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Biology 441: Animal Behavior. Introductions Notecards Course Mechanics Syllabus; expectations Content: What is Ethology?. Introduction to Animal Behavior. Semantics Ethology vs. Animal Behavior vs. Behavioral Ecology. Introduction to Animal Behavior. What is Ethology? Ethos = habit.

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biology 441 animal behavior
Biology 441: Animal Behavior
  • Introductions
    • Notecards
  • Course Mechanics
    • Syllabus; expectations
  • Content: What is Ethology?
introduction to animal behavior
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • Semantics
    • Ethology vs. Animal Behavior vs. Behavioral Ecology
introduction to animal behavior1
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • What is Ethology?
    • Ethos = habit
introduction to animal behavior2
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • What is Ethology?
    • Def. The biological study of animal behavior
introduction to animal behavior3
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • What is Ethology?
    • Def. The biological study of animal behavior
    • Better def. The study of animal behavior using the scientific method
introduction to animal behavior4
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • What is animal behavior?
introduction to animal behavior5
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • What is animal behavior?
    • All observable or otherwise measurable muscular or secretory responses (or lack thereof) in response to changes in an animals internal or external environment
introduction to animal behavior6
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • What is animal behavior?
    • All observable or otherwise measurable muscular or secretory responses (or lack thereof) in response to changes in an animals internal or external environment
    • AKA WHAT ANIMALS DO
introduction to animal behavior7
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • What is animal behavior?
    • A more poetic answer:

“The study of behavior encompasses all of the movements and sensations by which animals and men mediate their relationship with their external environments -- physical, biotic and social. No scientific field is more complex, and none is more central to human problems and aspirations.”

[Alexander 1975:77]

introduction to animal behavior9
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • Why study behavior?
    • Animals = good models for understanding ourselves
      • Behavior, neurobiology
    • Animal conservation, endangered species
    • Practical: farm animals, pest species control, disease prevention, pets
    • Management of animals in captivity
    • Curiosity!
introduction to animal behavior10
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • Are we all amateur behaviorists?
introduction to animal behavior11
Introduction to Animal Behavior

Quote from pet counselor in Ohio:

“It’s wonderful — anyone can be a behaviorist — no degree or formal training is necessary. I just do it.”

introduction to animal behavior12
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • The problem with amateur behaviorists…
    • Perceptual bias
    • Anthropomorphism
bias behavior
Bias & Behavior
  • Humans often see what we expect to see
why do we make this mistake
Why do we make this mistake?
  • Our minds contain a model of the universe. Our experience (e.g., vision) is allowed to update it, but only in certain ways.
  • We can’t avoid it — we are born with a model already in place!
bias behavior1
Bias & Behavior
  • Humans often see what we expect to see
    • Aristotle and teeth
  • See pattern where no pattern exists
  • Human anthropomorphize
    • Ascribe human characteristics to things not human
    • Attribute conscious thought to animals too quickly

e.g. Wilhelm Von-Osten and “Clever Hans”

introduction to animal behavior13
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • What makes a professional behaviorist?
    • Proper use of the scientific method
introduction to animal behavior14
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • Scientific Method (review)
    • 1.
introduction to animal behavior15
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • Scientific Method (review)
    • 1. Observations
    • 2.
introduction to animal behavior16
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • Scientific Method (review)
    • 1. Observations
    • 2. Questions
introduction to animal behavior17
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • Scientific Method (review)
    • 1. Observations
    • 2. Questions
    • 3. Hypotheses
    • 4.
introduction to animal behavior18
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • Scientific Method (review)
    • 1. Observations
    • 2. Questions
    • 3. Hypotheses
    • 4. Tests (experiments)
    • 5.
introduction to animal behavior19
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • Scientific Method (review)
    • 1. Observations
    • 2. Questions
    • 3. Hypotheses
    • 4. Tests (experiments)
    • 5. Interpretation
      • Hypothesis supported or refuted?
      • Alternative hypotheses?
introduction to animal behavior20
Introduction to Animal Behavior
  • The problem with professional behaviorists…
    • Perceptual bias still possible
      • The Mask of Theory and the Face of Nature
        • “Rarely does it become possible for the scientist to step back, examine the social preconditions that have led to the construction of the mask of theory, and ask: Why have I interpreted the natural world the way I have? What elements of my culture made one interpretation obvious and believable, but not another?”
amateur video
Amateur Video
  • “Battle at Kruger”
    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU8DDYz68kM