Quiz 36: Animal Behavior
The experimental approach of comparative psychology is to study one species in the laboratory and compare with other animals while in ethology the experimental approach is to study the behavior of the animal in field studies. The aim of comparative psychology is to compare general characteristics of many species. This is done by studying one species and then comparing the same behavior in other species. On the other hand, the aim of ethology is to describe the behavior of an animal in its natural habitat. This is done by field studies and observations.
Egg-retrieval behavior: In this case the releaser is the egg or any object and the sign stimulus is the presence of the object outside the nest. The stereotyped behavior seen is the egg-retrieval behavior shown by mother birds towards any object placed in the vicinity of the nest. Territorial defense behavior of male three-spined sticklebacks: In this case the releaser is another male or any object in its territory and the sign stimulus is the presence of red color on the object. The stereotyped behavior seen is the attacking of the object or fish.
Other than innate or learned behavior there can be other types of behavior. This occurs by sudden somatic mutations. These mutations bring about a change in the behavior of the animal or in the phenotype of the organism. These changes are seen only in those animals who have acquired the mutation. This is not learned and is not innate.