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In 1975 E. O. Wilson he published the book “Sociobiology: The New Synthesis” and, in his attempt of unification, provided a prediction on the future of ethology and comparative psychology.
“The conventional wisdom also speaks of ethology, which is the naturalistic
study of whole patterns of animal behavior, and its companion enterprise, comparative psychology, as the central, unifying fields of behavioral biology. They are not; both are destined to be cannibalized by neurophysiology and sensory physiology from one end and sociobiology and behavioral ecology from the other. I hope not too many scholars in ethology and psychology will be offended by this vision of the future of behavioral biology. It seems to be indicated both by the extrapolation of current events and by consideration of the logical relationship behavioral biology holds with the remainder of science. The future, it seems clear, cannot lie with the ad hoc terminology, crude models, and curve fitting that characterize most of contemporary ethology and comparative psychology. Whole patterns of animal behavior will
inevitably be explained within the framework, first, of integrative neurophysiology neurons and reconstructs their circuitry, and, second, of sensory physiology, which seeks to characterize the cellular transducers at the molecular level . Endocrinology will continue to play a peripheral role, since it is concerned with the cruder tuning devices of nervous activity.”
I am interested in both opinions and references on this claim, and to explore the current position of the scientific community
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Dear Sergey,
I am very interested in the topic, thank you for the suggestion. I am also interested in your opinion about this quote.
Best , Andrea
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The common view is that it does, but recently this view has been challenged. For example Prum (2013):
"Current concepts of art cannot exclusively circumscribe the human arts from many forms of non-human biotic art. Without assuming an arbitrarily anthropocentric perspective, any concept of art will
need to engage with biodiversity, and either recognize many instances of biotic advertisements as art, or exclude some instances of human art."
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Have you related the Discussion on art, with that of design. Art is connected to inspiration and design to motivation.
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Flynn has written of the inter-generational increase in human ability to process abstractions in advanced nations since the 19th century. This increase is sometimes linked to advances in mass literacy. Other processes may have had related effects in different centuries.
The abstract (geometrical) forms of human habitations seem like a plausible proxy for the dispersion of one form of abstraction across large populations.
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I get your point, Shobhon. Let me try to clarify.
At a certain stage in the transition from living in nature to deep immersion in an urban environment, our cognitive processing of geometric form must become separate from specific cases (such as a rectangular room with right angles) and start engaging in freer generalization. Kelly S. Mix observes that urban American children can apprehend with greater than random accuracy which of two 4-digit numbers is larger as early as the age of 3. Where does this knowledge come from? And would it be replicable in a typical oral village (my bet is that it wouldn't)?
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I'm interested in communicative complexity in apes and monkeys. There seems to be a considerable redundancy (repetition) in the vocal communication of these species. What do you think could be the function of this repetition and redundancy. Could it be increased saliency? Do you know any relevant research? Assistance is very much appreciated!
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That is true. I was operating under the assumption that the calls were in fact the same. There are several statistical analyses that can confirm this.
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AWAY ! Unfortunately.
Nowadays, proximate explanations are, at least almost always, in terms that are neurobiological, endocrinological, or molecular-genetic . There usually appears to be absolutely no concept of a behavioral pattern or change in a behavioral pattern (either, of course, in response to aspects of the current environment) AS themselves a proximate cause of a new behavior pattern [change] -- I.E. a true observable behavior pattern phenomenon proceeding, and needed for, the key subsequent behavior pattern change. I believe there is a BIAS there , due to our philosophical cultural traditional-beliefs.
And, this is a problem.
THIS PROBLEM HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN THE CASE, and certainly has not always been the case in ethology. The ethology Tinbergen and Lorenz were given a Nobel prize for often did have one behavior pattern as a proximate cause for certain behavior pattern(s) that followed. This is what needs to be re-learned and abided by or real ethology may be lost. Such a relationship between behavior patterns was a hallmark of classical ethology.
Modern ethologists failed to have the "backbone" to maintain that which was most distinctive and best about ETHOLOGY. They basically "caved in" to how others characterized them. (Now, the field is indistinguishable from comparative psychology and/or evolutionary psychology.)
