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Animal Behaviour Case Study

Essay by   •  July 30, 2011  •  Case Study  •  450 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,360 Views

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These two experiments were tested because 2 men , Skinner and Pavlov, wanted to learn animals behaviour like do dogs salivate when they have food, see the person giving food or when they smell the food.

Ivan Pavlov was a Russian psychologist who was not a big fan of animals or their behaviour. He was interested in the digestive system of dogs so he used his dog in the experiment. He made an observation, like every experiment, he was looking at dogs salivating when they were given food. He was measuring the level of salivation his dog was producing. He done this by putting 2 holes in the dogs cheeks, placing a tube in the holes and letting the saliva go through the tube so they can measure it. He starved his dog and then was put in a harness and presented with a stimulus. They puffed a standard amount of meat powder then his dogs' saliva was measured. Pavlov tried a different method, before the meat powder was puffed in the dogs cheek, he rang a bell. He kept doing this so the dog will know when it would be fed and he was trying to see if the dog will salivate when he hears the bell. The more he rang the bell the more the dog salivated. The dog learned how to associate the bell sound with the influx of food. At first the dog had a reflex action, as far as we know this is an innate response which a dog was born with, they didn't have to learn it.

B.F.Skinner done a similar experiment, instead of tubes in the cheeks, in a box called the Skinner box which is a cage where the animal is placed , containing a bar that the animal can press or a key that it can peck. When they do this they are given a reward, preferably food is rewarded when the animal carries out this act. The animal at first tries to find a way out which would be an instinct. Eventually, by fluke, it manages to press the bar and then the reward is due. Once they have done this a few times, the animal begins to realise what they have to do so they know how to associate the bar with a reward.

There are similarities in the two experiments like the animal has to learn to associate something to get something back or to give something in Pavlov's case. There are many differences like the cage and tubes; they are both measuring different elements of the animals but both finding out about an animal's behaviour. Overall I think that both experiments went well and should be looked into more.

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