviourism Little albert experiment (made kid afraid of fur)
- conditioning: thought you just need the right stimuli around
- this school of thought turned into behaviorism
- OPERANT CONDITIONING
- right reward
- experimental studies of learning (in lab settings)
developed standardized tests for learning/intelligence in different model species
Founders of ethology
- karl von frisch
- kondrad lorenz
- nikolas Tinbergen
Karl Von Frisch
- A father of ethology
- Animals live in a sensory world that may be very different from out own
- -bees blind to red as color
- -polarized light, sense CO2 and relative humidity
- -pheromones as earths magnetic field
- (so animals are stimulated by different things)
- sophisticated communication possible even in insects
- * honey bee dance, round, waggle
- a father of ethology
- *observational approach
- observation, description, deduction
(really described what animals do)
- a father of ethology
- *observation and experimental approach
- the study of insects (wasps map enviro)
- development of general principles
Nature/nurture and instincts/learning
- NURTURE or LEARNING:
- -Pavlov, Watson, skinner, bitterman: researched learning and found similar properties in various animals
- NATURE OR INSTINCTS
- Lorenz, Tinbergen, von Frisch: researched 'instincts' and found species specific and apparently innate behaviour patterns
- (how animals learn in a controlled environment)
The Ethological tradition:
its origins, aim, focus, methods
- origin: Darwinian observational anecdotal natural history
- aim: understanding natural behavior, as an integral part of natural history
- focus: consistent species-specific behaviors and their relation to evolution and natural history
- methods: anecdotal observation, later controlled rigorous observation and experimentation, all predominantly in the animals natural habitat
The comparative psychology tradition:
origns, aim, focus, methods
- origins: psychology and philosophy
- aim: understanding the processes controlling behavior
- focus: consistent features and principles of behavioural organization, emphasis on learning
- methods: highly controlled lab studies, almost exclusively of learning, in a handful of example species (pigeons, rat, monkey)
In the 60s and 70s what traditions started to merge?
- ethology + comparative psychology = cognitive ethology
- ethology + neurobiology = neuroethology, behavioiral physiology
- neurobiology + comparative psychology = neuropsychology, neurophsycopharmacology, functional neuroanatomy
What are the 2 opposing viewpoints on why animals behave in certain ways?
- Mechanistic (behaviorism):
- - behavior is mechanical
- -most animals are not aware of why or what they do
- (behavior = built that way)
- -animals are aware of what they do/ consequences
- -attributing human-like purpose to animals
- both can be misapplied in a fundamentalist manner
- (SO animals are little people, or animal behave is only mechanical)
- attributing human-like purpose to animals
- -not necessarily bad
****C. Loyd Morgan ****
- early counter to anthropomorphic reasoning
- used only observational skills
- only data gathered by direct experiment and observation could be used to make generalization sand develop theories
- (made laws of animal welfare and behavior)
What was Morgan's Canon****
- *don't interpret animals behavior above simplest of that which makes sense
- "in no case may we interpret an action as the outcome of the exercise of higher psychological faculty if it can be interpreted as the outcome of the exercise of one which stands lower in the psychological scale"
- axiomatic in animal behavioural studies
- invoke only those mental processes necessary to explain the observed behaviour
- very influential in the comparative psychology tradition
Turkey hen takes care of chicks. why? anthropomorphic explanation and behaviorist explanation.
what happens if turkey is dearened?
what happens if speaker playing turkey chick vocalizations is placed on a kitten?
- anthropomorphic: she loves them
- behaviorist explanation: its about conditioning and stimuli. mother responds to chick b/c it gives out right stim for response
- dear turkey: hen ignores or kills chick
- speaker on kitten: turkey mothers kitten
so behavior is a mechanical response to the vocalizations dependent only in auditory stimuli
What is Tinbergen's main Q that gets split into 4?
WHY DO ANIMALS BEHAVE IN CERTAIN WAYS?
What are Tinbergen's 4 questions on animal behaviour?
- Causation: what factors both internal and external cause the behavior to occur
- developmental: how the behavior of the animal changes as it matures (immediate)
- function: how does behavior improve survival and reproductive success?
- phylogeny: how I changed over the course of evolutionary time (not immediate)
?What question was not asked b Tinbergen
What animals perceive, feel and know in relation to their OWN behavior
- father of cognitive ethology
- questioned mechanistic view that non-human animals lack of awareness and purposeful behavior
- traces of awareness and purposefulness should be in animals (they should have phylogenetic history)
Descriptive and experimental research
- Both are important
- Descriptive research: often generates hypotheses that leads to experimental research
- Experimental research: is preceded by complete descriptions and definitions of what animal does
Proximate vs ultimate
ie why do birds sing in the spring?
- proximate causation: daylight
- ultimate causation: optimal time for mating so that breeding falls in season of abundant food
proximate and ultimate perspectives on imprinting in graylag geese
behavior: young geese follow and imprint on their bother
- proximate cause: see stimuli of mother moving away during early critical development stage
- ultimate cause: geese that follow and imprint mother receive more care and learn necessary skills and thus survive better
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