Article

Animal Behavior

Suzanne Baker

in Psychology

ISBN: 9780199828340
Published online November 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0005
Animal Behavior

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This field encompasses the scientific study of the behavior of nonhuman animals. Niko Tinbergen, who won the Nobel Prize in 1973 (along with Karl von Frisch and Konrad Lorenz) for his work in animal behavior, conceptualized the scientific study of animal behavior as encompassing four interrelated questions or levels of analysis. These include questions of proximate cause or mechanism; questions of behavioral development or ontogeny; questions of function or adaptive significance; and questions concerned with the evolution of behavior. This conceptualization of the field remains important in the contemporary study of animal behavior. The field of animal behavior has its roots in the disciplines of psychology, where it was historically conceptualized as comparative psychology, and biology, where it emerged as the subdiscipline of ethology. The contemporary study of animal behavior stretches across several theoretical and applied disciplines, including behavioral ecology, comparative psychology, biological anthropology, wildlife management, veterinary medicine, and others. Researchers in animal behavior investigate a wide range of behaviors, including communication and sensory processes; feeding, foraging, and antipredator behavior; reproductive behavior; social behavior; and the relationship of behavior to the environment. As new technologies have been developed, enabling increasingly detailed data to be collected on behavior, genetics, movement patterns, and populations, our understanding of animal behavior has expanded. The early 21st century has seen an increasing focus on applied topics, including the role of animal behavior in conservation, domestic animal behavior, the behavior of animals in zoo settings, and human–animal interaction.

Article.  10005 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Developmental Psychology ; Health Psychology ; History and Systems in Psychology ; Educational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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