Decision making in animals

  • A Corrigendum to this article was published on 01 September 1978

Abstract

Animals must make decisions about when to feed, when to court, when to sleep, and so on, in such a way as to maximise as far as possible their chances of survival and reproductive success. It is possible to formulate in mathematical terms the optimal strategy for an animal to pursue. The theoretical optimum behaviour can be compared with the actual behaviour of the animal, and perhaps shed some light on the evolution of behaviour.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Logan, F. A. Nebraska Symposium on Motivation 12, 99–129 (ed. Levine, D.) (Nebraska University Press, Nebraska, 1964).

  2. 2

    Logan, F. A. J. comp. physiol. Psychol. 59, 1–12 & 246–251 (1965).

  3. 3

    Lea, S. E. G. J. exp. anal. Behav. 25, 43–54 (1976).

  4. 4

    Miller, H. L. J. exp. anal. Behav. 26, 335–347 (1976).

  5. 5

    Baerends, G. P. & Kruijt, J. P. in Constraints on Learning (eds Hinde, R. A. & Stevenson-Hinde, J.) (Academic, New York & London, 1973).

  6. 6

    Houston, A. & McFarland, D. J. Anim. Behav. 24, 459–475 (1976).

  7. 7

    McFarland, D. & Sibly, R. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Ser. B. 270, 265–293 (1975).

  8. 8

    McFarland, D. & Sibly, R. Anim. Behav. 20, 548–563 (1972).

  9. 9

    McFarland, D. in Growing Points in Ethology (eds Bateson, P. P. G. & Hinde, R. A.) (Cambridge University Press, London, 1976).

  10. 10

    Halliday, T. R. & Sweatman, H. P. A. Anim. Behav. 24, 551–561 (1976).

  11. 11

    Halliday, T. R. Anim. Behav. 25, 39–45 (1977).

  12. 12

    Halliday, T. R. Anim. Behav. 24, 398–414 (1976).

  13. 13

    Houston, A. I., Halliday, T. & McFarland, D. Med. biol. Engng 15, 49–61 (1977).

  14. 14

    Dempster, M. A. H. in Animal Economics (eds Dempster, M. A. H. & McFarland, D. J.) (Academic, London & New York, in the press).

  15. 15

    Halliday, T. R. Anim. Behav. 23, 291–322 (1975).

  16. 16

    Halliday, T. R. Zool. J. Linn. Soc. 56, 291–300 (1975).

  17. 17

    Sibly, R. & McFarland, D. Amer. Nat. 110, 601–617 (1976).

  18. 18

    Dempster, M. A. H. & McFarland, D. J. (eds) Animal Economics (Academic, London & New York, in the press).

  19. 19

    McFarland, D. J. New Scientist 72, 376–379 (1976).

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Additional information

The original article can be found online at https://doi.org/10.1038/275162a0

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

McFarland, D. Decision making in animals. Nature 269, 15–21 (1977). https://doi.org/10.1038/269015a0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.