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Lecture 1 (Chapter 3 - Jan7) - PSYCH 2TT3

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McMaster University
Brett Beston

Psych 2TT3 2013 Lecture 1 – January 7, 2013 Chapter 3 – Proximate Factors Animal Behaviour  Class Discussion – Characteristics of Animals o Immune system o Neural structures o Consume other organisms o Instinct o Movement o There is adult maturation – aged body form i.e. o Communication adults look different than babies  Animals (Kingdom Animalia) – one of the 3 kingdoms of multicellular organisms  Grebe Clip o Dance to assess mate – shows characteristics and physical abilities  True or False o Mothers speak to different aged children the same way?  False  Haden – mothers use same conversation styles (elaborative or repetitive) with different aged children o Few students will confess to ruining a computer program if they didn’t do it  False  Kassin and Kiechel – found that 69% of students in their study falsely confessed to ruining a computer program and signed a written confession o Most individuals will notice if a person they are talking to is switched to another person mid-conversation  False  Simons and Levin – found that 47% of participants in one study and 33% of participants in a second study noticed that the person changed to a different person mid-way through their conversation  Our visual system flickers moment by moment and visual memories fill in blank spaces  Our perception allows us to see a relatively clear image  We perceive less than we think How do we depend on animals?  How do animals affect the apples we eat? o Pollution o Dispersal o Contamination/pests o The flowers on apple trees require pollination o Several insect species feed on apples (worms; which are insect larvae) o Can use other insects instead of pesticide  Several insect species feed on flies and larvae  Eg/ Parasitoid wasps  Fly learning and human mental health o Memory-enhancing drugs and the treatment of mental retardation in humans o Genetic therapy o Video “A Gene You Won’t Forget”  Fruit fly DNA – similar to humans  Tim Tulley – memory enhancement  Several dozen flies in contraption lined with several electrical coils  Slight shock to feet (low current)  Chemical scent released  See if flies create association with scent and experience (shock)  Given option of going through two tubes; one has no scent, one has the scent  Long term memory of odor-shock presentation – fly must practice repeatedly  10 “training sessions” without interval between  no LT memory  15 minute rest interval between “training sessions” is necessary  Kreb gene inserted into fly – formed association after 1 training session  Kreb Gene in humans – transfers ST memory to LT memory, acts as a “switch”  If Kreb gene can be targeted with a drug and “move switch to closer to on” – can have better memory  Similar mechanisms between flies and humans (regarding the way we learn)  Classical conditioning and learning occurs in flies  Intervals and not cramming Uses of animal-behaviour research  Entertainment (pets, zoos, safaris, nature programs on TV)  Model systems for human applications  Protection of rare, endangered animals  Control of pests and damage-reduction  Birds and Airplanes o Collisions between wildlife and aircraft have resulted in the loss of over 400 aircraft since 1950, and over 100 human lives since 1995 o Collisions between aircraft and birds cost the aviation industry over $1.2 billion per year o In Canada, over 800 bird strike incidents are reported each year o Bird-Airplane Collision – most airports employ control teams that do research on and run programs for reducing bird collision 1 Psych 2TT3 2013  Release other birds that is predatory to migratory birds o Research in Israel has reduced bird-aircraft collisions and damage by ~85%; saved human and bird life and over US $400 million per year o All pilots required to take 6 months course to reduce aircraft-bird collisions; study migration pattern of birds Chapter 3: Proximate Factors Why do animals do what they do?  How do sea turtles navigate the ocean to lay their eggs on the same beach where they were hatched?  How do honeybees know when the hive needs more food?  Animal behaviour asks what, why and how  Animal behaviour = ethology o Ethologists – scientists who study animal behaviour  Jane Goodall Scientific Approaches in Animal Behaviour Research  Ethologists do not attempt to describe why an animal does a behaviour before describing what the animal is doing o Eg/ two gophers interacting with each other, rolling and hopping around, running to and from each other  Observed behaviour can be interpreted as many different things  Play  Mating rituals  Aggression, defending territory How to determine why – an action pattern  Action patters are complex behaviours that are always repeated the same way by a species of animal o Action patterns are stereotyped – they occur the same way each time and through to completion o Only then do we attempt to determine why a behaviour is being done Niko Tinberg  Pioneer in the field of animal behaviour  Observed animals in their natural conditions, then manipulated, or varied the conditions to see how the animals responded  Observed how beewolfs find its next among other beewolf nests o Find area rich in pollen that is far from nest o Beewolfs would circle its nest in an ever-widening circle before flying away to hunt  action pattern o After beewolf flew off, Tinbergwould move certain landmarks around the nest o When the beewolf returns it was disoriented  Tinberg has to describe and investigate what the organism was doing before attempting to explain why Scientific Approaches in Animal Behaviour Research  From a scientific approach, explain why songbirds sing o Females don’t often sing; can create male defense song, male will think intruder is coming and will return to next, female will jump off eggs and male will land Ultimate and Proximate Perspectives Scientific Approaches  Function (why) vs. mechanism (how)  Ultimate vs. proximate mechanisms o Proximate – close to; beside; responsible for producing behaviour or triggers a change in behaviour (a trigger)  Conceptual pathway dealing with immediate causation o Ultimate – what is the function of this behaviour, what is it doing for the animal in the environment  Conceptual pathway centering on forces that have shaped a trait over evolutionary time  Adaptive significance vs. machinery (genetics, physiology, neurobiology, endocrinology)  Example – plumage color in male house finches o Plumage variation between males and females and among males o Adaptive significance of red plumage; generation of red coloration o Males more colorful than females o Proximate Mechanisms; What? How?  There is coloration in males  Red coloration comes from carotenoid pigments ingested in food  Choosing to eat more carotenoid-rich food results
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