PSY252 - Lecture 1.docx

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Peter Morrow

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What Is Behaviour? • Behaviour is something that you can see in a particular space and time • Measuring behavior allows you to analyze and ask questions about the functioning of the brain • Behaviour is a experimental tool, where you can narrow focus down and have working type theory on what is going on in the brain Psychology and Biology • Psychology deals with numerous aspects of animal and human behaviour. • Psychology traditionally belonged to Social Sciences and sometimes treated the brain as a “black box”. Psychology is subdiscipline of biology as brain is reason for behavior • Nowadays the discipline is regarded as part of Natural Sciences and psychology uses numerous concepts and methods of biology Two Fundamentally Distinct Questions • Proximate question (phenogenetic causation). o Concerns the biological & physiological mechanisms of behaviour. o That is: “How do things work?” • Ultimate question (phylogenetic causation) o Concerns the evolution and adaptive aspect of behaviour. o That is: “How did it come about?” Behaviour is the result of biological mechanisms and it has developed according to the forces of natural selection, i.e. evolution Why Study Animal Behaviour? • Animal behaviour is just as interesting. • There are many species of animals with many different behaviours (comparative approaches). • There are many methods with which behaviour can be studied in animals but not in humans. • Medical research (model organisms and laboratory animals as tools for discovery). • Humans are only one species where as there are many different species of one particular animal O Allows scientists to compare features of different species, comparing similarities and differences, which then can be translated to make evolutionary tree, look at where the similarities and differences come from • Ethical considerations in both human and animal groups, but sometimes it is easier with animals such as cross breeding • Using reductionist approach in science is a good idea, allowing understanding of certain aspects of behavior due to the simplicity of the animals where as humans have complex minds • Animals can be used to understand Humans o Complicated diseases have been modeled and analyze and test on animals, we can try different treatment options on animals before using them on humans How Can We Study Animal Behaviour? • Two fundamentally different approaches in the past: • Animal psychology o Controlled laboratory conditions o Nature blind o Focuses on generalities o Main NorthAmerican based o Ignored species specific characteristics and natural conditions • Ethology o Often based on observations at large o Nature aware o Stresses species specific characteristics o European o Watch animals in nature o Problem: Less vigorous, less control in environment, lots of limitations in comparison to laboratory conditions • Now days, use best of both approaches, laboratory setting yet have things to remind of natural environment Charles Darwin Video • Purpose, randomness connected with purpose, design through Darwin’s theory of evolution • Evolution looks like create organism that are well designed but Darwin and after Darwin realized that this seemingly purposeful end res
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