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learning behaviour in animals

Updated on June 20, 2014

Types of learning

I-Habituation

II- Imprinting


Def.: Learning is a permanent change in behaviour due to past experience. Learning occurs through memory formation: a- short term memory: initially formed due to increase in the electrical activity of the brain “action potential”, it lasts for few seconds or minutes. b- long term memory: formed later due to intraneuronal protein synthesis, it remains throughout the whole animal life.

I-Habituation

Def.: if the animal is subjected to repeated stimulus which is not associated with either reward or punishment, the animal learn gradually not to respond . It is the simplest form of learning. It is called negative form of learning as there is no acquiring of new response but loss of old one

EXAMPLES:- Horse pasture near railway station; firstly the animal is disturbed by noise, by time it learn not to respond.
-Bird nesting in the busy highway.
-Rats and its startle response on hearing sudden loud voice . Birds and scare crew; firstly they disturbed by its movement, by time they stand on its arms preening their feather after having large meal of grain.


Adaptive function of habituation:
1-Adjustment of the animal response to the surrounding environment.
2-Focusing animal energy and attention to the important events.
3-Play important role in development of young animal behaviour that show inherited fear response against many environmental objects, by habituation they learn to distinguish between harmful and harmless objects.

II- Imprinting

DEF.: rapid formation of permanent close relationship between the animal and a characteristic environmental object “usually its mother”.

Characters of imprinting: -Occurs during short definite period of the animal's life called critical period, sensitive period or susceptible period.
-During this period the animal is highly sensitive to stimulus come from the surrounding environment and is highly susceptible to rapid learning process.
-If this period passes without occurrence of this behavioural relation, it will never occur so it’s called critical period.

© 2014 Ahmed Ata

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