Introduction to Animal Behavior
What is "behavior"?
Behavior is the way an animal acts. Anything an animal does involving action and response to stimulation is a behavior. Walking, blinking, swimming, breathing, and eating are all examples of behavior.
Animals behave in certain ways for three basic reasons: 1) to find food, 2) to avoid predators, and 3) to reproduce. The study of animal behavior is known as ethology.
What is learned behavior?
Animals acquire learned behavior through experience. In fact, scientists define learning as a relatively permanent change in behavior as a result of experience. Learning occurs gradually and in steps.
A few thing to remember about animal behavior.
When we study animal behavior, we may mistakenly attribute human characteristics or motivations to animals. Attributing human characteristics to animals is called anthropomorphizing. Beware of these inaccurate assumptions when you observe animal behavior!
The study of animal behavior can extend from simple to very complex. For more in-depth information on operant behavior, classical conditioning, reinforces, and natural behavior of marine mammals, please see the bibliography .
Introduction to Animal Behavior | Introduction to Animal Training | How Animals Learn | Marine Mammal Training At SeaWorld | The SeaWorld Auditory Cueing System | Why do We Train Animals? | Bibliography | Books For Young Readers
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