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Scientific study of animal behavior , particurlarly in their natural environments.

Proximate causation

'How' a behavior occcurs or is modified but also the effects of heredity on behavior, genetic-environnmental interactions, and sensory-motor mechanisms.

Ultimate causation

'Why' questions and includes studies of the origin of a behavior, its change over time, and the utility of the behavior in terms of reproductive success.

behavioral ecology

Study of the ecological and evolutionary basis for animal behavior.

Fixed action pattern

Sequence of unlearned acts that is largely unchangeable and usually carried to completion once its initiated. Fixed action patterns are triggered by sign stimuli.

Sign stimulus

Trigger ; external cue


Simple change in activity in response to a stimulus


Automatic movement toward or away from a stimulus.

circadian clock

An internal mechanism that maintains a 24-hour activity rythms or cycle.

Circadian rythms

Occur on a daily circle. Behavioralcycle o rythms linked to the yearly cycle of seasons


Complex behavior seen in a wide variety of animals. Navigation may be by detection of the earth's magnetic field or visual cues.


Behavior that causes a change in the behavior of another individual and is the basis for animal communication


Chemical signals that are emitted by members of one species that affect other members of the species.

Visual signals

Such as the warning flash of white of a mockingbird's wing

Auditory signals

Such as the screech of a blue jay or song of a warbler.

circannual rythm

Behavioral rythms linked to the yearly cycle of seasons


Th response to each stimulus is itself the stimulus for the next behavior.

chemical communication

Transmission and receptionn of signals in the form of specific molecules.


activa=e mainly in daytime

innate behavior

unlearned , developmentally fixed, behaviors


the modification of behavior based on specific experiences


Loss of responsiveness to stimuli that convey little or no new information.


Formation at a specific stage in life of a long-lasting behavioral response to a particular individual or object.

Spatial learning

Establishment of a memory that reflects the environnment's spatial structure

Cognitive map

Internal representation of spatial relationships among objects in an animal's surroundings.

Associative learning

Ability of many animals to associate one feature of their environnment with another feature

Classical conditioning

Arbitrary stimulus becomes associated with a particular outcome.

Operant conditioning

Occurs as an animal learns to associate one of its behaviors with a reward or punishment


Ability of an animal's nervous system to perceive,store,process, and use information from sensory receptors.

problem solving

Cognitive acivity of devising a method to proceed from one state to another in the face of real or apparent obstacles.

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