by Zhanna REZNIKOVA, Dr. Sc. (Biol.), Head of the Laboratory of Behavioral Ecology of Communities, Institute of Animal Systematics and Ecology, RAS Siberian Branch, and Department of Comparative Psychology, Novosibirsk State University; Sofiya PANTELEEVA, scientist from the same laboratory, NSU lecturer
The development and manifestation of behavioral traditions in various animal species have been described more than once, but it remains unclear what factors promote and, vice versa, what are the factors preventing prevalence of behavioral forms new for the population. It is therefore essential to understand the role of genetic programs in triggering of stereotypes, in other words, congenital liability to quite definite algorithm of actions. Experimental studies of the hunting behavior of ants led us to a hypothesis on "disseminated social training". We shall speak about its mechanisms below.
Under natural conditions the animals use three sources of "knowledge": hereditary behavioral programs, individual experience, and social training based on imitation. At the beginning of the 1960s, Mikhail Lobashyov, geneticist from I. Pavlov Institute of Physiology, USSR AS, and Leningrad State University, called the transfer of behavioral characters from one generation to another by non-genetic means the "signal heredity" (signal here implying the continuity of the first and second signal systems concept formulated by Academician Ivan Pavlov). Other authors called the same phenomenon the "cultural continuity" or even "culture". The development of cognitive ethology*, development of new experimental methods promoting the discovery of the intellectual potential of animals gave rise in the last half of the 20th century to a new wave of interest to inculcation of behavioral characters by training. However, attempts to clear out ethological mechanisms of this process led to many controversies. Before we start their discussion, we ha ... Читать далее