At the start of this course the student should have acquired the following competences:
Specific prerequisites for this course:
General background in biology.
2. Learning outcomes
- Knowledge of and insight into the four different types of research questions in behavioural biology, interactions with other research disciplines, and the significance of the this field of study to society.
- Adequate skills in the observation of behaviour (drawing up of behavioural protocols, analysis and interpretation of simple observational data, writing of a personal paper/essay on the basis of an assignment…).
3. Course contents
In this course, the scientific study of animal behaviour is approached from four different viewpoints.
Causation: what are the stimuli that elicit the response, and how has it been modified by recent learning?
Development: how does the behavior change with age, and what early experiences are necessary for the behavior to be shown?
Function: how does the behavior impact on the animal's chances of survival and reproduction?
Evolutionary history: how does the behavior compare with similar behavior in related species, and how might it have arisen through the process of phylogeny?
These four levels of analysis can be condensed into two: (1) those that deal with the proximate or immediate causes of behaviour, which are linked to the operation of internal developmental and physiological systems, and (2) those that have to do with the ultimate or long-term evolutionary causes of behaviour, which are linked to questions of adaptive value and historical modification.
We will focus on both proximate and ultimate aspects of behaviour as well as their interrelationships. We will focus also in particular on learning behaviour, the nature-nurture debate, social and eusocial behaviour, communication, sexual selection, mating systems, defensive behaviour, animal welfare, and human behaviour. Interrelationships with other scientific disciplines such as psychology and behavioural neurosciences are approached and discussed in detail.
4. Teaching method
Class contact teaching: LecturesSeminars
5. Assessment method and criteria
Examination: Written without oral presentation
6. Study materialRequired reading
Course book and scientific articles
The following study material can be studied on a voluntary basis:
Alcock, J. 2005. Animal Behaviour. Eighth edition. Sinauer Associates. 564 pagina’s.
Sherman, P.W. & Alcock, J. 1998. Exploring Animal Behavior. Readings from American Scientist.
Sinauer Associates. 300 pagina’s.
Rosenzweig, M.R., Breedlove, S.M. & Watson, N.V. 2005. Biological Psychology. Fourth edition. Sinauer Associates. 622 pagina's.
Martin, P. & Bateson, P. 1994. Measuring behaviour. Cambridge University Press.
7. Contact information
(+)last update: 13/04/2013 10:07 ivan.nijs