Approaches to studying behavior: natural selection, individual learning, and cultural transmission
1. Sometimes concepts in animal behavior are hard to define, and we discussed two in particular in class this semester. Please write what you feel to be a great definition for each of the following (as they relate to non-human animal behavior): communication and play. You might include some elements of definitions we discussed in class, which is fine, but make sure to quote and cite any direct text you use from another definition
2. design a study using the scientific method to specifically examine the proximate mechanisms for behavioral change in a species of your choosing. Note: this is an essay question, with a significant amount of points associated with it. Consider this as you write your answer, and make sure that it is well structured and organized.
a. Choose a species and describe a behavior that this species engages in (e.g. a mating display, an antipredator behavior, a play behavior, a communication signal, etc.). Your response should reflect what you have learned this summer semester about whatever behavioral category you choose, utilize correct terminology, etc.
b. Choose any three (3) proximate causation variables (e.g. hormonal fluctuations, temperature, presence of a predator, individual’s status in the hierarchy, etc.) and design a test to determine the effects of each of these variables on the behavior of the species that you described in part a. For example, how could you design a test/tests to see if the presence of predator influences foraging efficiency or strategy, whether the age of an individual influences their foraging efficiency or strategy, and if foraging strategies in this species are under genetic control?
Your answer should include hypotheses for each variable’s influence on your behavior of interest (12pts) and a proposed methodology (36pts). Your methods should include a detailed description of who your sample will be, how you will collect data to address all 3 hypotheses, and how you will use those data to make conclusions with respect to your hypotheses
Psych test instructions
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