Learning via observation The animal just observes and mimics to learn. Through observation, animals may acquire particular actions as well as complete behavioral repertoires. Observational learning can occur in the absence of external reward. The animal just learns by watching and mimicking. For example, a bird will copy other birds' behavior to learn how to build a nest and attract a mate.
Behavioral conditioning Animals can also learn through trial and error. This type of learning is called "operant" or "reinforced" learning. In operant learning, an animal receives a reward for a good action and is punished for a bad one. Thus, the animal learns which behaviors lead to getting more rewards and avoiding punishment. Punishment can be in the form of electric shocks, time-out, or simply losing a food pellet. Rewards can be anything from food to love to escape from a predator's cave. Operant learning leads to the development of skills because the animal tries out different behaviors until it finds one that works. Reinforcement can also come in the form of imitation. If someone else performs a certain behavior that leads to receiving a reward, then you copy that behavior too so you can get your own reward!
Permanence of memory Most memories are only temporary, meaning you can't say with certainty what you did or saw earlier today or yesterday.
Observational learning is the process of learning by observing the behavior of others. Observational learning in animals is frequently based on classical conditioning, in which an instinctual response is prompted by witnessing the behavior of another (e.g., mobbing in birds), although other mechanisms may also be involved. Observational learning enables animals to learn about things such as other people's behaviors, nature's laws and even how to solve problems.
Animals use observational learning to learn from experience or education. This type of learning allows animals to avoid harm, find food, escape predators and more. Observational learning is important for animal survival because it does not require actions such as pushing buttons or making physical changes to your environment. Instead, it uses cues in your surroundings to guide your behavior.
Scientists have found that many species, from fish to mammals, use observational learning to learn about their environments and figure out how things work. A good example is young children who learn by watching what their parents do. Parents provide information about how to act around strangers by behaving appropriately themselves. Children then use this information to decide what action to take when confronted with a new situation.
Research has shown that rats, monkeys and even pigeons will observe someone else solving a problem or performing some task and then later try to do the same thing themselves. This type of learning is called "operant conditioning" and can be used by scientists to teach animals new skills through trial and error.
An animal's learned habit is what it finds via trial and error and observation. The majority of learnt behaviors are the result of parental instruction or experience with the animal's surroundings. For example, a bird will learn to avoid certain trees because they provide adequate food without putting them in danger of being eaten. Other animals, such as humans, can learn useful skills via practice.
Learned behaviors can be good or bad depending on whether they serve to protect the animal or not. For example, a cat will learn to fear people because they know that if they run away from someone who is not harming them then they will be safe from harm. However, if they run away from someone who is trying to hurt them then this behavior is bad because it puts them at risk of being harmed.
Animals can also learn by observing others in their group or community. For example, a young chimpanzee might have seen his father get beaten by a male in the group so he will learn not to fight with other males in his community.
Finally, some learned behaviors are simply mistakes that an animal has made once or many times; these are called "unlearned behaviors". For example, a dog may learn to chase cars even though there are people around who could hurt it if it gets too close.