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Neural and Behavioural PlasticityThe Use of the Domestic Chick as a Model$
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R. J. Andrew

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198521846

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198521846.001.0001

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Making sense of behavioural development in the chick

Making sense of behavioural development in the chick

(p.113) 4 Making sense of behavioural development in the chick
Neural and Behavioural Plasticity

P. P. G. Bateson

Oxford University Press

At an early stage in their lives, domestic chicks are capable of highly organized patterns of behaviour. These activities serve requirements that must be met if the animal is to stay alive. This chapter takes examples from the development of pecking in chicks, deals more extensively with the development of social preferences and finally considers whether the examples of plasticity early in development are different from what happens later in life. It explains the procedure of controlling the birds' behaviour. Developmental changes are thought to be involved in the neural mechanisms concerned with filial imprinting in the domestic chick. A bird's preference in a test is affected both by how strongly it is attached to the familiar object and by the stimulus value of the novel object relative to that of the familiar. An important step towards understanding development is uncovering the regularities by studying the process, and reflecting on what happens.

Keywords:   bird's behaviour, social preferences, neural mechanisms, filial imprinting, pecking, plasticity

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