Effects of environmental novelty on filial behavior in imprinted ducklings

Leonard A. Eiserer, Elizabethtown College


Environmental novelty was manipulated in imprinted ducklings by varying the illumination level of the experimental apparatus. Bright illumination disrupted filial behavior in subjects that had received little prior exposure to the imprinting object, with approach being suppressed more when the object was stationary than when it was moving. In subjects with prolonged prior imprinting exposure, bright illumination enhanced filial behavior. These effects can be understood if one assumes that environmental novelty has an energization effect while also eliciting responses that are incompatible with filial behavior. © 1983 Psychonomic Society, Inc.