Exam-style Questions: Determinants of Animal Behaviour

  1. Outline two biological explanations of apparent altruism.

    (Marks available: 6)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 1

    You should have written about kin selection and reciprocal altruism as explanations of apparent altruism.

    You can be awarded a maximum of 3 marks for each explanation - more marks for more detail!

    The following table gives examples of possible answers:

    3 marks Kin selection increases an animal's inclusive fitness by improving a close relative's chances of surviving in order to reproduce. This may be achieved, for example, by helping parents to raise siblings.
    2 marks Kin selection is an example of apparent altruism and occurs when animals help their relatives.
    1 mark Apparent altruism is when an animal helps relatives.

    (Marks available: 6)

  2. Describe one research study that provides evidence for intelligence in non-human animals.

    (Marks available: 6)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 2

    You might have written about insight learning (for example, Köhler), self-recognition studies or research into theory of mind (for example, Woodruff & Premack).

    The following table gives a mark scheme:

    5-6 marks Detailed description of aim, method, results, conclusions and implications of study.
    3-4 marks Description of study lacks detail and/or some aspects of study are omitted.
    1-2 marks Simple or anecdotal description of intelligence in non-human animals.

    (Marks available: 6)

  3. Outline and evaluate the role of operant conditioning in the behaviour of non-human animals.

    (Marks available: 12)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 3

    You can get 12 marks for this question. You can gain a maximum of 6 marks for outlining the role of operant conditioning and 6 marks for your evaluation.

    Describing the role of operant conditioning in the behaviour of non-human animals:

    5-6 marks You have accurately explained a suitable range of features of learning by operant conditioning. You have displayed a detailed knowledge of how animals acquire behaviours by operant conditioning (for example, behaviour shaping). It is important to have expressed ideas clearly.
    3-4 marks You have explained a range of features of learning by operant conditioning reasonably accurately, although you may have covered too many without enough detail.
    1-2 marks Your answer is vague and explains little about the role of operant conditioning.

    Evaluating the role of operant conditioning in the behaviour of non-human animals:

    5-6 marks You have provided a thorough analysis of the importance of operant conditioning in non-human animals. You have used research studies that provide alternative explanations of how animals acquire behaviours (for example, Tolman's latent learning and cognitive mapping). You must have explained how these studies challenge the importance of operant conditioning.
    3-4 marks You have provided a fair analysis of the importance of operant conditioning in non-human animals. You have used research studies that provide alternative explanations, although they may be limited.
    1-2 marks You have provided minimal analysis of the importance of operant conditioning in non-human animals. There is only superficial reference to other forms of learning.

    (Marks available: 12)