Thursday, November 1, 2007

Animal Behavior (cont...)

today we learned more about animal behaviors. Migration is shown not only in birds but in insects as well. We also learned an interesting fact about migration in that birds navigate their migrations by means of the sun, stars, and magnetic waves. Imprinting shows that learning that occurs during a critical period forms social attachments. Konrad Lorenz studied this with geese. His work has a movie based on it called Fly Away Home here is a clip.

The critical period is the period for the greatest potential learning to take place. Learned behaviors are an association of a stimulus in the environment to a behavior. there are two types of conditioning operant and classical to enforce learned behaviors. Operant condition uses trial and error learning, and association of a behavior with either a punishment or reward. Classical conditioning however assosiates a neutral stimulus with a signifigant stimulus. This type of conditioning is shown in Pavlovs Dogs where pavlov tested salivation in dogs to be associated with a bell by ringing a bell prior to presenting them with food. Habituation is the eventual loss of response to a stimulus once the stimulus happens enough times that the result can be anticipated.
Language is used in all different animals in all different ways in humans we speak, whereas in honey bees they dance to communicate in all different patterns. Some animals communicate via song such as birds and insect some are learned, and some innate. Agnostic behaviors appear violent or hostile but really no harm is generally done, but it is more a test of manhood. Altruistic behavior is when an individual reduces their own fitness for the benefit of the group. Pheromes are chemical signals such as smell used to warn of danger or trigger sex hormones.

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