PSYCH 2TT3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Brown Rat, Xenophobia

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23 Dec 2014
Chapter 1: Principles of Animal Behaviour
Types of Questions and Levels of Analysis:
Ethology: the study of animals
Proximate Questions:
1. Mechanism: what stimuli elicit behaviour and what changes happen in
response/anticipation to stimuli?
2. Development: how does behaviour change as an animal matures?
Ultimate Questions:
1. Survival Value: how does behaviour affect survival and reproduction?
2. Evolutionary History: how does behaviour start/change throughout evolutionary
history (phylogenetic)?
Proximate Analysis: immediate causes (what/how?)
Ultimate Analysis: evolutionary forces (why?)
What is Behaviour?
The coordinated responses of whole living organisms to internal and/or external stimuli
Natural selection changes the frequency of behaviours over the course of many
Individual learning can alter frequency of behaviours in the lifetime of an organism
Cultural transmission: transmitting learned behaviours to others
Social Learning: learning by copying
Natural Selection:
Hawaiian Crickets: to sings, the male cricket rubs two wings together. Songs not only
attract females, but parasites as well (trade-off). In order to avoid parasites, males
modified their wings so that they were incapable of producing song. In order to still
attract mates, the song-less males will say near a handful of singings males.
oThe parasite was thought to have stopped the singing. They’re called “flatwing”
males and they have a mating disadvantage but a survival advantage
Xenophobia: the fear of strangers or those
from outside ones group
Mole Rat : live in underground colonies.
Each group has 1 pair of breeders that
produce offspring in the colony, meaning
most members are genetic relatives. Some
inhabit mesic (moderately moist)
environments that have mild resource
limitations, some inhabit arid (dry)
environments that have intense limited
resources. An arid and a mesic mole were
placed together. When the pair was both
males or both females, aggression towards
strangers was more pronounced in arid the
mesic moles – identification of a stranger
initiated aggression. Natural selection
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