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Self-Quiz on Animal Behavior and Cognition

Revised 4/4/2004. Welcome to the self-quiz on Animal Behavior and Cognition. Read the question and click on an answer. You will jump to a correction or (if the answer is correct) a confirmation. No total score is provided for this quiz because it is meant to be browsed; you can scan the responses to wrong answers as well as right answers. If you run into problems or have a question, read the introductory paragraphs on the self-quiz index page.

  1. What does it mean to "anthropomorphize"?
  2. In the classic case of Clever Hans, the horse who could tap out answers to arithmetic problems (and much more!), what did psychologist Oscar Pfungst of Berlin finally conclude about Clever Hans's abilities?
  3. Skinner liked to show curves from 3 different species, after which he said...
  4. Which is NOT true of Tinbergen and Lorenz, the founders of classic ethology?
  5. What is an ethogram?
  6. Response to sign stimuli or releasers is generally based upon...
  7. Why would some fears be "built in"?
  8. What is a pheromone, technically speaking?
  9. What did Epstein and Skinner do, in response to Gallup's experiment showing apes could recognize themselves in mirrors?
  10. What can chimps and other great apes do, using sign language?

End of multiple choice questions for Chapter on Animal Behavior and Cognition

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ANSWERS AND DISCUSSION SECTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You picked...

to act like an anthropologist instead of a psychologist

No, however the root "anthro" (referring to humans) is in both words...

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You picked...

to do the "typical, stupid human thing" (with animals)

Anthropomorphizing may be typical of humans, and it may even be stupid on occasion. However, this is not a good definition of the word "anthropomorphize."

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You picked...

to treat animals as if they were like humans

Yes. To anthropomorphize is to project human qualities onto animals, or to interpret their behavior as one would interpret human behavior.

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You picked...

to think too much about a problem, until the simple answer is overlooked

No, that is not anthropomorphization.

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to influence an animal with human ways, so it is less like its relatives in the wild

No...that might be called "enculturation." Anthropomorphization is different from this.

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You picked...

Hans's owner was cheating

No, there was never any evidence that Von Osten was cheating.

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You picked...

Hans knew the answers ahead of time

No, Hans was not told the answers ahead of time, not that it would have mattered!

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You picked...

Hans could not perform unless his owner was present

No, to the contrary, Hans could give correct answers even when Von Osten was absent.

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You picked...

Hans had "only the intelligence of a four year old"

No, Hans was never to shown to have human-like intellectual abilities at all.

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You picked...

Hans was responding to unintended signal from observers

Yes. Small reactions from onlookers served as a "stop" signal, similar to what some animal trainers call a "no-go" cue. When Hans sensed that it was time to stop tapping his foot, he stopped, and he was usually right. Initially he was reinforced for "correct answers" by Von Osten

 

Probably on many other occasions a crowd of onlookers would respond quickly with amazed and approving vocalizations, which also maintained the response.

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You picked...

laws of learning differed for different species

No, just the opposite...

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You picked...

the human is unlike any other animal

No, one of the curves was from a human, and it resembled the curves produced by other species.

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You picked...

the "Scala Naturae" was upheld

No. The Scala Naturae was Aritotle's idea of a great Scale of Nature, ordering animals from least to most advanced.

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You picked...

species seemed to differ mainly in speed of learning

No, although this is consistent with Skinner's position, it is not the point he was making.

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You picked...

it "didn't matter" which species produced the curve

Yes. The curves displayed by Skinner were produced by animals responding to a fixed ratio schedule, which produces a distinctive pattern of behavior (the scallop, on a cumulative record)

 

Many different species respond to this schedule with the same pattern. This demonstrated, according to Skinner, that the environment was the primary determinant of behavior. If one was trying to predict this type of behavior, the species "didn't matter."

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You picked...

they worked together before and after World War II

No, they did work together before and after the war.

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You picked...

they both received Nobel Prizes

No, they both received Nobel Prizes.

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You picked...

they died within a year of each other

No, this is true. In fact, they died within months of each other, Tinbergen in 1988, Lorenz in 1989.

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You picked...

they gave many young scholars assistance

No, many of today's prominent ethologists were students of Lorenz or Tinbergen.

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You picked...

they started as comparative psychologists

Yes, this is the false item. Comparative psychology was something totally different from ethology, before World War II. Comparative psychologists were primarily Americans using laboratory tasks to compare species. Ethologists were zoologists working primarily in Europe, trying to relate behavior to evolution.

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You picked...

a list of species-characteristic behaviors

Yes. An ethogram is typically compiled by observation from a blind, in the natural environment.

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an analysis of functional relationships between behavior and evolution

No, it is simpler than that.

