By John Paul Scott
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Extra resources for Animal Behavior (Natural History Library)
After Buchsbaum, based on Jennings) ANIMAL BEHAVIOR, reaction to any sudden noise. When an electric fan is turned on, he jumps. The. ncrisecontinues" but he daes not continue to react to it and soon pays attention to other things. When new sounds occur, he seldom reacts to them until the fan is turned ofi, for noise against a background of sound is less of a change than a new noise in a sudden silence. In addition, certain of the seilse organs of higher animals show the phenomenon of accommodation which, to some extent, explains the fact that only a sudden change acts as a stimuius.
Other factors may be less evident, sueh as the physieal position of the animals, air currents, changes in humidity and barometric pressure, and even odors and gasesin the atmosphere. In one study of the efiects of drugs on the behavior of miee, the experimental animals were placed in the same box as tle controls rvith only a wire partition between. All physical factors seemed to be equal until it was noticed that the light carne from a window in one side of the room anC that the mice on the lighter side of the box ate more than those on the darker side.
The most important thing about an animal is what it does; and when we have described this, it is possible to go ahead and analyze the environmental changes which cause it to act, the structural and physiological peculiarities which modify its behavior, and the various social and individual consequencesof its reactions. This is not as easy as it sounds. I once had the opportunity of watching the behavior of a herd of wild buffalo in Yellowstone Park, in company with a young scientist who was making a detailed study of their behavior.
Animal Behavior (Natural History Library) by John Paul Scott