Learned Behaviour

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•  Learned behaviour develops as a result of experience

•  Learning is the acquisition of skills or knowledge

Learned behaviour is not developmentally fixed and can be modified by experience

  • Learned behaviour shows significant variation as it is influenced by environmental context

Learning involves acquiring information from past experiences to adapt to new situations

  • The capacity to learn particular skills may be influenced by genes, but will not develop without appropriate experiences
  • Learning improves an organism’s survival prospects as they can modify their responses to changing environmental conditions

Innate versus Learned Behaviours

innate vs learned

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•  Imprinting is learning occurring at a particular life stage and is independent of the consequences of behaviour

Imprinting is any kind of phase-sensitive learning that is rapid and independent of behavioural consequences

  • Imprinting occurs during a short critical period in which the organism adopts behavioural characteristics from a stimulus
  • Imprinted behaviour is not influenced by consequences – it does not require reinforcement to develop

Examples of imprinting include filial imprinting (bonding to a parent) and sexual imprinting (developing sexual preferences)

  • Filial imprinting was demonstrated by Konrad Lorenz, who imprinted baby geese to recognise him as a parental figure

Filial Imprinting