Listen up, International Society for Human Ethology !
Real science, real biological science, the real biology of behavior DEPENDS on behavioral pattern(s), themselves, being seen as a major proximate cause of new behavior patterning [and of behavior pattern change]. Ethology must return to what it uniquely was OR THERE IS NO CHANCE OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE. I am sure, if I were a analytic philosopher, I could argue this. It really is logically and scientifically irrefutable. Behavioral sciences, of all "stripes", have been becoming more and more stupid -- there is no better word (since they defy biology and defy science). (Simply look for the lack of the words "behavior pattern" and you are on the way to seeing the whole problem.)
P.S. Consider this a big "kiss ...." to our philosophical cultural heritage; certainly the stupidity is a "love letter" to those arm-chair thinkers.
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I agree with Mr.MacGregor
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My experiment plan is to make mice depressive model by CUMS on mice and then mice would subjected to behavior tests (such as a forced swimming test, tail suspension test etc.). Is it needed to do a forced swimming test before the mice modeling, in order to eliminate the mice who have big difference of the test results? Have you done such test and how much is the Elimination Ratio?
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I would suggest that model validity is better if extremes are not removed a priori.  They are expressing normal variation which will also exist in the target population.
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I'm interested in starting a discussion about using animal training for husbandry and other purposes as a form of enrichment itself. Many authors have proposed the idea (Desmond & Laule; Melfi, etc.), but I'm particularly interested in experimental examinations of this phenomenon. If training can function as a form of enrichment, what welfare benefits would we expect to see? Reduced stereotypies? Increased general activity? Time spent foraging? Increased non-aberrant social behaviors? What about species differences? And possibly most important, if training is enriching, what about it is responsible for that effect? I can think of at least several potential causal factors: (a) social interactions with the trainer(s), (b) extra feeding/foraging opportunities, and (c) increased activity (depending on what behavior(s) are being trained). Are there any other causal variables that might be responsible for this effect, if there is such an effect? 
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Hi Eduardo.
What a great subject!  I am not aware of any studies on the following, but anecdotally, I have seen training increase the self-confidence of anxious animals.  Such animals are initially difficult to train because positive reinforcement training requires that an animal do something in order to be rewarded.  Anxious animals tend to freeze when they are put into situations that demand that they act, so it's difficult (comparatively speaking) to get them to do something for which they can be rewarded.  In other words, training for them is initially not enriching --- it's stressful.  Once they figure out the rules of the game, though, they become eager to participate, because while they are participating, they have some control over what happens in their lives.  Performing a behavior becomes a way of demanding a treat.  Such control improves the welfare of all animals, but it has seemed to me that it is especially beneficial for those with anxious personalities.  I'd guess this effect would occur even with Skinner box training, but it would certainly fit in with the cognitive bias testing mentioned above.  I would expect cognitive bias to become more positive as an anxious animal gains more confidence.  Anyway, I'd love to see this hypothesis explored scientifically.
In essence, training teaches an animal to think about controlling its environment, so an animal that has learned trial-and-error is probably more likely to benefit from other enrichment tools (e.g., foraging devices) or to find ways to enrich itself.  An animal that has learned to think in this way could be able to benefit from more complicated enrichment devices that would take up more of its time.  I would expect that the brain changes seen in animals in enriched environments would be even more obvious in animals enriched through training.
For the period of time it is being trained, an animal does not experience the boredom of confinement.  Making human interactions positive reduces stress and provides some social stimuli for isolated animals.  These factors combined (and probably others that don't come immediately to mind) should help reduce stereotypies.  It would be easy to check something of that type.
I think there are all sorts of ways to explore training as enrichment.  If you are training husbandry behaviors, you would be killing two birds with one stone (so to speak) --- or maybe even three birds, because husbandry-trained animals reduce handler stress, too.  Best of luck to you in your endeavors.
