Innate Animal Behavior
Animal Instincts Vs. Human Instincts
General Infomation about Instincts
Instincts are an innate, typically fixed pattern of behavior in animals in response to certain stimuli. Over time, the thousands of genes determining the structure of the brain become, indirectly, the keepers of the behavioral patterns we call instincts.
For example: birds have an instinct to build nests, birds are never taught how to build a nest by other birds, they are just hard-wired to be able to build nest once they sense they are going to lays eggs.
A good way to think about instincts is that of animals. Animals are born with more hardwiring and will already have more of a model of the world built in and therefore it does not require a long period of time for animals to learn the appropriate behaviors of the specefic species. Innate behaviors are triggered by a stimulus which must occur somewhere in the animals environment.
Examples: an external stimulus (e.g., sight of a predator) and internal stimulus (e.g., hunger)
Fixed action patterns are sequences that are essentially unchangeable and usually conducted to completion once started. They are triggered by a sensory environmental stimulus called sign stimulus.
How Genes Play a Role
All behaviors that Animals and Humans express are influenced by both our environment and the genes that have been handed down through generations.
For example: "Alcoholism" can be broken into two behaviors, teen-onset alcoholism and adult-onset alcoholism. Fostering studies using children placed in foster homes indicate that teen-onset alcoholism has a very strong genetic basis. Proving that the genes you have can directly have predetermined outcomes depending on your families past history.
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