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Animal Behavior

  • Ethology is the scientific study of animal behavior.
  • A fixed action pattern (FAP) is an innate, highly stereotypic behavior pattern. The behavior is performed in response to an external stimulus and continued to completion.
  • Learning is the process by which an animal’s behavior and response to stimuli are modified as a result of experience.
  • Habituation is a reduction in response by an animal to repeated exposure to a stimulus.
  • Associative learning occurs when a certain stimulus becomes associated with another stimulus or outcome through experience. Classical conditioning and operant conditioning are types of associative learning.
  • Imprinting is learning that occurs during a particular age or stage of life that causes a behavior that is independent of the outcome.
  • Social behavior is the interaction among two or more individuals of the same species. Types of social learning include cooperation, agnostic behavior, dominance hierarchies, territoriality and altruism.
  • A stimulus transmitted from one individual to another is a signal. The exchange of signals is communication.
  • Foraging is food-obtaining behavior and includes finding, storing and hunting for food.

Animal Behavior

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Introduction to Animal Behavior 0:05
    • Introduction to Animal Behavior
    • Ethology
    • Proximate Cause & Ultimate Cause
  • Fixed Action Pattern 3:07
    • Sign Stimulus
    • Releases and Example
    • Exploitation and Example
  • Learning 8:56
    • Habituation, Associative Learning, and Imprinting
  • Habituation 10:03
    • Habituation: Definition and Example
  • Associative Learning 11:47
    • Classical
    • Operant Conditioning
    • Positive & Negative Reinforcement
    • Positive & Negative Punishment
    • Extinction
  • Imprinting 17:47
    • Imprinting: Definition and Example
  • Social Behavior 20:12
    • Cooperation
    • Agonistic
    • Dorminance Heirarchies
    • Territoriality
    • Altruism
  • Communication 26:56
    • Communication
  • Mating 32:38
    • Mating Overview
    • Promiscuous
    • Monogamous
    • Polygamous
    • Intrasexual
    • Intersexual Selection
  • Foraging 36:08
    • Optimal Foraging Model
    • Foraging
  • Movement 39:12
    • Kinesis
    • Taxis
    • Migration
  • Lunar Cycles 42:02
    • Lunar Cycles
  • Example 1: Types of Conditioning 43:19
  • Example 2: Match the Following Terms to their Descriptions 44:12
  • Example 3: How is the Optimal Foraging Model Used to Explain Foraging Behavior 45:47
  • Example 4: Learning 46:54

Transcription: Animal Behavior

Welcome to

In today's lesson, we are going to be talking about animal behavior starting with an overview of animal behavior and the definition.0002

At its most basic level, animal behavior is a physiological response to a stimulus.0010

For example, if an animal sees a predator, it will cause that animal’s nervous system to0017

activate muscles in such a way that the animal will protect themself or evade the danger.0022

Another example: the presence of an individual from the same species who is the opposite sex can trigger courtship rituals such as a mating dance.0029

Conversely, through evolutionary processes, animal behavior can influence physiology.0041

For example, if through mating behavior, a particular color pattern is favored by potential mates during a display or courtship ritual.0049

That color pattern will tend to be maximized or optimized over time through natural selection.0058

Ethology is the scientific study of animal behavior.0067

And in 1973, Karl von Frisch, Konrad Lorenz and Niko Tinbergen shared the Nobel prize for strides that they made in our understanding of animal behavior.0072

So, I will give you the three names: von Frisch, Konrad Lorenz and Niko Tinbergen.0084

And I will be mentioning some of their studies as we talk about different examples of types of animal behavior in this lecture.0094

There are two ways to think about animal behavior. One is that we can consider the proximate cause.0103

So, the proximate cause of a behavior is the immediate stimulus, so proximate cause is the immediate stimulus for a particular behavior.0111

What causes an animal to execute a behavior? What triggers a herd of zebra to run from a cheetah?0125

