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    Behavioral Adaptations to the Environment

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    A psychology student performed an experiment every day over the course of a summer. Dressed in a black-and-white-striped shirt, he visited the football field of a rival school and spread birdseed on the field, blew a whistle, and then left. That fall, for the opening football game at the rival school, a referee walked out on the field, blew his whistle, and hundreds of birds filled the field. The game was postponed for thirty minutes to clear the field of birds. Explain this in terms of behavioral adaptations to an environment.

    For each of the following individuals briefly describe the behavioral studies that made them famous: Karl von Fritsch, Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen, and E.O. Wilson.

    What is a fixed action pattern and how does it relate to survival? Give two examples with a brief explanation.

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    Solution Preview

    1. This first paragraph is a great example of Pavlov's conditioning. The original experiment was done with a dog. A bell was rung before feeding the dog repeatedly. Before long, whenever a bell was rung, the dog would begin salivating, even when not being fed. In that experiment, the stimulus, which is traditionally food, was changed to a bell. The response was salivating. In the example you gave, the stimulus was the whistle and the response was the birds coming down to feed. Classical conditioning is the behavioral adaptation that can be observed here, and it was an idea first studied by Ivan Pavlov.

    2. Karl von Fritsch - did a lot of work and studies related to communication among bees. He hypothesized that animals may use methods that are not understandable to humans, such as making noises in a frequency that is above humans' range of ...

    Solution Summary

    Behavioral psychologists and their contributions are explained.