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Chapter 41 Vocab
Ethology- An approach to the study of animal behavior that focuses on studying many species in natural
environments and addresses questions about the evolution of behavior.
Behavioral Biology- Also known as behaviorism. One of the two classical approaches to the study of
proximate causes of animal behavior.
Proximate Causes- The immediate genetic, physiological, neurological, and developmental mechanisms
responsible for a behavior or morphology.
Ultimate Causes- In ethology the evolutionary process that produced an animal’s capacity and tendency to
behave a particular way.
Releasers- Sensory stimulus that triggers performance of a stereotyped behavior pattern.
Cost-benefit Analysis-This is when animals appear to weight the costs and benefits of responding
to a situation in various ways. These are measured by effect on fitness (ability to reproduce).
Adaptive Behavior- Any behavior that promotes the survival of an individual and is passed on to
Instinctal Behavior-A particular behavior that is performed without having been learned by experience.
Imprinting- In animal behavior, a rapid form of learning in which an animal learns, during a brief critical
period, to make a particular response, which is maintained for life, to some object or the other.
Innate Behavior-Behaviors that are closely controlled by genes with little or no environmental influence
are called innate behaviors. These are behaviors that occur naturally in all members of a species whenever
they are exposed to a certain stimulus. Innate behaviors do not have to be learned or practiced.
Fixed Action atterns- A genetically determined behavior that is performed without learning. It is
performed the same way each time and is not modifiable by learning.
Habituation-A form of learning in which an organism decreases or ceases to respond to a stimulus after
repeated presentations. Essentially, the organism learns to stop responding to a stimulus which is no
longer biologically relevant.
Operant Behavior- A type of learning in which behavior is influenced by the consequences that followed
Classical Conditioning-A form of learning in which a neutral stimulus comes to elicit a response after
being associated with a stimulus that already elicits that response.
Insight Learning-a type of learning often seen in problem-solving situations in which there is a period of
thoughtful mental activity, followed by a sudden understanding of a problem and realization of its
solution. The moment of insight is often referred to as an 'ah ha' experience.
Circadian Rhythms- A rhythm of growth or activity that recurs on a yearly basis.
Diurnal- Occurring or active during the day.
Nocturnal- Occurring or active at night.
Crepuscular- Having to do with twilight or shadowy areas.
Superchiasmatic Nuclei- (SCN) In mammals, two clusters of neurons just above the optic chiasm that act
as the master circadian clock.
Distal- Away from the point of attachment or other reference point.
Sexual Selection- Selection by one sex of characteristics in individuals of the opposite sex. Also, the
favoring of characteristics in one sex as a result of competition among individuals of that sex for mates.
Culture-(1) A laboratory association of organisms under controlled conditions. (2) The collection of
knowledge, tools, values, and rules that characterize a human society.
Direct Fitness-A measure of the number of genes passed on to the next generation relative to other genetic
contributions; individuals maximize their fitness by having as many offspring as possible that live to
reproduce (and contribute their genes to the next generation).
Inclusive Fitness- The sum of an individual’s genetic contribution to subsequent generations both via
production of its own offspring and via its influence on the survival of relatives who are not direct
Kin Selection- That component of inclusive fitness resulting from helping the survival of relatives
containing the same alleles by descent from a common ancestor.
Hamilton’s Rule- The principle that, for an apparent altruistic (“For the good of the species”) behavior to
be adaptive, the fitness benefit of that act to the recipient times the degree of relatedness of the performer
and the recipient must be greater than the cost to the performer.
Altruistic Behavior- Behaviors that benefits other individuals at a cost to the individual who performs it.
Cooperative Behavior-An act or instance of working or acting together for a common purpose or benefit