What causes an earthworm to burrow into the soil? What is the immediate reason?0134

We can also look at behavior from a longer view, which is the ultimate cause.0140

What is the benefit to the animal in behaving a certain way? What evolutionary processes have led to this behavior?0148

And we are going to be looking at three general areas of behavior, so three broad classes of behavior.0158

One is fixed action pattern. The second is learning, and the third group is social behavior; and we are going to start now with fixed action pattern.0167

A fixed action pattern is an innate highly stereotypic behavior pattern.0191

It is the simplest type of behavior, and it is performed and continued to completion regardless of how useless the behavior may ultimately end up being.0198

So, even if the behavior is not useful, once it is triggered, it is just going to finish out.0208

And this behavior is performed in response to an external stimulus.0214

Fixed action patterns are initiated by a sign stimulus, so a sign stimulus triggers the behavior. It triggers the action.0221

If the sign stimulus is given by another individual of the same species, it is known as a releaser.0236

So, a releaser is a sign stimulus from a member of the same species.0245

Unlike most animal behaviors that we are going to discuss, fixed action pattern behaviors are not modulated by the environment or by other stimuli.0261

In other words, as I said, the behavior will continue even if it is detrimental in a particular situation.0271

It is going to be triggered. It is going to happen.0277

Some examples of fixed action pattern behavior - so examples - mating dances. In this case, the potential mate is the releaser.0281

Another example is in the classic studies of Niko Tinbergen. He studied a type of fish called stickleback fish, and that is what is shown here.0296

Among stickleback fish, the males have red coloration on their undersides, so on their bellies. The females do not, so the males have this red coloration.0311

Tinbergen noticed that when red trucks would pass by, the sticklebacks started displaying aggressive behavior.0325

So, he went on and studied this, and what he determined is that male sticklebacks pretty much become aggressive or attack whatever has a red color.0333

So, he used models to study this behavior, and he found out if you took a male stickleback fish and exposed it to even in an unrealistic model,0344

so something that a wooden model that does not even really look like a fish, but it has this red bit of color on its underside,0357

the male stickleback fish will become aggressive.0365

However, even if you expose a male stickleback fish to a realistic looking fish model, but there is no red color, it will not attack.0369

So, the stimulus in this case is actually the red color.0379

In addition, studies were done on the greylag goose, and this is another example of fixed action pattern.0387

This type of geese actually will roll a displaced egg back to the nest, so if one of their eggs ends up out of the nest, they will roll it back.0399

Well, they will even do the same behavior to an object that is similar to an egg even if it is clearly not an egg.0407

So, if you give one of these geese an extremely oversized round object, they will still go ahead and roll that back to the nest.0417

Again, it is a fixed action pattern.0428

Another example: some species of moths drop to the ground if they perceive0431

a sound similar to a bat's echolocation signal because they think a predator is coming.0436

Now, because fixed action patterns are predictable, they can be exploited so, exploitation by another species of a fixed action pattern.0442

And one form of this is code-breaking, and what code-breaking is in this context is replication of the sign stimuli, for example, brood parasitism.0456

Example of code-breaking and exploitation of fixed action patterns is what is called brood parasitism. This is when a bird lays its egg in another bird's nest.0479

And it does this knowing that the parent from the other nest, the nest where the eggs are laid in, will be essentially forced to feed its chick.0496

It will in response to this stimulus of the eggs and then, the chick being born that the0510

essentially foster parent will just behave in this way of bringing food to the chicks.0520

So, this is brood parasitism, a bird lays its eggs in another bird's nest.0524

The second type of behavior we are going to talk about is more complex, and that is learning.0532

Learning is the process by which an animal’s behavior and the response to stimuli are modified as a result of experience.0538

So, unlike fixed action pattern that there is just a stimulus-response, stimulus-response, here, behavior can be modified.0549

Long lived animals have a greater capacity for learning simply because they have a longer length of time in which to learn.0559

