Comparative aspects of adjunctive behaviour : the performance of rats and ferrets under response non-contingent schedules of food delivery
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
In the contemporary study of animal behaviour there is an increasing awareness that laboratory-based and field-oriented approaches are compatible in both theory and method. The phenomenon of schedule-induced polydipsia belongs to a class of events termed “adjunctive behaviours”. These behaviours have been considered causally, functionally and adaptively similar to the displacement activities that are familiar to Ethologists. In this thesis two aspects of schedule-induced polydipsia are examined from both a laboratory and a biological perspective. Firstly, the temporal locus of schedule-induced polydipsia was investigated in rats and it was found to be concentrated predominently in the interval immediately following food ingestion. Methodological and theoretical aspects,of this finding are discussed. Secondly, the species-generality of schedule-induced polydipsia was tested using ferrets, but no evidence of the phenomenon was found in this species. Rats and ferrets were then studied by the comparative method using observational techniques in a situation that produced polydipsia in the former, and the differences observed were discussed in relation to methodological and ecological factors. Selective aspects of the various approaches to the study of animal behaviour are discussed in an appendix, as are some biological considerations of the two species used. It is concluded that laboratory and naturalistic approaches, when viewed in the evolutionary framework, provide a fruitful and balanced foundation for the study of animal behaviour.