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 Study of
• Behavior is what an animal does and how it does it
• Behaviors have both ultimate and proximate causes
• Certain stimuli trigger innate behaviors called fixed
  action patterns
• Learning is experience based modification of behavior
• Rhythmic behaviors sync. Activities with temporal
  changes in the environment
• Environmental cues guide movement
• Sociobiology places social behavior in an evolutionary
• Competitive social behaviors often represent contests for
• Mating behavior relates directly to an animals fitness
• Communication
• Inclusive fitness can account for most altruistic behavior
Babies make noise when no one is
• Trying to fit their vocalizations to internal
• Eventually turn into complex sounds
• Communication is the result of genetic
  cues modified during development by
  environmental factors
• Bird song works like this too
        Bird songs vs. calls
• Long vs. Short, arbitrary distinction
• Crows have more than 20 different calls
• Ludwig van Beethoven, for example,
  included imitations of the Nightingale,
  Quail and Cuckoo in his Symphony No. 6
  (the Pastoral).
• Pink Floyd's 1969 albums More and
what an animal does and how it does it

• Study of animal behavior is as old as we
  – Need it to hunt
  – Cave art a study of behavior?
  – Domestication: control of behavior
 Early 1900s – Ethology becomes
         formal discipline
• Due to work of 3 ethologists
  – K. Lorenz studied waterfowl and other
  – N. Tinbergen studied gulls and other
  – K. Von Frisch studied communication in bees
     Nothing in biology makes sense
      except in the light of evolution
• Natural
  selection is going
 on so animals have to
 maximize their fitness
  – Recall fitness doesn’t
    exactly mean the
  – How we feed
  – What mate we choose
 Genetic component of behavior
• If genes weren’t involved
  behavior wouldn’t be
  subject to natural
  selection and wouldn’t
  change over time
• Genes set up the neural
  network that lets us learn.
• Behavioral ecology:
  animals increase fitness
  by optimal behavior
   – Best explanation for the
     Studying genetic components of
• Can study twins: If Jacob is
  smart is Mack also?
• Can study adoptees. If your
  real parents were alcoholics but
  your adopted parents are
                                         Not really twins, but hey.
  teetotalers what will you be?
• Some example studies
  – Novelty seeking personality, ear
    wiggling, perfect pitch
  – propensity for
• Lovebirds show
  innate behavior
  modified by
  Behaviors have both ultimate
     and proximate causes
• Ultimate cause: Why did this
• Ultimate causation - historical
• Explains why a behavior
• Study by measuring influence
  on survival or reproduction
• Proximate cause: How did this happen?
• Proximate causation - immediate causes
  – Explains how behavior works - what
    stimulates behavior to occur
  – Study by measuring or describing the stimuli
    that elicit behavior
  – Internal - physiological events (hormones,
    nervous system)
  – External - environmental stimuli
      Example - bird migration
                            Proximate causes
• Ultimate causes -            External stimuli-
  birds that migrate           changes in
  have a selective             daylength
                               Internal stimuli -
  advantage over birds         hormone levels
  that don't/didn't,
  selected for over time,
  could be due to long
  term climate changes,
  glaciation, disease,
  taking advantage of
  food sources, etc.
     Components of Behavior
• 2 Components
  – Nature/innate: instinct and genes determine
  – Nurture/learned: experience and learning
    influence behavior
  – Two extremes are not mutually exclusive, but
    work together to influence behavior
   Examples of innate behavior
• egg ejection by
  cuckoos (brood
• freezing behavior of
  nestling birds when
  exposed to
  silhouettes (raptors
  versus waterfowl)
   Components of Innate Behavior
• Components of Innate
• FAP - fixed action pattern,
  all or none response
  – Once started most animals
    will finish activity even if new
    stimuli show the activity to be
  – Sign stimulus - causes
    release of FAP
     • Usually obvious aspect of
Sticklebacks attack red
   We’re sensitive to some stimuli
        more so than others
• Frog’s are sensitive to movement of prey
  – Will starve if surrounded by dead/unmoving
• Supernormal stimulus: artificial stimuli that
  elicit a stronger response
  – Oystercatchers will rather incubate a giant
    model of an egg instead of the real thing
          Learned behavior
• Learning: modification of behavior in
  response to specific experiences
      Learning vs. Maturation
• Doing something faster doesn’t mean
  you’ve learned
• Experiment: they kept baby birds from
  flapping their wings until they should be
  old enough to fly and they flew normally
  and immeadiately.
        Learning: Habituation
• Loss of
  responsiveness to
  unimportant stimuli
  or stimuli that don’t
  provide appropriate
• Banner blindness in
  web design

• Lorenz’s study
• Chuck Jones study
• Salmon spawn back to
  stream of their birth from
   – Olfactory imprinting