Also, a larger brain increases ones capacity to learn.0569

So, longer lived animals may rely more on learning, whereas, those animals with shorter life spans rely more on fixed action pattern behavior.0573

There are three types of learning that we are going to discuss right now, and those are habituation, associative learning and then, finally, imprinting.0593

Beginning with habituation, habituation is a reduction in response by an animal to repeated exposure to a stimulus.0604

And this is one of the simplest forms of learning. You can think of it as an animal getting used to a situation.0615

A good example is the use of decoy owls for deterring pigeons or other predatory birds can be used.0624

So, if you put a decoy out, the pigeons will eventually realize that the decoy is harmless, and they will not respond to it.0642

So, the pigeons learn decoy is harmless, and will not respond.0654

What we say is that the pigeons have become habituated, the pigeons are now habituated to the stimulus.0665

Now, if the stimulus is removed, so if the decoy is removed and then, brought back later, the pigeons may begin to respond again,0674

or if the decoy is moved to a new place or even replaced with a slightly different decoy.0684

So, if you change the stimulus, remove it and then, later put it back or move the stimulus to a different location,0690

the animals may again begin to respond and no longer be habituated to that stimulus.0697

So, this is a very simple type of learning. A second type of learning is associative learning.0705

Associative learning occurs when a certain stimulus becomes associated with either another stimulus or with an outcome through experience.0712

So, associative learning, there is a stimulus. It becomes associated with a second stimulus or with an outcome.0724

And there are two types of associative learning that we are going to discuss, and these are classical conditioning and operant conditioning.0731

Classical conditioning is also sometimes called Pavlovian conditioning after Ivan Pavlov who performed studies on associative learning in the 1920s.0741

So, classical conditioning is the linking of one stimulus to another stimulus.0757

And you may have heard of Pavlov's dogs, and what Pavlov did is he rang a bell when he would feed the dogs.0768

And dogs salivate when they are presented with food.0778

So, example is Pavlov's dogs, so dogs salivate when they are presented with food.0783

And what Pavlov did is when he would feed the dogs that he was studying, he would ring a bell.0789

So, every time he would feed the dog, he would ring a bell.0795

Then, eventually, the dogs would salivate when the bell was rung even if there was no food present.0798

So, the dogs learned to associate the bell with food. So, they are associating one stimulus, food, with a second stimulus which is a bell.0807

This is one type of associative learning.0821

A second type of associative learning is operant conditioning, and this is sometimes called trial and error learning.0825

In this case, there is a link between an outcome and a certain action, so outcome and an action become linked.0837

Classic example is studies by B.F. Skinner, and Skinner used rats in his study; and what he did is he presented rats with a lever that releases food.0857

Now, at first, the rat might accidentally activate the lever, but after accidentally pressing the lever a few times and food coming out,0872

the rat will begin to associate the action, which is pushing the lever with an outcome which is food and then, eventually, purposefully, to press the lever.0881

There are some variants of operant conditioning.0900

One variant is positive reinforcement. This is what I just gave an example of with the rats and the food.0905

Action results in a beneficial outcome, so it is rewarded. Action results in a beneficial outcome.0913

A second variant is negative reinforcement, and this is when an action results in the removal of a negative stimulus.0931

For example, if there is an annoying buzzer that is just making a buzzing noise,0955

but when you push the button, the buzzer stops, that would be negative reinforcement.0960

So, it is taking away something bad, whereas, positive reinforcement is giving something good.0965

Positive punishment: in this case the behavior triggers a negative stimulus. The result is going to be to reduce the behavior.0975

So, if someone pushes a button and an annoying buzzer goes off, they will not want to push that button anymore.0996

Negative punishment is when the behavior removes a positive stimulus.1006

So, if the rat pushed the button and then, it took the food away, so it is when behavior removes a positive stimulus.1018

This is also going to reduce the behavior, whereas, reinforcement is going to increase the behavior.1036

