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Ethology (2011)

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Basic Sciences to Psychiatry Lecture 2011

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Ethology (2011)

  1. 1. ETHOLOGY THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF ANIMAL BEHAVIOR
  2. 2. NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS Lorenz, Frisch, and Tinbergen
  3. 3. Study of Animal Behavior  Comparative Psychology  Branch of experimental psychology  Influenced by Darwin and Pavlov  Study of animal behavior in the context of what is known about human psychology  Ethology  Branch of biology, in particular zoology  Observational rather than experimental  Study of animal behavior in the context of what is known about animal anatomy and physiology
  4. 4. Strengths and Limitations  Ethology  What animals do, under what conditions  Sequence of normal behavior  Some species difficult to observe  Little about causes
  5. 5. Strengths and Limitations  Comparative psychology  Control variable influencing behavior  Can test ability and capacities  Lab is artificial – may not see full range of behavior
  6. 6. Pinky and the Brain Pinky and the Brain are two genetically engineered lab mice living at Acme Labs. The Brain is a genius, while Pinky is somewhat insane. The two mice initiate creative and hilarious schemes for world domination, only to have them ultimately fail. However, with great persistence, they continue working each night to "TRY TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!"
  7. 7. Innate Behavior Animal Behavior Innate Behavior Learned Behavior Taxes Reflexes Instinct Behavior that is more or less permanently altered as a result of the experience of the individual organism Behavior determined by the “hard-wiring” of the nervous system. It is usually inflexible, a given stimulus triggering a given response. Inborn Rather inflexible More complex than reflexes The entire body participates in instinctive behavior. Instincts are inherited just as the physical structure
  8. 8. LORENZ’S RESEARCH Fixed Action Patterns  Every species has a repertoire of stereotyped behaviours called Fixed Action Patterns.  Innate  Species-typical  as characteristic of the species as shared structural features  FAP proceeds in the absence of the triggering stimulus once triggered by sign stimuli Greylag geese
  9. 9. Fixed Action Patterns (FAPs) Instinctive responses that would occur reliably in the presence of identifiable stimuli (sign stimuli or releasing stimuli)
  10. 10. The natural world is full of examples of releasers (sign stimuli) that have evolved to allow communication between animals. Some of the most colourful examples are the bright coloured plumage of male birds that help them attract mates.
  11. 11. Releasers of Instinctive Behaviorthe female three-spined stickleback normally follows the red-bellied male to the nest that he has prepared He guides her into the nest and then prods the base of her tail. She then lays eggs in the nest. After doing so, the male drives her from the nest, enters it himself, and fertilizes the eggs.  Signals that trigger instinctive acts (FAP) are called releasers  Once a particular response is released, it usually runs to completion even though the stimulus has been removed  the female will follow almost any small red object to the nest, and  any object touching her near the base of her tail will cause her to release her eggs.
  12. 12. Human 'Universal' Or FAP  Lorenz claimed that caring for young (and the associated affective responses) are FAPs.  The sign stimuli are:  Head large in proportion to the body  Protruding forehead large in proportion to the size of the rest of the face  Large ears and eyes below the midline of the head  Small nose  Short thick extremities  Rounded body shape  Soft elastic body surfaces  Round protruding cheeks
  13. 13. Human FAP
  14. 14. PHOTO 1: The inability to satisfy urges or desires tends to "bottle up" excitation, and this-in man as in animals-results in "displacement activities." Scratching and picking the nose or teeth-even smoking and drinking may then act purely as safety valves. This is another innate and universal form of behavior. PHOTO 2: Dismay at the receipt of bad news, portrayed by a Japanese actress. The actor seeks to emphasize typical features and transmit "supernormal stimuli": a tense facial expression, downward-curving lips, a furrowed brow, a suggestion of weeping and suppressed sobs PHOTO 3: Opening the mouth is a universal sign of curiosity. The South American Indian girl in our first picture is giving an involuntary performance of this innate movement. The three other pictures show one Italian listening intently to another. His mouth, too, is open – in fact our film showed that it remained so for more than a minute. This is probably another instance in which an expression of genuine curiosity has degenerated into a conventional mark of courtesy denoting interest on the part of the listener.
  15. 15. Interaction Between Internal and External Stimuli  Instinctive behavior often depends on conditions in the internal environment.  In many vertebrates courtship and mating behavior will not occur unless sex hormones (estrogens in females, androgens in males) are present in the blood.  When stimulated by sex hormones in its blood supply, the hypothalamus initiates the activities leading to mating.
