displacement activity

displacement activity

Performance by an animal of an act inappropriate for the stimulus or stimuli that evoked it. It usually occurs when an animal is torn between two conflicting drives, such as fear and aggression. Displacement activities often consist of comfort movements (e.g., grooming, scratching).

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on displacement activity, visit Britannica.com.

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