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Innate and learned behavior. Option E.3. Assessment Statements. E.3.1 Distinguish between innate and learned behaviour . E.3.2 Design experiments to investigate innate behaviour in invertebrates, including either a taxis or a kinesis.

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assessment statements
Assessment Statements
  • E.3.1 Distinguish between innate and learnedbehaviour.
  • E.3.2 Design experiments to investigate innate behaviour in invertebrates, including either a taxis or a kinesis.
  • E.3.3 Analyse data from invertebrate behaviour experiments in terms of the effect on chances of survival and reproduction.
  • E.3.4 Discuss how the process of learning can improve the chance of survival.
  • E.3.5 Outline Pavlov’s experiments into conditioning of dogs.
  • E.3.6 Outline the role of inheritance and learning in the development of birdsong in young birds.
two types of scientists
Two types of scientists
  • Ethologists
    • study the behavior of animals in their natural environment
    • Examine patterns of behavior that affect an animal’s life
  • Psychologists
    • Study the behavior of animals in an artificial environment
    • Collect data on learning and motivation that could never be measured in the natural environment



Ancient Greekψυχή (psukhē),  “‘soul’”) + -logia (“‘study of’”)

  • from Greek: ἦθος, ethos, "character"; and -λογία, -logia
innate behavior
Innate behavior
  • Develops independently of environmental context
    • Spider spins web correctly the first time
    • Infants suckle innately
  • Controlled by genes and inherited from parents
  • Some performed in certain order
    • Mating behavior of the three-spined stickleback fish
learned behavior
Learned behavior
  • Not genetically programmed
  • Process of gaining knowledge or skills or modifying existing knowledge or skills
  • Learning can only be measured by performance
    • Ex. Pedal pushing results in gain of food
  • Behavior output is not always easily seen, therefore, learning is sometimes difficult to measure
investigating innate behavior in invertebrates
Investigating innate behavior in invertebrates
  • Innate behaviors can be measured as the animals respond to environmental stimuli
  • Two basic kinds of movement are seen in invertebrate animals:
    • Taxis
    • Kinesis
  • A directed response to a stimulus
  • If the animal’s body is directed toward the stimulus, it has a positive response
  • If the animal’s body is directed away from the stimulus, it has a negative response
  • Taxes are identified by the type of stimuli to which the organism is responding

Chemotaxis: response to chemicals in the environment; experiments involving variation in pH, dissolved drugs, food, pesticides

  • Phototaxis: response to light; experiments involving different wavelengths of light, intensities, and different types of bulb
  • Gravitaxis: response to gravity; experiments with organism in container that is turned upside down or on a turntable
  • Rheotaxis: response to water current; experiment involving animals with and against current
  • Thigmotaxis: response to touch; experiment involving different types of material to touch an organism
commonly used organisms
Commonly used organisms
  • Planaria
    • Flatworm which lives in lakes and ponds under leaves and rocks and hides for protection
    • Active and move by contraction of muscle fibers in their body
    • Simple nervous system; eyespots which contain photoreceptors; chemoreceptors which respond to certain chemicals (food)
  • Euglena
    • Single-celled protist
    • Has flagellum which propels it quickly through the water
    • Has an eyespot which is stimulated by light
    • Has chlorophyll
  • Movement in response to a non-directional stimulus, such as humidity
  • Rate of movement of the animal depends on the intensity of the stimulus, not its direction
  • Animal does not move toward or away from the stimulus buy randomly until it is in a more comfortable spot

Orthokinesis: when an organism moves slowly or rapidly (changes speed) in response to the stimulus but does not move towards the stimulus

  • Klinokinesis: when an organism turns slowly or rapidly in response to the stimulus but it does not move towards the stimulus
commonly used organisms1
Commonly used organisms
  • Isopods (woodlice; rollypollies)
    • Terrestrial crustaceans
    • Breath with gills; need moisture in order to breath
    • Live in damp places; die if exposed to dry conditions for a long period of time
learning improves the chance of survival
Learning improves the chance of survival
  • Learning occurs most easily when it results in the animal’s survival
  • Imprinting – process by which young animals become attached to their mother within the first day or so after hatching or birth; assures that the young stay close to their mother for protection and as a source of food

Food hoarding – store food when it is plentiful and return when there is a shortage; allows them to stay nourished even in times of food shortages

  • Song – attracts a mate and deters rival males
  • How to get food
  • Mimicry
pavlov and conditioning
Pavlov and conditioning
  • Classical conditioning can be used to modify a reflex response
  • Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov designed experiments to illustrate classical conditioning
  • His subjects were dogs

Salivation is a reflex response to the presence of food in the mouth

  • Food is unconditional stimuluswhich elicits salivation which is unconditional response
  • Neutral stimulation that Pavlov employed was the ringing of a bell
  • He rang the bell (conditioned stimulus) just before the dog tasted the food
  • After training, the could ring the bell (CS) and the dog would salivate (conditioned result)
  • Dog had learned to salivate to the neutral stimulus
learning of birdsong in young birds
Learning of birdsong in young birds
  • Each species of bird has a species-specific song which is inherited
  • Birds learn to improve the song they have inherited
  • Birds are able to sing due to their vocal organ, called the syrinx located at the bottom of their trachea
  • Birds control the pitch by altering the tension in the membranes of the syrinx
  • If birds are kept in a lab and denied any auditory stimulation, they produce a crude song

After hatching, there is a memorization phase in which the bird is silent but listening to the song of his species from adults (males)

  • He attempts to match his template to the full adult song
  • Phase if over within 100 days (sensitive period)
  • 2nd phase is motor phase in which he practices singing, continuing to listen to his own song and match it to his father’s
  • As he becomes sexually mature, his song will become perfected and he will begin to search for a mate
  • Crude template is innate; adult song is learned