• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Drawing on examples from the key concepts, discuss the extent to which animals and humans have an innate predisposition to learning.

Extracts from this document...


Drawing on examples from the key concepts, discuss the extent to which animals and humans have an innate predisposition to learning. Animals and humans both have an innate predisposition to learning. This is shown with animals like snakes who are not "reared" by their parents but still know how to hunt. However some behaviours must be learned, this is the cognitive view. The biological view believes there is prepared, unprepared and contraprepared learning. All this will be explained below. Korad Lorenze who was an ethologist found that hatchlings, he work was with young geese; follow the first moving object they see after birth. He called this imprinting. Imprinting applies to animals, mainly birds but also humans. Lorenze conducted a famous experiment to prove that imprinting was permanent and it happened during a critical period. A critical period means that the learning must take place during a set time or not at all. For the experiment Lorenze took a clutch eggs before they were due to hatch , he left half with the goose mother and kept the other half with him. ...read more.


This has been criticized because it uses the term critical learning period not sensitive period. Another point that is criticized is that specialization happens at puberty. Several researchers believe that localization/specialization occurs at birth. There are studies that prove that the first ten years or so may not be important therefore this disproves the idea of a critical period. The main case study that helps disprove lenneburg's theory is the case of genie. Curtiss did a case study on an extremely deprived child called Genie. Genie was born in the USA in 1957 but she was not "found" until 1977. Genie's case helps prove the idea of a sensitive period. She was found at the age of 13 yrs and 7 months however she appeared around 6 years old as she was extremely thin. This was because from the age of 20 months she was confined to extreme small room and also under physical restraint. She received minimal care. She was fed only infant food. She was abused by her father who would beat her for making any noise therefore when she was found she had learned to suppress all vocalizations except a whimper. ...read more.


There are three types of behaviour, prepared behaviours, unprepared behaviours and contra prepared behaviours. Prepared behaviours are those that require very little experience e.g. species specific behaviour. Unprepared behaviours must be acquired through experience e.g. cooking. Contra prepared behaviours are behaviours that are difficult to acquire .Behaviorists believe in the equipotentiality premise which means that the principles of conditioning apply equally to all species. Food avoidance is learned very quickly therefore is like a prepared behavior although it is not. Garcia et al. studies the effect of exposure to x-ray. Any rat that becomes sick after eating then being exposed subsequently avoided the food. Garcia called this bait shyness. This lead to the conclusion that in most species getting sick is associated with the last food eaten. Garcia believed this was a form of prepared behaviour to stop animals eating harmful food. Phobias work like bait shyness. The majority of phobias are of things that may be harmful/ were harmful. This shows that phobias are not normal classical conditioning but prepared classical conditioning. Animals and humans therefore are predispositioned to fear certain things as shown by Seligman and Garcia. However Ethologists and Behaviorists disagree with this. By exploring biological aspects behaviorists make their argument more convincing not less. Wd count;1177 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Zoology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Zoology essays

  1. A comparison of humans and animals

    I'm going to list for you what I think are seven of the most important features that we have that distinguish us from the animals. Self Concept First of all, we have a more refined self-concept; that is, we

  2. Free essay

    A review of a case study on feline aggression and possible treatments

    This can then be followed by a method known as counter-conditioning, where the cats are fed highly palatable food whilst in contact with each other. 'By withholding food and rewards except for training sessions, each cat may learn to associate the presence of the other cat with food and play, rather than fear and anxiety', (Landsberg, et al, 2003).

  1. To what extent we can say animals have language

    This is generally a rule although there are some exceptions - onomatopoeic words such as "crunch" or "bang" but there are only a few in each language. The fact that there is an arbitrary relationship between linguistic signs and object they represent can be considered a defining feature of language

  2. This study attempts to explore the basis of people's fear of animals.

    They almost always begin in childhood. If the phobia starts later in life it will be more ominous. It seems that animal phobias are related to specific events in life, like a child bitten by a ferocious dog develops a fear form all dogs.

  1. The positive correlation shows that the older the molehill the higher the species diversity ...

    0 0 0 3 0 0 0 3 cocksfoot 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 jointed rush 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 In order to view and analyse these results more easily a summary table has been constructed showing only the total species frequency of

  2. Investigating the effect that group size has on the vigilant behaviour of flocks of ...

    = 17.4% Table 2: The regression analysis table shows the correlations between the predictor variables and the dependant variable and whether they are positive or negative (column headed 'T').

  1. Give a critical appraisal of pre-neoplastic foci in liver.

    An age-dependent increase in the occurrence of foci has been observed in control rats of several strains, particularly in aged rats [2]. An extremely high spontaneous incidence is observed in Fischer 344 rats, which may reach up to 90% at two years, however such spontaneous foci do not necessarily possess all of the abnormal phenotypic characteristics of chemically-induced lesions [2].

  2. Discuss the Need for Osmoregulation in animals, using specific examples and environments

    Smaller animals, are more prone to dehydration effects because they have a larger surface area from which to lose water, and so may have a larger more general defence mechanism, such as the integument in amphibians, which varies in permeability. There are two main types of organism: osmoregulators and osmoconformers.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work