Punishments are going to decrease the behavior.1046

Extinction refers to the fact in this context that the behavior is lost if not reinforced.1050

A third type of learning is imprinting, and this is learning that occurs at a particular age or stage of life.1069

And it results in a behavior that - as with fixed action pattern - is independent of outcome, so it is triggered.1078

It is going to happen whether or not the outcome is beneficial, and it usually continues on again to completion even if the behavior is useless.1087

The classic example is that of geese or duck hatchlings following the first moving object that they see after hatching.1098

The intended effect is that the hatchlings will see their mother first and follow her around, which is a good idea because she is necessary for their survival.1108

Now, in the absence of the mother, the hatchlings will imprint on or follow a person,1118

a moving box or any other moving object that the hatchling is initially exposed to.1126

And here, in this picture, it shows an example of ducklings following their mother.1132

And they have probably imprinted on her and will just follow her around as a type of behavior.1135

Another example is reverse sexual imprinting.1144

Studies have shown that humans who are raised together will tend not to marry individuals that they were raised with.1148

And this effect is particularly strong when among individuals that someone was close to or raised with at a very young age before the age of six.1156

The evolutionary benefit here would be that genetic diversity is encouraged.1170

Now, I mentioned three types of learning, and I want to briefly also mention insight or cognition.1177

And these are the highest forms of learning, and they involve reasoning.1187

So, although we focused on three other forms of learning, we should also just be aware of this type of learning, as well.1204

The next type of behavior we are going to talk about is a broad class called social behavior.1213

And social behavior is the interaction among two or more animals of the same species.1218

There are five types that we will be covering: cooperation, agonistic behavior, dominance hierarchies, territoriality and altruism.1225

First, starting out with cooperation, cooperation is behavior among a group of animals1239

that allows the individuals to achieve more success than they would on their own.1248

An example of cooperation is a pack of wolves hunting, so a pack of wolves can cooperate to hunt a deer.1284

If that hunt was attempted by an individual wolf, there is probably little chance of success.1291

The second type of behavior is agonistic behavior.1299

And this is aggressive behavior that will prevent other individuals from having access to resources like food, territory, shelter or mates.1305

And it is a result of competition, so I am just going to put competition.1316

This behavior can result in actual physical violence, injury and even death of an animal.1329

But often, it is more of a display of aggression, somewhat even ritualistic.1336

For example, here is shown a silver back gorilla, and they have agonistic behavior to warn others by beating on their chest.1346

Monkeys sometimes drag around branches or wave them. Some animals bury their teeth or growl.1356

Horses, stallion might rear up on its hind legs.1365

All of these behaviors are shows of aggression, although, they may not result in actual physical violence.1368

Typically, these behaviors have lasting effects.1376

If an individual defends its territory against another individual, the animal that has been warned off is likely to stay away.1381

It is not just a onetime thing. It has been warned off.1392

The territory has been defended, and then, this gorilla may not be bothered by another gorilla that it has warned off through this behavior.1394

Dominance hierarchies are essentially a pecking order. In this case, individuals in a group of animals behave according to a certain ranking.1405

The higher ranking animals are able to dominate individuals with a lower ranking.1431

The result is that the higher ranking animals have first access to food, territory and get the most fit mate.1438

The next social behavior is territoriality, and this is the defense of a geographic area.1452

And this defense can be by an individual or against other individuals, or a group can defend its territory, as well.1469

So, single individual might have a territory, or a group might have a territory.1480

And the purpose of defending the territory is to have exclusive use of the food in the territory or the land for breeding and rearing one's young.1484

The final type of social behavior that we are going to talk about is altruism.1496

And this is behavior that puts an individual at risk for the benefit of other individuals of that same species.1505

This type of behavior may be favored in terms of evolution because it results in more individuals1530

surviving compared to if the individual did not take an action that might be detrimental to him.1537

