M03 Animal Behaviour

The Study of Animal Behaviour – an introduction.

The study of animal behaviour originated from the separate disciplines of Psychology (which originated from the study of the human mind) and Ethology (the biological study of behaviour). These two disciplines typically have very different approaches to the study of animal behaviour. Psychologists are generally concerned with how behaviours are produced and how they are learned, and generally involve the study of species under laboratory conditions. In contracts, biologists are trained to approach the study of behaviour using Darwin’s theory of evolution and are thus more concerned with the function and evolution of behaviours. Moreover, field studies of animal behaviour and the ecological conditions in which behaviour arises, has lead to a third discipline of Behavioural Ecology. These different approaches to the study of behaviour have often lead to very different explanations for the same behaviour.