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Ch 22: Social Biology

About This Chapter

Watch social biology video lessons and learn about innate behaviors, learned behaviors, altruism, demography and more. Take the quizzes that follow each lesson to test your knowledge of social biology.

Social Biology

Have you ever been told to behave yourself? Okay, but how do you do that; is it something that you've known how to do all along or is it something that you pick up along the way? Social biology can provide some of the answers since it examines the social behavior of many species, which includes both innate and learned behaviors.

First, we'll take a look at innate behaviors, or those behaviors that you've known how to do all along. When your doctor taps your knee with that funny rubber hammer, you jerk your leg in response. It's a reflex. There's a stimulus and an automatic response; it's unlearned. Roaches scuttle away from light, but is that an example of taxis or kinesis? You'll learn all this and more, since we'll also examine stereotyped behaviors, fixed action patterns, migrations and circadian rhythms.

Still, which behaviors are innate and which behaviors are learned? Nature and nurture have a complex relationship, but we can still see how some behaviors are picked up, or learned, along the way. To that effect, we'll learn the difference between classical conditioning and operant conditioning. With imprinting and habituation, you'll find that learning can start almost immediately from birth and continue throughout an organism's lifetime.

In addition to our own behaviors, we'll explore the socials behavior of other species, from insects to birds to primates. The nature of this exploration means expanding our scope to include communities and territories. You'll learn about sacrifices for the greater good when we get to altruism and kin selection. Also, what role can individual fitness play within animal social systems?

Human society is perhaps the most complex of all the animal social systems. Wade into the morass of human interactions and developments with us as we unveil the theory of demographic transition. Age compositions, mortality rates and fertility rates all play a part in the statistical study of human populations. What effect might human progress, such as genetic engineering and industrial development, have on a population's birth and death rates? After watching these lessons, you'll have a lot more to consider the next time someone asks you to behave yourself.

6 Lessons in Chapter 22: Social Biology
Innate Behavior: Reflexes, Kineses and Taxes

1. Innate Behavior: Reflexes, Kineses and Taxes

When there is a loud sound, you quickly jump without thinking. This is because this reflex is an innate, or inherited, behavior. In this lesson, we will look at reflexes as well as several other types of innate behaviors.

Learned Behavior: Imprinting, Habituation and Conditioning

2. Learned Behavior: Imprinting, Habituation and Conditioning

Ever wonder why it is easier to train your dog when you give him a treat every time he does something correct? In this lesson we will take a look at conditioning as well as several other forms of learned behavior.

Social Behavior: The Cost-Benefit of Altruism and Kin Selection

3. Social Behavior: The Cost-Benefit of Altruism and Kin Selection

Ever wonder why people are more likely to help their relatives than complete strangers? Social behavior can help explain this and other actions. Let's look at the cost of certain behaviors.

Social Systems vs. Individual Fitness: The Queen/Worker Relationship

4. Social Systems vs. Individual Fitness: The Queen/Worker Relationship

The queen bee rules her hive while others take care of her needs. This form of behavior may seem odd, but it can be explained by looking into social systems and fitness.

The Theory of Demographic Transition: Overview

5. The Theory of Demographic Transition: Overview

Populations change over time. The growth or decline of a population can have an effect on the quality of life for people within that population. In this lesson, you'll learn about the theory of demographic transition, which is a model used to study and predict population changes.

Carrying Capacity of a Population: Effect of Biomedical Progress

6. Carrying Capacity of a Population: Effect of Biomedical Progress

The human population continues to grow. There are several things that contribute to this growth, including biomedical progress. In this lesson, we will look at some examples as well as what may happen if this growth continues.

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