Therefore, the gene, then, gets passed on to favor this type of behavior.1547

And it has been realized that this behavior is more beneficial to an individual if those who are being benefited by the action.1553

The other animals being benefited by one animal's sacrifice are more closely related.1565

For example if a predator comes and an animal gives a warning cry, that animal is calling attention to itself.1571

So, the predator might attack it, but he is benefiting the group by warning them off.1577

And altruistic behavior among those who are closely-related is called kin selection.1583

So, it is a type of natural selection called kin selection that would select for altruistic behavior.1595

So, the kin of the individual with this type of behavior are more likely to survive and reproduce.1601

And they are going to perpetuate the genetic tendency, then, for individuals to be altruistic.1607

Alright, we talked about social behavior, and now, we are going to talk about communication, another very important type of behavior in animals.1614

So, communication, just starting out with some definitions, a stimulus that is transmitted from one individual to another individual is a signal.1625

So, a stimulus transmitted from one individual to another is called a signal.1640

The exchange of signals is communication, so communication is the exchange of signals.1666

The signals can be verbal like a primate that screeches to warn others of danger. It can be tactile, so physical contact.1682

So, signals can be verbal. They can be tactile.1692

It can be by smell, so chemical communication, for example, pheromones, which we briefly discussed in the endocrinology section.1701

These are substances that are released by one individual in order to provide a signal to other individuals.1712

And they can mark a territory, or they can help to attract a potential mate.1720

One very interesting example of communication is the waggle dance of honeybees.1727

And Karl von Frisch studied communication in honeybees and figured out how this waggle dance works.1733

So, if a foraging bee, the bee leaves the hive, it goes around, scouts out things, finds food,1742

that foraging bee returns to the hive and does a special dance to tell the other bees in the hive where the food is located.1751

So, the bees do not all just follow this bee over to the food source. They will actually have their own instructions.1758

They can leave on their own and find the food source.1764

So, what happens is the forging bee shows up back to the hive and lands on a vertical surface in the hive, so this is showing a vertical surface.1767

This is up towards the sky, down towards the ground, and the bee lands on here.1777

He does a figure-eight-kind-of-dance. It makes, sort of a figure eight, and it has two phases.1782

During this waggle phase, he, sort of, moves back and forth, waggles.1790

And then, there is a return phase where he will come back and return,1794

waggle along again, return this way, waggle along, return, so waggle phase-return phase.1798

Now, the longer the duration of the waggle phase, the farther the food is from the hive.1805

So, if he spends a longer time doing the waggle part that means farther away food. Shorter time, food is closer.1811

The bee gives directions to the other members of the hive by indicating the location of the food relative to the sun.1821

So, here is a vertical line, an imaginary vertical line on this surface where the bee has landed.1835

The angle that this bee does the dance, the line that he does the dance on, this angle, let's say that it is 40 degrees.1843

Well, that would be this angle from the vertical to the line along where the dance is performed is the same angle as from the sun to the food source.1859

So, this would be 40 degrees.1870

So, the bees leave the hive, and they know, figure out where the sun is, and go 40 degrees to the right of that.1871

If the food source were on the other side of the sun, let's say 20 degrees, let's say the food was over here, and it was 20 degrees,1881

then, the bee would do the dance along a line to the left 20 degrees.1889

If the food source was right in line with the sun, the bee would just do the dance along the vertical.1898

If the food source was in the opposite direction from the sun, the bee would do its dance downward, so he would dance towards this way.1906

If it was over to the side, then, he would do the dance or she would do the dance at an angle1915

that would be in the opposite direction from the sun and then, at the same angle relative to the sun.1928

So, this is pretty sophisticated communication where a bee is able to convey pretty precise1936

information about the location of food to other members of the hive through this dance.1944

So, communication comes in a lot of different forms among animals.1949

The next topic of animal behavior that we are going to discuss is mating, and various behaviors are performed to attract mates.1956

