The study of animal behavior requires careful attention to subtle assumptions and sources of bias. One particularly interesting example of this is how biases are built into our language. Let’s take male and female birds sitting close together.
Back when the term “pair bond” was applied to this behavior, scientists though that most birds were monogamous partners that stayed together for multiple years. So, this term conjures up a nice notion of ‘devoted couples spending time together being intimate’. The problem is that this leads us to think we know the function of a behavior, when often we really don’t. It leads to a bias in how we view a behavior. Read more