BIO152H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 17: Blue Jay, Monarch Butterfly, Learning

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23 Nov 2016
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Evolution and behaviour:
Learning
o Modification of behaviour by experience
o Most behaviour involves an interaction between inheritance and learning
o Occurs when behaviour changes in response to specific life experiences
o Is important in species that have large brains and complex social interactions
o For the species, above, FAPs are relatively rare; each individual is capable of a
wide range of behaviour
o Animals learn from interactions they have with other organisms and their
environment
o Associative learning:
o Ex: Blue jay having ingested and vomited monarch butterfly, blue jay has learned
to avoid it
o Classical conditioning: individuals are trained b experience to give same
response to more than one stimulus
o E: Pavlov’s dog
o Operant conditioning: A learning process in which consequences which follow a
response determine whether the behaviour will be repeated. Behaviour has
been reinforced an likely will be repeated
o Learned irrelevance: occurs when an animal learns to ignore the cue
Can animals think?
o Cognition: recognition and manipulation of facts about the world and the ability
to form concepts and insights (Darwin: all animals face the same challenges of
life and require problem solving and categorizing abilities)
o Ex: animals using tools to solve problems (New Caledonian crows make and use
several types of tools)
o Social learning: A young chimpanzee learning to crack oil palm nuts by observing
an experienced elder
What is the adaptive significance of learning?
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