ACS Distance Education UK
The study of animal behaviour provides a foundation for animal training, or more generally, animal care. It also provides very real insights and a foundation for understanding human behaviour.
What is the Purpose of Animal Behaviour?
It is assumed that all animal behaviour is an adaptation designed to support survival, either directly or indirectly. However, this is not always the case. Animals can behave self-destructively, out of habit, or out of boredom, just as humans can. To better understand the behaviour, we should also consider what motivates it.
What Motivates Behaviour?
Genetics is of prime importance (ie. inherited characteristics). Genetic characteristics are also sometimes referred to as “inborn”, “innate” or “instinctive”. Most animals are genetically programmed to act in certain ways in certain situations.
Experience (ie. learned characteristics). Experience may encompass terms including: “acquired”, “experiential” or “environmental”.Behaviours can be learned through the experience of interacting with the environment (which includes the people or other creatures in it), or it can be learned through personal, subjective experience (perceptions, thoughts and feelings). In the case of animals, these latter factors are usually difficult to identify.