Some mating behaviors include displays like a male peacock's feathers, sounds, the song of a bird and various other courtship rituals.1966

Some terminology about mating: if we say that a species is promiscuous, what we mean is that these animals have various mates.1994

And they do not stay with their mate for a lasting period of time.2008

Animals that are monogamist, the mates stay together for long periods.2014

Polygamist means that there is one male plus multiple females or one female and multiple males.2029

When we talked about natural selection, I brought up some terms intrasexual selection and2051

intersexual selection that I am going to review here because they apply to this lesson, as well.2057

Intrasexual selection is selection within a sex.2063

For example, in a pride of lions, there will be one male and three or four females. A larger pride might have two males and then, more females, as well.2074

Now, a larger male would have an advantage over other males who are smaller and try to challenge him to take over that pride.2086

So, essentially, males are competing against other males and the selection eventually is going to be for larger size.2096

But, it is males competing against other males in this case, so within a sex.2104

Now, intersexual selection is a bit different. In this case, one sex chooses a mate of the other sex based on certain characteristics.2109

For example, a male bird with brighter feathers may be more likely to attract a mate.2135

So, the male bird has the characteristic of bright feathers, and the female bird is doing the selecting.2143

And therefore, those males with brighter feathers are more likely to mate and produce offspring and pass on that gene for brighter feathers.2150

Here, the selection is within a sex, bigger male wins over smaller male. Here, the female is selecting among the males.2158

A very important type of behavior for survival is foraging behavior, and this is food-obtaining behavior.2171

And it includes finding the food, hunting for it, storing it, anything that has to do with obtaining nutrition.2178

Evolution favors efficient foraging because those who find food will survive, those who do not will not.2186

And then, those who survived passed along their genes at a much higher rate.2194

There is something called the optimal foraging model, and this is an analysis of foraging behavior, so it is analysis of foraging behavior.2200

And it is done from the perspective of cost of finding the nutrition, so cost of finding or obtaining nutrition versus the energy or the value of the food.2218

An animal would be most successful if the cost to benefit ratio here is, the balance of the cost and benefit are maximized for the greatest net benefit.2239

The animal wants the greatest net benefit, the most food, the highest energy nutrition at the lowest cost.2255

Now, talking about what costs are, foraging involves risk.2264

And there is some probability, a particular probability of not finding the food during a particular attempt.2274

So, it is not just as simple as an animal going for the food that has highest energy.2289

That food might be way, way high up in a tree and harder to get to.2295

And they have to expend more energy to get there or take trips up man, many trees to find that food.2298

So, there is a probability an animal would climb up a tree and not find food at all.2303

There is also the risk that the attempt to obtain the food could cause injury or even death.2308

The attempt to find the food could endanger the animal, for example, by exposing it to predators.2316

So, if a rabbit enters the open area to find food, the rabbit is also attacking a risk.2322

Or excuse me. The rabbit is also risking being attacked by a predator like a fox.2328

Taking into account all these factors and coming up with the optimal way to find food, the distance to travel, when to do it, all of that,2334

that is all part of this analysis of the optimal foraging model of how an animal goes about and finding food.2345

Movement is also important to survival. It is a very basic animal behavior, and the simplest method for an animal to move is called kinesis.2354

In this case, the animal moves faster when the environment or stimulus is less desirable2360

and then, stops or slows down when in the desired environment.2363

So, if something starts to rain. Let's say it starts to rain, and that is unfavorable to the animal.2377

The animal might just quickly start moving, and then, hopefully, he will end up under some kind of shelter, under a tree or something.2403

And then, when it gets to a favorable environment, that is dry, he is not being rained on, then, he will stop moving, so that is kinesis.2411

Taxis is more complex. This is directed movement towards a target or a stimulus or away from a stimulus.2418

For example, a predator could be running toward a prey.2438

A bird could be flying to its nest, that could be taxis, or a prey could be running to a cave to hide or running up a tree, so it is running towards something.2445