  16. 16. Interaction Between Internal And External Stimulation  According to Lorenz's theory, the type of FAP exhibited by an animal is a function of  the amount of accumulated action specific energy (internal motivational state) and  the sign stimuli (external stimulation) to which the animal is exposed.
  17. 17. FAP (internal motivational state) versus Sign Stimuli (external stimulation)
  18. 18. Konrad Lorenz' Psychohydraulic Model attempted to make sense out of his observations of animal behavior, particularly that of birds. It borrowed from Freud's theory, seeing instincts (Fixed Action Patterns) in terms of individual energy sources, released by specific stimuli in the environment.
  19. 19. The model also accounts for the displacement behaviors, (when animals in the grips of simultaneous and incompatible impulses engage in an unrelated and irrelevant behavior) and vacuum behaviors (when FAPs occur in the absence of the usual releasing stimuli).
  20. 20. TINBERGEN’S RESEARCH Displacement Activities  For example, in a conflict situation, when the need for fight and the need for flight are of roughly equal strength, birds sometimes do neither. Rather, they display behavior that appears to be irrelevant to the situation; for example, a herring gull defending its territory may start to pick grass.
  21. 21. LORENZ’S RESEARCH Aggression  Aggression among members of the same species is common  It seldom leads to killing or even to serious injury.  A certain balance appears between tendencies to fight and flight,  The tendency to fight being strongest in the center of the territory and the tendency to flight strongest at a distance from the center.
  22. 22. LORENZ’S RESEARCH Imprinting & FAP A phenomenon exhibited by several species when young, mainly birds, such as ducklings and chicks. Upon coming out of their eggs, they will follow and become attached (socially bonded) to the first moving object they encounter (which usually, but not necessarily, is the mother duck or hen) Imprinting is a kind of learning, albeit with a very strong innate element
  23. 23. Inducing Filial Imprinting The researcher imitates a mother duck's quacking in front of a group of ducklings just after they had hatched. They learn very rapidly to identify their mother on the basis of visual, olfactory and auditory cues Thus, the ducklings perceived the researcher as their mother and followed her accordingly.
  24. 24. Sexual Imprinting  Sexual imprinting: Birds learn the characteristics of their siblings, which later on will influence their mating preferences as adults.  Reverse sexual imprinting: when 2 people live in close domestic proximity during the first few years in the life of either one, both are desensitized to later close sexual attraction.  Sexual imprinting on inanimate objects is a popular theory concerning the development of sexual fetishism.
  25. 25. Animal Communication  Intraspecies  Interspecies  Warning coloration: species such as wasps that are capable of harming potential predators are often brightly colored, and this modifies the behavior of the predator, who either instinctively or as the result of experience will avoid attacking such an animal
  26. 26. TINBERGEN’S RESEARCH Supernormal Stimuli Herring gull chicks peck at a red spot on their parents's bill to induce their parents to regurgitate food. Chicks will also peck at a model consisting of a red spot against a yellow packground
  27. 27. SUPERNORMAL STIMULI Beauty Lies In The Eyes of Beholder “Sometimes beauty is characterised in an excessively exaggerated gender signal or `supernormal stimuli'. Body moulding (or distorting) clothes and plastic surgery aim to improve on nature and heighten the impact of selected features. The current popularity of breast implants and the huge success of siliconised beauties reflect a modern appreciation of supernormal stimuli. Cosmetic surgery is perhaps the most drastic way that women try to improve their faces and bodies, to create or retain what is deemed attractive. Although many women claim that cosmetic surgery is something that they are `doing for themselves', the beauty that they aspire to is of male creation. It is the male gaze, looking and appreciating within a sexual context that has been the most influential arbiter of what we deem to be beauty” http://templeofthegoddess.org/Newsletters/mothersday2008-supp.htm
  28. 28. FAP & supernormal stimuli  Some species have evolved to exploit the fixed action patterns of other species.  Replicating the releasing mechanism required to trigger an FAP is known as code-breaking. Brood parasites provide a supernormal stimulus to the parenting species.
  29. 29. FRISCH’S RESEARCH Bees Communication  Von Frisch's research concerned with the behavior of bees, and he is most widely known for his analyses of how they communicate with each other, that is, their language or what is known as their dances.
  30. 30. BEES COMMUNICATION Round And Waggle Dance
  31. 31. TINBERGEN’S RESEARCH Home Location By Digger Wasps Digger wasp rely on their visual sense and learn the landmarks by means of an endogenously programmed aerial circuit.

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