In this lecture on animal behavior, I have decided to focus exclusively on learning, since this is the one area of animal behavior that tends to appear on the AP Biology exam on a fairly regular basis.

Behavior: Nature or Nurture?

Instinctive Behavior: “Nature”

Complex Innate Behaviors Are Known As Fixed Action Patterns

Charts the number of pecks on different colors and kinds of beaks, as well as a striped red stick. A picture of a herring gull with its baby. A stuffed red-winged blackbird, with which a male would try to copulate.

Unknown sources

Learned Behavior: “Nurture”

Simple Learning: Habituation

Complex Learning: Conditioning

1. Classical Conditioning

2. Operant Conditioning

Nature vs. Nurture: A False Dichotomy?

Shows Lorenz with a line of geese behind him. Another photograph of Lorenz with his geese, this time in the water.

Figure 51.7, page 1060, Campbell's Biology, 5th Edition; unknown source


In this lecture, we examined animal behavior in the context of learning, using this as a way to examine the relationship between nature and nurture.