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Animal Behavior: Learning

Problems

Imprinting

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Problem :

Name the main difference between filial and sexual imprinting.

Filial imprinting is individual specific. Offspring imprint on parents as specific individuals. Sexual imprinting is general. Young imprint on characteristics of opposite-sexed kin rather than on individuals.

Problem :

The first thing a newly hatched duckling sees is a hen. It begins to follow this chicken around and considers the hen its parent and the hen's chick its siblings. What type of imprinting is this?

The duckling following the chicken as a parent is a result of filial imprinting.

Problem :

The same duckling grows up and as an adult is sexually attracted to chickens rather than other ducks. Why?

The duckling became sexually imprinted on its adoptive chicken siblings and thus is attracted to the characteristics of chickens rather than ducks.

Problem :

Why is it often more difficult for adults to learn a new language than it is for children?

This happens because there is a critical period for some types of learning. This means that there is a specific stage of development when a certain type of learning can easily take place.

Problem :

What are the two steps of imprinting in precocial birds.

Precocial birds first instinctively follow any moving object with eyes. They then learn the object that they are following.

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