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Dummy police vehicle on the E 30 in Poland
Dummy tree as an Australian scouting post in the Battle of Messines

A dummy or phantom is an object that mimics the properties of an original . However, the dummy never imitates all of the properties of the model (otherwise it would be called a replica or a copy). So it serves to deceive the viewer by tricking him into being an original, or for illustration as a demonstration model.

Origin of the word

The term dummy was adopted as a loan word from French into German at the end of the 18th century ; l'attrape had been used in French for joke articles since the 18th century to mean "object aimed at misleading" . Originally the French noun " trap " meant, derived from the verb attraper = to catch, to catch (also: to trick jmd.), Which in turn is related to the noun la trappe = the pit of the pit, which is still in use today .

Dummies in behavioral research

A fake bird of prey
A dog lies down next to a stuffed bear that he accepts as a dummy puppy.

In biology , the word dummy called a stimulus pattern , which in experiments of behavioral research is used. If an animal reacts to a dummy with a certain instinctive behavior , this observation is interpreted as evidence that those, for example, visual or acoustic features that are inherent in the dummy are the essential "building blocks" for the innate recognition of a relevant environmental situation. Dummies can therefore be interpreted as key stimuli that are more or less similar to natural stimuli that trigger a certain behavior.

For example, a mock bird of prey can trigger flight behavior in other birds . If the behavior is no longer triggered after a while, it is a consequence of habituation .

Dummy or phantom in animal breeding

In boars , stallions and bulls , a dummy of a female animal, usually called a phantom, which is intended to encourage the male animal to jump up, is used to obtain semen for artificial insemination .

Further examples

Dummy of a surveillance camera DMC-380 from Conrad Electronic at the underpass at Langenlebarn train station in Lower Austria (2018)
Mock-up of a field cannon that was intended to deceive attacking Wehrmacht troops in France in 1940.
  • Backdrops and props in the theater or film studio are mostly just dummies, as are the jewelry or the hairstyles of the actors.
  • In furniture stores, the furniture is often covered with mock-ups of books , consumer electronics and the like. Equipped to give the customer a 'lively' impression.
  • Scarecrows and bird of prey silhouettes ("warning birds") can be thought of as dummies because they are designed to deceive birds and keep them out of a certain place by mimicking the basic visual characteristics of a human or a bird of prey.
  • Crash test dummies can replace the driver and front passenger in a test-induced car accident.
  • In the military are dummies ( ticket machine ) of vehicles, aircraft or infrastructure such. B. airfields , used to avoid the loss of valuable technology and human life or to fool the enemy into a greater clout. Wooden models or inflatable variants are used. In order to maintain the deception even when cleared up by thermal imaging cameras , heated dummies are also used.
    During the Second World War, bunkers in the shape of churches were constructed.
  • In architecture it is not uncommon for dummies to give the impression that it is a historical building; Turrets, facade decorations and painted ornaments convey the romanticism of tourism in many old towns, while behind the facades are newly built houses with modern comfort . The Disneyland in this sense represents the culmination of this illusion industry; What supposedly once began with the " Potemkin villages " is imitated there for entertainment purposes for paying visitors.
The passenger steamer Olympic with a dummy chimney.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: dummy  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Dummies  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Pfeifer (Ed.): Etymological Dictionary of German. 2nd edition, dtv, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-05-000626-9 , p. 71 f.