• Critical period: happens
  to young and adults
       Conservation issues
• minimize/eliminate human presence while
  raising California Condors
           Classical conditioning
• Associative learning: one
  stimulus goes with another,
  the roar goes with the lion
• Pavlov married the concepts
  of feeding and the sound of a
  bell in his dog’s mind
• Alpert Watson conditioned an
  11 month old orphan named
  Alpert to fear rats
• California Sea Slug  has
  20,000 neurons but can be
  habituated, and sensitized
• Method’s useful for dealing
  with phobias
             Learned helplessness
•   Results from inescapable
•   continued failure may inhibit
    somebody from experiencing
•   Experiment: A dog had earlier
    been repeatedly conditioned to
    associate a sound with electric
    shocks didn’t try (later in another
    setting) to escape the electric
    shocks after that sound and a
    flash of light was presented, even
    though all the dog would have had
    to do is jump over a low divider.
    The dog didn't even try to avoid
    the "aversive stimulus"; the dog
    had previously "learned" that
    nothing it did mattered.
       Learned helplessness
• people doing mental tasks in the presence
  of noise.
• Given a switch that would turn off the
  noise, performance improved, even
  though subject rarely bothered to turn off
  the noise.
• being aware of the ability to have control
  was enough to substantially counteract its
  distracting effect.
      Evidence of optimism?
• Not all of the dogs became helpless.
• About 1/3 of the 150 dogs tried to find
  ways out of unpleasant experiences even
  if they previously had no control.

     I’m an optimistic Steeler Fan
        Operant conditioning
• Trial and error learning
• B.F. Skinner’s Skinner Box: rat in box with
  lever. Push the lever & food comes out. It
  learns to push the lever.
• Acetycholine is released through cerebral
  cortex as we try things
• In nature: good / bad tastes
  – Remember genes tell us what will taste good
    and bad, we learn from there
                Observational Learning
• “watch me…”
• Bandura’s Bobo doll
  experiment: kids who
  watched adults beat
  up doll also beat up

•Kid watched Beavis start a fire
•Started fire
•Cartoon makers are now careful to
not create copyable behavior.
• Activity with no goal, but
  is similar to goal-directed
• Risky behavior
• “practice” hypothesis play
  = learning
   – But do they really get
• “exercise” hypothesis
   – Fat babies aren’t going to
     bring home the bacon
              Insight Learning
• Getting it right the first
  time with no prior
• Corvidae: Crows,
  ravens, Jays can do
                 Animal Cognition
• Cognition: Ability to be aware
  and make judgments about
  your environment.
• Are nonhuman animals
    – Conscious?
    – Do they feel pain?
    – Are they humiliated when we
      dress them up?
• Are animals just computer
• They can’t think to the ability
  we can
• Is this a question of degrees?
             Cognitive ethology
• In Donald Griffins
  Question of Animal
  Awareness, he argued
  that animals have
  conscious minds like
  those of humans.
• Jane Goodall (distantly
  related to Mr. Chessman)
  studied chimps, saw them
  fake injuries to get
   – Lying = thinking about
     reality and other’s
     perceptions of it
• Jay Gould of Harvard
  reported bee’s forming
  mental maps of foraging
• Most people who spend
  time with animals feel
  that they can think.
• Implications about how
  you view mankind’s
  position in the world.
• Why do you sleep when you
  do? How does your body
  know to wake up?
   – External or internal cues?
   – Can you tell yourself to wake
     up in 4 hours and do so?
• In controlled environments: all
  light, all dark, or twilight
  Humans have an internal clock
  of around 25 hours
• What about long term things?
  If you kept animals in
  controlled environments for
  years would they mate at the
  same time as animals in the
• No doc. Cases of human’s
  dying directly from lack of
     – Maybe from sleep deprived
       caused accidents
     – Studies of people awake for
       10 days shows temporary
       decreases in cog. functions,
       but nothing long term
     – Microsleep
     – Can lead to our ability to
       metabolize glucose 
       cause of diabetes
     – Rats kept alive for 28 days

Bags under eyes: Inheritable
Etiologies: bone structure, pigments, eye ailments, nutrition,
pregnancy, dehydration, circulation
        Fatal Familial Insomnia
• 28 families have it
• Late onset Autosomal dominant:
  50/50 chance of inheritance
• Mutates a protein into a prion
• Causes plaques on thalmus;
  sleep responsible region
• Progression over 2 years: increasing
  insomnia, odd phobias, panic attacks,
  hallucinations, panic, agitation and
  sweating, dementia, total insomnia and
  sudden death after becoming mute.
  Movement from external cues
• Kinesis: change in activity
  rate in response to stim.
   – “Cold” blooded animals
• Taxis: automatic
  movement towards or
  away from stim.
   – Trout orient so they face
   – Geotaxis: King crab larvae
     orient down toward the earth
• How do gold plovers go
  13,000 km from arctic to
  S. America?
• How do birds find Hawaii
  every year?
• Pilot from landmark to
• Orient yourself on a
  straight line for the trip.
• Navigation  complex
  mental mapping
• Animals navigate like
  sailor from sun and stars
• Indigo Bunting orients
  on North Star 

• Can they sense the
  magnetic field?
• Magnetite a magnetic
  mineral is found in
  heads of some birds,
  abdomens of some
• Nothing’s been firmly

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