Wendy 
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I am going to do a quasi-experimental cross sectional study that measures the effect of new broadcasts on the fear of death compared to psychological distance. The idea is to divide the participants into two groups of equal size. One group sees a montage of news items including: the Ukraine crisis, a Boko Haram attack and an oil crisis in Brazil. The second group gets the same video but instead of the Boko Haram item it will show an item about the recent Paris terrorist attacks. I am not sure how to effectively measure death anxiety in this case because I want to have a before and after the video result so we can see what effect the videos have on the fear of death. Could anyone help me out?
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Is there any way this could be measured in a questionairre? This is for a school project in which we need to use a questionairre, we want to use one questionairre before hand and one after but with similar questions.
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Can anyone help me by pointing me to a theory/ theoretical paper/ review that helps integrating inconsistent findings when comparing psychological (e.g., emotional exhaustion) and physiological/endocrinological (i.e., cortisol) data?
Thank you very much in advance!
Best wishes,
Judith
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Thank you very much Dr. Salim Aljubori,
I will check these references!
Best regards,
Judith
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I am looking for a definition of innate behaviour:
- Relevant to the domains of ethology or comparative psychology,
- That provides necessary and sufficient conditions to test whether an animal behaviour is innate or not,
- That comes from citable literature.
None of my bookshelves (real or virtual) did yield an answer. Googling offers two incomplete definitions, without sources:
1) https://www.cals.ncsu.edu/course/ent425/tutorial/Behavior/  that suggests that a behaviour that is heritable, intrinsic, stereotypic, inflexible and consummate, is likely to be innate.
2) http://dooleykevin.com/psyc.4.2.pdf that states that a behaviour is unlearned, invariant, universal and adaptive. Alas, there is no more definitions than sources.
I can not imagine that the classic ethologists and psychologists have not debated the topic and formed a universally accepted definition (even temporarily). I hope that some of you dealt with the same question and will provide me with some serious material that I can lean on. Many thanks!
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Hi Herve,
This is a very interesting subject! I did some digging on my own out of curiosity, and stumbled upon some resources which you may find helpful.
First is the (curated) article from Stanford's online encyclopedia of philosophy, "the distinction between innate and acquired characteristics", which Jorge also cited. It seems to provide good framing of the issue and cites various ethological researchers, etc. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/innate-acquired/
The second is a 1979 (!!) review paper by John Cassidy, "Half a Century on the Concepts of Innateness and Instinct: Survey, Synthesis and Philosophical Implications", which may prove to be a good resource for work done until then:
Armed with the knowledge that "innateness" is often used as a keyword for this literature, I did another search and came up with a more recent review, this time by Mameli & Bateson (the latter being a familiar figure in this field), "An evaluation of the concept of innateness" (2011).
Again, it can also be mined for references at the very least.
Another key term is "fixed action pattern" or "FAP", which Cassidy refers to in his review article above. A quick search shows that this term can be used to search for work that specifically examines FAPs or "innate behaviours" in the invertebrate and comparative literature, e.g., with bees and wasps but also mice. 
For instance, this paper looks at instinctive grooming as a FAP in mice that is used as a baseline to compare whether there are obsessive-compulsive behaviours that also exhibit sequencing of the kind seen innately with grooming behaviours:
On this note, the esteemed neuroscientist Rodolfo Llinas wrote a book that discusses evolutionary origins of the central nervous system and prominently features FAPs, and may thus be of use, indirectly, as well:
Depending on where in the evolutionary tree you wish to focus on, you can use these different terms to refine your search.
Best of luck!
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I always thought there was agreement that the two processes are independent (imprinting and associative learning). But then I found a series of papers proposing a different view: e.g., "The learning process of imprinting is often regarded as being different from conventional associative learning. However, the imprinting object itself can function as a reinforcer. Recent studies have attempted to test predictions from an interpretation of filial imprinting as a form of associative learning. The first results suggest that 'blocking' may occur in imprinting, whilst there is no evidence for 'overshadowing' " (Bolhuis, 1991, Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc. 1991 Nov;66(4):303-45.)
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Hi Orsola, I have always maintained that the essential difference between ordinary associative learning and imprinting is a temporal one; namely, the existence of a critical or sensitive period in the latter. However, there are other examples of learning (e.g., primary language acquisition) that have similar developmental constraints. Therefore, I feel that types of associative learning may be ordered along a temporal gradient.