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You picked...

a laboratory procedure for distinguishing between learned and innate behaviors

No, an ethogram is supposed to pick out "innate" or biologically prepared behaviors...those which normally emerge in any member of the species, without special training.

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You picked...

a list of similarities between different species, based on evolution

No, however, early ethologists believed that their observations could contribute to the analysis of evolutionary relationships between different species. Emergence of techniques like DNA analysis has made that unnecessary, as there are now much more precise ways of determining common ancestry of different species.

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You picked...

any distinctive genetic characteristics of a species

No, many genetic characteristics are unobservable or unexpressed in behavior or expressed in highly complex ways. Ethograms tend to concentrate on early-observable behavior patterns.

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how realistic they are

No, for example, Tinbergen found that male sticklebacks would ignore a realistic model while charging after a shapeless blob with a red underside.

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how colorful they are

No, color is sometimes involved in releasers, but not necessarily.

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a few isolated features of the stimulus

Yes. One of the striking characteristics of animal behavior, in many species, is the emergence of species-typical behaviors triggered by relatively simple stimuli such as the presence of a particular odor molecule or a particular visual pattern.

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You picked...

whether all members of the species have them

No...releasers are not something animals "have." Animals respond to sign stimuli which may come from the environment or from animals of different species.

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whether the stimulus is adaptive

No, ordinarily one would not speak of a "stimulus being adaptive" because it is only behaviors (actions) which have consequences for reproductive success.

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they involve stimuli which can have many different meanings

No, that would not encourage an automatic, biological response.

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they involve hallucinations which come from inside the animal

No, hallucinations would not necessarily benefit the animal genetically or otherwise. However, you could make an interesting argument that Jungian archetypes, which he described as "projection making factors in the brain," are similar to action patterns and other forms of "innate behavior." They are pre-formed, stereotyped responses to specific stimuli.

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they aided survival and reproduction of ancestor animals

Yes...that is the underlying explanation of all "adaptive" behavior. Of course, it is genes, not the animals themselves, which must be reproduced. Instinctive fears are those which aid reproduction over the long run. Common sense suggests that fear of snakes and fear of spiders, for example, could be lifesavers.

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they are reinforced by early experience during the "imprinting" stage

No, imprinting is a special form of learning found mostly in ground-dwelling birds, in which the newly hatched bird treats the first large moving object it sees as a mother.

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so that animals can "unlearn" them, according to Thorndike, if the environment is safe

No, Thorndike never said this.

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any species-specific signalling system

No. Visual displays, for example, would not count as pheromones.

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a chemical used with members of the same species to communicate over a distance

Yes. Technically, a pheromone is an "intraspecific distance hormone." Intraspecific means "within the species." So a pheromone is a way of communicating over a distance with members of the same species, by chemical. The response may be to congregate, to flee in alarm, or some other response. Sexual responses are one major category of behavior which can be triggered by pheromones.

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by definition it is a sexual attractant

No, this is just one function served by pheromones, among many others.

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any chemical which causes strong attraction or repulsion

No, pheromones can also trigger other sorts of behavior.

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any behavior or stimulus which initiates reproductive activity, not just odor

No, pheromones are "distance hormones" which means they are chemicals acting at a distance

 

This distinguishes pheromones from stimuli such as visual displays, vocalizations, and touch stimuli.

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they showed apes could NOT recognize themselves in mirrors

No, this was not the point of the Skinner and Epstein research.

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they trained pigeons to use mirror images

Yes. Through a clever shaping procedure, and by fashioning little collars for the pigeons, they demonstrated that pigeons could use their mirror images to locate and peck spots of paper on their bodies which they could not otherwise see.

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they re-explained Gallup's results in terms of reinforcement theory

They explained Gallup's results in terms of operant conditioning, not classical conditioning. The main effort thrust of their research was to replicate the behavior pattern.

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they ignored Gallup's finding

No, they set out to provide an alternative explanation for it.

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they replicated Gallup's work

No, replication involves full repetition of a piece of research. What Epstein and Skinner did can be described as "analogue" research. In other words, they set up a situation analogous to (but not identical to) Gallup's mirror test.

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converse as well as the average 5 year old

No. Some experts compared Kanzi's ability to that of a 2 year old human.

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label or name objects

Yes, everybody on both sides of the ape/language debate seems to agree on this.

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consistently form grammatical, novel expressions

No, Kanzi mastered a "protogrammar" but did not form complex human-like sentences.

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express irony and metaphor

No, although video documentaries give a distinct impression that chimps sometimes use language to "tease" or draw a response from humans (for example, deliberately labeling an object with the wrong color, to get a reaction from a research assistant).

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describe absent people

No. This is not a talent displayed in any of the widely circulated videotape documentaries of ape language research. (Conceivably Kanzi could learn to do this, if the task involved supplying adjectives to describe absent people, but that is speculation.)

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