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On the Survival of Mallard Ducks After "Habituation" To the Hawk-Shaped Figure 1)

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image of Behaviour

1. Mallard ducks were reared in a highly restricted environment from hatching until testing began at 25 days of age; the stimuli presented were moving cardboard models resembling a "hawk" or a "goose" in flight. 2. Non-emotional or enting responses toward the hawk and goose models are made by mallard ducks after more than two thousand presentations of the models and after there has been virtually a complete disappearance of overt fear response to them. 3. The orienting responses may be selective toward a particular model shape depending on the conditions of presentation. 4. The results suggest that the "habituation" of fear responses to the hawk shape is the result of a change in the organization of behavior, in which emotional disruption is replaced by non-emotional orienting responses.

Affiliations: 1: Massachusetts Institute of Technology


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