Migration is another type of movement, and this is a long distance movement; and it is typically associated with the seasons.2456

And the purpose of this is to avoid inhospitable weather and or to seek more desirable locations for food or mating.2482

And there are methods that animals - and often, it is birds, but other animals can migrate, too -2492

use to find their way to an extremely remote location even if they have not been there before.2497

So, they may have never been on a certain route, but they can use sun position, so they navigate via sun position, stars, even the earth's magnetic field.2503

Another influence on behavior in some animals is the lunar cycle.2524

Some species rely on tides, and these follow the lunar cycles for behaviors such as laying eggs.2529

So, here, this shows the intertidal zone, and we are going to talk about this when we talk about biomes, but this is the intertidal zone.2539

And during a full moon or a new moon, tidal movement is at its maximum.2546

Now, an animal may take advantage of having the maximum amount of land exposed at low tide.2564

The amount might be what it is seeking out, or being able to reach a higher part of the beach at high tide,2571

or if there is a larger range of water movement between low tide and high tide that can maximize the dispersion of hatchlings.2581

So, various ways in which the behavior of the tides can influence animal behavior.2588

Now, that we have had a discussion of various types of animal behavior, we are going to do some examples to reinforce the material.2595

Example one: a dog owner uses an electric can opener every evening to open a can of food for his dog's dinner.2601

The dog runs to the owner at the sound of a can opener even if no can is actually being opened.2609

This behavior is an example of what type of conditioning? Well, let's look at what is happening here.2617

One stimulus is being associated with another stimulus.2624

So, what has happened is the dog has learned to associate the stimulus of the sound of the can opener with the stimulus of dog food.2627

So, this idea of associating one stimulus with another stimulus is classical conditioning, so the type of conditioning is classical.2638

Example two: match the following terms to their descriptions.2654

One, altruism: directed movement towards a specific target- not correct.2658

Behavior that puts an individual at risk in exchange for benefiting other members of the species- that is correct.2666

That is the description of altruistic behavior.2674

OK, two, fixed action pattern: well, it is not directed movement towards a specific target, so let’s go on.2679

An innate highly stereotypic behavior pattern,2687

or learning that occurs during a particular age or stage of life that causes a behavior that is independent of the outcome.2692

Well, this is not a type of learning. It is just innate.2698

One term you might hear, then, is instinct, and that is what fixed action pattern is. It is just an innate behavior.2704

There is a stimulus. There will be a specific response elicited.2710

Imprinting: well, imprinting is not directed movement.2718

What imprinting is, is learning that occurs during a particular age or stage that causes behavior that is independent of the outcome.2721

The example I gave was the ducklings imprinting on the first moving object they see and then, following that object around: D.2729

Finally, taxis is directed movement towards a specific target or stimulus.2740

Example three: how is the optimal foraging model used to explain a particular foraging behavior?2748

So, what the optimal foraging model does is it analyzes foraging behavior from2754

the perspective of cost of finding food versus the energy or value of the food.2768

So, the animal will be most successful if the balance of the cost and benefit is maximized to provide the greatest...2785

The animal is going to want the greatest net benefit, the best food, most nutritious, highest energy at the lowest risk.2795

Risk could include energy expenditure. Risk can also include risk of injury or being attacked by a predator.2802

Example four: a farmer places a model, an owl, in his field to stop birds from eating corn.2815

Initially, the birds will not approach the field.2822

Eventually, the birds ignore the owl model and enter the field at the same rate as when there is no model present.2826

What type of learning does this represent?2833

Well, what has happened is the birds have learned through repeated exposure to the model that the model is not a threat.2835

So, they have become habituated to the model, so this is habituation.2845

And what the farmer could do is put a different model, take the model away, and then, put it back later or even move the model2850

would be ways to get around this habituation, but right now, the birds have habituated because they are no longer responding to the model.2856

So, that concludes this lesson on animal behavior at Educator.com2864