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Animal Behavior: Learning

Terms

Summary

Non-Associative and Associative Learning

Altricial  -  This term is used to describe species of birds in which hatching occurs relatively early in development. Compare with precocial.
Associative Learning  -  Learning connected to a positive or negative stimulus. Classical Conditioning and Operant Conditioning are exaples of associative learning.
Classical conditioning  -  The process by which an individual learns to associate an unconditional stimulus with a conditional stimulus but receives no benefit from doing so. Pavlov's experiments, in which he conditioned dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell (UCS) because they associated the sound with receiving food, is an example of classical conditioning. Compare with operant conditioning.
Conditional response  -  A response to a stimulus that is dependent upon the association of that stimulus with another stimulus. In Pavlov's conditioning experiments with dogs, salivation at the sound of a bell is the conditional response. Compare with unconditional response.
Conditional stimulus  -  A stimulus that is unrelated to but becomes associated with another stimulus and thus evokes a response. In Pavlov's conditioning experiments with dogs, the sound of a bell was the conditional stimulus because it will not cause salivation unless it is associated with receiving food. Compare with unconditional stimulus.
Cultural inheritance  -  Process through which individuals learn behaviors by watching and imitating others.
Dishabituation  -  The recovery of an innate response that has been altered upon introduction of an extremely novel stimulus such as electric shock. Compare with sensitized, habituated.
Filial imprinting  -  The imprinting of offspring on their parents
Habituated  -  The reduction or elimination of the response to a stimulus upon frequent exposure. See also dishabituation.
Imitation  -  The copying of an individual's behavior by another.
Imprinted  -  A young animal that recognizes and is attracted to another animal is said to be imprinted upon that animal. The process of imprinting takes place early in life.
Latent learning  -  The process by which an individual familiarizes itself with a stimulus without the association of a positive or negative stimulus.
Non-associative learning  -  The opposite of associative learning; learning in which there is no connected stimulus. Habituation is an example of non-associative learning.
Operant conditioning  -  The process by which a behavior not normally associated with a given stimulus becomes associated by combination with a positive or negative stimulus. Compare with classical conditioning.
Precocial  -  This term is used to describe species of birds in which hatching occurs relatively late in development. Compare with altricial.
Sensitized  -  An individual is sensitized when it is presented with a strong or novel stimulus. Any stimulus given after sensitization will receive a stronger response than normal. Compare with dishabituation.
Sexual imprinting  -  A type of general imprinting in which individuals recognize and, later in life, are attracted to features of their opposite-sex siblings and parents.
Unconditional response  -  A response to a stimulus that is directly related to the nature of the stimulus rather than being dependent upon the association of that stimulus with another stimulus. In Pavlov's conditioning experiments with dogs, salivation at the presentation of food is the unconditional response. Compare with conditional response.
Unconditional stimulus  -  A stimulus that is directly related to a response. In Pavlov's conditioning experiments with dogs, the presentation of food was the unconditional stimulus because it evoked the natural response of salivation in preparation for eating. Compare with conditional stimulus.

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