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Psychology 3906 Animal Cognition. Dr. Dave Brodbeck. Introduction. OK, the book is called ‘Cognition, Evolution and Behavior’ so, we had better know about all of the above Now of course most of this is review…. Cognition. Cognition is about mechanism

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Presentation Transcript
introduction
Introduction
  • OK, the book is called ‘Cognition, Evolution and Behavior’ so, we had better know about all of the above
  • Now of course most of this is review…
cognition
Cognition
  • Cognition is about mechanism
  • The perception, storage, processing and retrieval of information
  • Some internal representation of the external
  • Functioning isomorphisms
  • Not consciousness
not consciousness but
Not consciousness, but…
  • We do use the terms though
  • Emotion
  • Fear
  • To know
  • And indeed, perhaps one day someone will be able to study consciousness
is all complex behaviour cognitive
Is all complex behaviour “cognitive?”
  • Well it need not be
  • Indeed it could be a simple S-R type of thing.
  • The complexity of a behaviour is not necessarily an indication of complicated cognition
  • You knew it was coming…..
in a moth s ear
In a Moth’s Ear….
  • Moth Ear basically has two neurons A1 and A2
  • They are not frequency sensitive, but do not respond to low frequencies
do moths have ear wax
Do Moths Have Ear Wax?
  • A1 is responsive to intensity
  • More firing with closer bat
  • A2 only fires with very loud sounds
  • A2 fires, bat must be very close
moths and bats charts and graphs
Moths and Bats, Charts and Graphs
  • A1 on the left fires, that wing beats faster
  • Moth’s course corrects to 180 degrees from bat
  • So very and totally cool
  • A2, go crazy
  • 2 neuron ear can encode where a predator in in 3 dimensional space!!!
why does an animal behave the way it does
Why does an animal behave the way it does?
  • Cause (proximate cause)
  • Development
  • Function (ultimate cause)
  • Evolution
  • Do not mix these up!
  • Why do birds migrate?
  • Innate vs. learned
  • Nature vs. nurture
approaches to the study of comparative cognition
Approaches to the Study of Comparative Cognition
  • Traditional or Anthropocentric approach
  • People can do x
  • I wonder if rats can?
  • Probably still the most popular approach, even when people say they don’t do it..
characteristics of the traditional approach
Characteristics of the Traditional Approach
  • Focuses on memory, representation etc, just like in humans
  • The choice of the species to be studied is based primarily on convenience
  • The notion of a phylogenetic scale
macphail
MacPhail
  • Probably best example is MacPhail
  • No differences have been found between species that cannot be explained by motivation
  • We must, therefore, accept H0
  • Except for humans of course, we are all special..
the synthetic approach
The Synthetic Approach
  • This approach sees the MacPhailian ideas as illogical
  • Instead lets look at behaviour from an evolutionary perspective
  • Look at behaviour in the field
  • Choose species/problems based on these
  • Make predictions about mechanism
but what about the motivation thing
But what about the motivation thing?
  • Error cancels baby
  • Plus, how likely is it to find a pattern of results, that fits with your hypothesis that is by dumb luck, also due to motivation
  • There should be patterns of results in essence
natural selection
Natural Selection
  • The Theory of Natural Selection is so simple that anyone can misunderstand it…. (Anonymous)
  • Charles Darwin (1809-1882) saw three problems in need of a solution.
    • Darwin was not the only one to see these problems BTW
    • Other ‘Naturalists’ were struggling with the same issues
problem the first
Problem the First
  • There is change over time in the flora and fauna of the Earth
    • What we would commonly call ‘evolution’ today
    • The fossil record showed this to be pretty clear, even to people in the mid 1800s
    • This was not controversial in Darwin’s time, and is not now.
the second problem
The Second Problem
  • There is a taxonomic relationship among living things
    • People were big into classifying stuff
    • It was pretty obvious that there was a relationship between different species
      • Different birds, different grasses, different cats etc
the third problem
The Third Problem
  • Adaptation
    • Different kinds of teeth for different animals, say carnivore ripping teeth and herbivore grinding teeth
    • Different tissues within species
      • Heart vs. eye etc.
the solution
The Solution!
  • Natural Selection provides a mechanistic account of how these things occurred and shows how they are intimately related.
  • It is one of those ‘oh man is that ever easy, why didn’t I think of that?’ type things.
how s it work
How’s it work?
  • There is competition among living things
    • More are born or hatched or whatever, than survive and reproduce
  • Reproduction occurs with variation
    • This variation is heritable
    • Remember, there was NO genetics back then, Chuck knew, he just knew….
    • Realized that is wasn’t ‘blending’
how s it work1
How’s it Work?
  • Selection Determines which individuals enter the adult breeding population
    • This selection is done by the environment
    • Those which are best suited reproduce
    • They pass these well suited characteristics on to their young
how s it work2
How’s it Work?
  • REPRODUCTION is the key, not merely survival
  • If you survive to be 128 but have no kids, you are not doing as well as I am
  • I have reproduced…
  • Assuming the traits that made me successful will help them then I amore fit NOW than the 128 year old guy
this lecture keeps evolving
This lecture keeps evolving…..
  • Survival of the Fittest (which Chucky D NEVER said) means those who have the most offspring that reproduce
  • So, the answer to the trilogy of problems is:
  • ‘Descent with modification from a common ancestor, NOT random modification, but, modification shaped by natural selection’
other evolutionary theories
Other Evolutionary Theories
  • Lamarckism
    • Inheritance of acquired characteristics
      • E.g., giraffes really wanted leaves, so they stretched their necks and…..
      • Sounds crazy, but a lot of people think this way
      • ‘We will all have giant heads and tiny bodies someday’
      • ‘Cave swelling fish don’t use their eyes so they disappear’
      • ‘We don’t use our appendix so it is disappearing’
silly incorrect evolutionary theories and ideas
Silly incorrect evolutionary theories and ideas
  • Orthogenesis
    • There is some plan to evolution.
    • NO WRONG INCORRECT, THANKS FOR PLAYING
    • The idea of an ‘evolutionary ladder’ fits in here
    • It is wrong too……
still another silly idea
Still another silly idea
  • Intelligent Design
  • Just Creationism with a fancy name
  • God does not belong in a science class, any more than experiments belong in church
  • NOT A SCIENTIFIC THEORY
how do we know if a behaviour is an adaptation
How do we know if a behaviour is an adaptation?
  • Experimentation
  • Comparative method
  • modeling