Tinbergen's four questions  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Tinbergen's four questions, named after Nikolaas Tinbergen, are categories of explanations of animal behavior.

Elementary school children can answer that animals have vision to help them find food and avoid danger (adaptation). Biologists have three additional explanations: sight is caused by a particular series of evolutionary steps (phylogeny), the mechanics of the eye (causation), and even the process of an individual’s development (ontogeny). Although these answers may be very different, they are consistent with each other. This idea was hashed out in the 1960s when Tinbergen delineated the four questions based on Aristotle's four types of causes. This schema constitutes a basic framework of the overlapping behavioral fields of ethology, behavioral ecology, sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, and comparative psychology.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Tinbergen's four questions" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools