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L04 Notes

by: Hiba Kouser

L04 Notes BIOL 4700

Hiba Kouser

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About this Document

L04 lecture notes from the powerpoint.
Behavioral Ecology
Michael J Childress
Class Notes
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hiba Kouser on Thursday February 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to BIOL 4700 at Clemson University taught by Michael J Childress in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 35 views. For similar materials see Behavioral Ecology in Biology at Clemson University.


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Date Created: 02/04/16
L04 Notes I. Learning A. Is a relatively permanent change in behavior as a result of experience B. Learning can only be measured by the degree to which a behavior has changed before  and after an experience C. Learning one type of phenotypic plasticity II. How animals learn? A. Single stimulus experience 1. Habituation: becoming less sensitive to a stimuli over time a. Habituation occurs to prevent unneccesary loss of opportunity (time) 2. Sensitization: becoming more sensitive to a stimuli over time a. Occurs to prevent unnecessary loss of experience (knowledge) 3. Reflex: simple stimulus response connection believed to be unlearned and  characteristic of species a. Refelexes are usually favored when inappropriate behavior is costly i. Ex. An animal that has a certain reflex upon seeing predator b. Can change with repeated exposure to stimuli i. Ex. Animal no longer has the response when seeing the predator 4. Taxis: guideposts to orientation and locomotion and often have a genetic basis a. Phototaxis: light b. Phonotaxis: sound c. Chemotaxi: chemical d. Geotaxis: gravity e. Magnetotaxis: magnetic f. Electrotaxis: electricity B. Pavlovian Conditioning 1. Classical conditioning: experimental pairing of a conditioned and unconditioned  stimulus a. Salivation: unconditional response/ food: unconditioned stimulus/ conditioned  stimulus: light/bell b. Use the unconditioned stimulus to cite the unconditioned response, then pair the  unconditioned stimulus with the conditioned stimulus to incite the unconditioned  resonse, then remove the unconditioned stimulus to make the conditioned  response cause the conditioned response C. Instrumental conditioning 1. Operant conditioning: learning that occurs when a response made by an animal is  reinforced by reward or punishment a. Ex. Food (reward, positive)/shock (punishment, negative) 2. Law of effect: if it is positive experience, then you are more likely to behave this in  the future and less likely if the experience is negative III. Why animals learn? A. Increased Fitness 1. When does learning confer a fitness advantage? a. High within the lifetime predictability and low between generation predictability i. Meaning that learning usually can cause a fitness advantage during lifetime  but that advantage is not spread throughout generations B. Why do birds sing? 1. Songbirds typically have an innate species­specific mating call a. Male songbirds have to learn the correct song in order to attract females 2. Two hypothesis as to why birds sing? a. 1. Song dialects are due to genetic differences between locations b. 2. Song dialects are due to environmental differences between locations c. Experiment: i. Collected eggs and hand reared them but only allowed a few to hear songs of  adult males (there is a need to hear the song early on to develop the behavior) ii. Deafened some chicks after hearing song but before the subsong period where they practice their song out iii. Allowed some songs to hear two species’ songs and some to hear only one  Unable to learn the other species’ song if only heard one  d. Results: i. Evidence for both:  Environmental control:  No song unless heard the correct song  No song unless practice during subsong period  Genetic control:  Can distinguish correct song from incorrect song  Cannot learn incorrect song 3. Product of both instinctual template upon which learning is laid  4. Songbird species differ in: a. There is also a cultural evolution to song learning (son can learn from  father/neighbor/ etc.) b. Inheritance of song has genetic, plasticity, and cultural components c. Learning that comes from listening to others d. Closed v. open­ended learning i. Some can learn many songs; some can only learn after a certain period of time e. Develop songs by: i. Imitation  ii. Improvisation iii. Invention f. External (learned) v. internal (innate song models) g. Selective song learning v. mimicry C. Constraints 1. Animals are not entirely blank states (some pathways are easier/harder to learn) 2. Imprinting: a. Found only in animals with extensive parental care b. Mechanism of kin discrimination (birds learn association with family) c. Has limited sensitive period to avoid improper associations IV.Social Aspects of Learning A. Personal information 1. Individuals acquire info about their environment by personal experience using trial  and error tactics 2. Individual learning B. Public learning 1. Individuals acquire learning by monitoring others interaction with the environment 2. Social facilitation a. Location of resources b. Quality of resources 3. Can lead to cultural evolution which we suggest may then affect biological evolution  C. Social Learning 1. Individuals acquire behaviors by watching others perform the behavior  2. Social learning a. Copying: do the behavior but change the context b. Imitation: perform the new behavior which you’ve never done before c. Teaching: tutor gives up some of their fitness to help pupil acquire the necessary  behavior i. Is controversial  D. Cultural Transmission 1. Transfer of information from individual to individual via social learning or teaching 2. Transmission a. Horizontally b. Vertically c. Obliquely 3. Ex. Stone stacking began with monkey/macaque, Glance 4676, but younger troop  members picked up the behavior before the adults did\ a. Need individuals that can pick up behavior and carry it on  V. Acquisition and Transmission A. Acquisition: How the behavior is acquired? 1. Inherited: fixed and unchanged by environment (transmitted by genetics) 2. Plasticity: variable and cued by environment (changed by environmental influence) 3. Learned: modified by experience (trial and error; personal and social experience) B. Transmission: How is the behavior inherited? 1. Genetic: passed on by genes 2. Epigenetics: passed on by genes modified by experience or the environment 3. Horizontal: copied to individual by the same generation 4. Vertical: copied to individuals in next generation


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