Behavior - An action or series of actions performed in response to a stimuli
Ethology - the study of animal behavior
Studies of behavior include:
HOW is a behavior triggered or performed
WHY does a behavior occur, what evolutionary processes are at work
Innate Behavior: genetically based, animals are born with the ability to perform behavior (sometimes we call these instincts)
Learned Behavior- the development of behaviors through experience
Classical Conditioning (Pavlov's dogs)
Operant Conditioning (Skinner box)
Insight Learning (Reasoning, only found in intelligent animals, primates)
Imprinting: birds are geneticaly programmed to follow the first thing they see when they hatch (usually mom)
Dogs give several nonverbal cues to communicate with other dogs (and humans)
This dog might look mean, but notice the tail between the legs, he's actually frightened and may bite out of fear
This dog is acting agressively, maybe to tell another dog or a human who's boss
This dog is alert and attentive.
This dog is being submissive, ears are down tail is between the legs
This dog is lowering the front of his body, this is usually an invitation to play (called a play bow)
This dog is in an extreme submissive position, exposing his belly to the dominant dog in the pack.
Primates can communicate basic concepts but humans are the only animals with a true LANGUAGE
Language is learned in humans by trial-and-error. Babies "babble" and parents reinforce meaningful words. As language develops, humans learn to rearrange words and symbols to mean different things.