Definition of ethology in English:



mass noun
  • 1The science of animal behaviour.

    • ‘In the mid-twentieth century, better methods and better models of natural selection drove the field of animal behavior back to ethology.’
    • ‘Our hypothesis accords with classical ethology insofar as the emphasis is on stimulation, but it rests on reproductive conflict and manipulation rather than on cooperation.’
    • ‘Patrick Bateson is professor of ethology at the University of Cambridge's zoology department, of which he has also been head.’
    • ‘A Dutch primatologist and professor at Emory University, Frans de Waal was trained in classical ethology and has decades of experience with the behavior of our nearest relations in captivity.’
    • ‘Many people use examples from ethology (the study of animal behaviour) and in particular primatology (the study of primates) ‘not just to support the idea of animal rights but to denigrate human claims of uniqueness and special status’.’
    • ‘The whole point of Darwinian ethology is to show that behaviours which would show foresight if we did them and could give reasons for them may evolve before reason and thus show no foresight at all.’
    • ‘She had her papers published in top scientific journals and Leakey got her a place at Cambridge to write a PhD thesis in ethology - the study of animal behaviour.’
    • ‘First, the growing field of cognitive ethology - which examines animal behaviour in the context of evolutionary biology - tends to support the attribution of beliefs, desires, and intentional actions to many animals.’
    • ‘In 1965 Goodall earned her Ph.D. in ethology (the study of animal behavior) from England's Cambridge University.’
    • ‘Other lemurs in the forest respond in similar ways to the fat-tail, according to Peter Kappeler, head of ethology and ecology at the center.’
    • ‘Her unofficial study of equine ethology brought her into a deep resonance with horses, and she began to sense that she could be treated like a horse by other horses, exchanging sensory information as though she were a horse herself.’
    • ‘That passion propelled Luis Baptista through life and into an amazing career that would illuminate many aspects of bird song, spanning the disciplines of ethology, systematics, and conservation.’
    • ‘In summary, we can look forward to deeper understanding of the activation and coordination of the stress response as research into the physiological ethology of this model species progresses.’
    • ‘This intellectual travelogue takes readers on a tour through ethology, the scientific discipline focusing on animal behavior.’
    • ‘The physiological ethology of stress in reptiles can inform views about the possible evolutionary antecedents of coping responses in other taxa, not least humans.’
    • ‘Research by Bekoff and others - in fields ranging from ethology to neurobiology - is beginning to provide scientific support for the notion that animals feel a wide range of emotions.’
    • ‘There are many stories about the ethology, natural history, and social importance of rats, and, overall, plenty of evidence that people and rats have a lot more in common than most people would like to admit.’
    1. 1.1 The study of human behaviour and social organization from a biological perspective.
      • ‘Qualitative ethology is particularly useful when participants cannot be interviewed or when detailed reporting is desired.’
      • ‘He has studied laughter and human ethology.’
      • ‘The merger of all three traditions influences evolutionary psychology - evolutionary ethology, contextual learning psychology and modular cognitive psychology.’
      • ‘This is more than a biography: it is a presentation and evaluation of the main lines of European ethology and behavior research in the 20th century up to the 1980s.’
      • ‘Many other fields in contemporary human biology are totally ignored (e.g., behavior genetics, ethology, or sociobiology).’
      • ‘I've had the good fortune to be involved as a researcher in opening three different doors onto the problem of consciousness: through neuropsychology, ethology and aesthetics.’
      • ‘Konner knows enough ethology to have helpful ways of discussing old questions such as the relationship between nature and nurture.’
      • ‘This is, for instance, the accepted research method in ethology, and behaviorism.’
      • ‘In a sense, ethology and Jungian psychology can be viewed as two sides of the same coin.’
      • ‘This is an interesting finding and it will be a while till we see how it translates from ethology to human sexual psychology.’


Late 19th century: via Latin from Greek ēthologia, from ēthos (see ethos).