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Topic: Ethological Theory of Instinctive Behavior
Reg. No: 1432-212048
Study Program: MBA (HRM)
Submitted by: Badar-e-Alam-Anwar
Ethological Theory of instinctive Behaviour
• Lorenz (1903-1989):
o father of modern ethology
o studied medicine and zoology
o believed that behavior patterns paralleled physical patterns in evolution
• Tinbergen (1907-1988):
o studied biology until the Second World War - imprisoned
o wrote children's books
• 1973: Tinbergen, Lorenz& Von Frisch - Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine
• belief in the need to study behaviour in a natural setting (not lab situation)
o e.g. captivity creates a different creature from the one in the wild
• start with naturalistic observations that compare it with other species with formulate
According to ethological theory, each instinct has own reaction-specific energy (RSE), which
gather in specific centres in the central nervous system.
• instinct = special case of unlearned behavior
• characteristics of instincts:
o released in response to a specific stimulus (external):
e.g. danger cry of chicks (hen does not respond to visual cue)
e.g. fighting behavior of male stickleback fish (only fights fish with red
spot on belly - i.e. other males)
e.g. danger warning call of pheasants
e.g. jackdaw follows parent when takeoff is at the right angle and
does not apply to any other organism
o fixed action pattern (usually):
e.g. free flight (searching) vs. goal-directed (prey found) flight of
o drive component:
urge-based ... needs to be released periodically
o has survival value:
e.g. herring gull practice of removing shells from nest (makes nest less
attractive to predators)
• NOTE: instincts are a special case of unlearned behavior:
o e.g. hunger drive found in many species
o e.g. eye blink reflex can be made to different stimuli
The instinctive behaviour unruffled of two components or stages: 1)appetitive
behaviour and 2) Consummatory behaviour.
Simple Model of instinctive Behaviour
The simple model of instinctive behaviour consists of three stages:
Stage A). Instinct or Drive
Stage B). Appetitive Behaviour
Stage C). Consummatory Behaviour
The Model of instinctive behaviour includes stages A, B and C in addition to a preliminary
stage and a final stage.
The Preliminary stage:
The stage show the organism should be in normal, relax, and no tension condition.
Stage A: Instinct (Drive):
Instinct is a form of guidance which is usually associated with animal behavior; it directs
animals in virtually everything that they do -- hunting, mating, building homes (such as
nests), etc. The so-called "lower animals" such as insects and reptiles seem to run entirely on
the "automatic pilot" of instinct.
Humans, too, have instincts. These instincts can be discerned in various ways:
1. Infants use instinctive behavior -- in their sucking, crying, smiling, and other
2. We have drives -- biological and psychological -- which are identical to the instincts
of animals. The most easily observable are our "survival instinct," our "sex drive,"
and our "territorial instinct."
3. Biologists are replacing the term "instinct" with the term "genetic endowment" --
suggesting that the instincts are biologically based within the genes themselves. (The
archetypes, too, might be stationed in the genes.)
4. The universality of instincts suggests that they are founded on archetypes. (Indeed,
Jung said that instincts are a "subspecies" of archetypes; I would say that instincts are
constellations within the fields of archetypes.) Humans and animals base their
behaviors upon the same archetypes; for example, there is not an animal"survival
instinct" and a separate human "survival instinct." The "behaviors"
of inanimate objects, too, are based upon archetypes (although we do not use the word
"instinct" with regard to inanimate objects, nor do we explain the objects' behavior in
terms of psychological dynamics); for example, if a piece of metal is able to bend
without breaking, it is displaying what we might call the "Survival" constellation.
5. We display the type of "automatic" behavior which is characteristic of instincts; this
automatism can be seen in our habits (particularly the ones which perform without
thinking about them).
Instinct causes, by definition, an unconscious act. Its dynamic goes directly from trigger to
action, without the intermediary of "consciousness," which would include such qualities as
individuality, freedom of choice, decision-making, volition, and sense of morality. "Instinct
thus appears to be almost the opposite of intuition, if the latter is characterized by heightened
awareness," said Jagdish Parikh in Intuition: The New Frontier of Management. However,
instinct operates from its own type of awareness, viewing the world from its own perspective;
it is not the "opposite" of intuition as much as it is a "partner" of intuition, in the overall effort
to provide direction to the creature. Perhaps there is a spectrum of awareness, with the poles
being automatism and consciousness; our labeling of "lower animals" and "higher animals"
(including the humans) seems to be based largely on the position of a species within this
particular spectrum. Despite the gap between any animal and humans, we are still part of the
spectrum -- not in a category of our own, but merely at the complementary pole from the
animals whose behavior seem to be most automatic. The movement toward our end of
spectrum introduces other factors:
1. Neurosis. What we call "consciousness" in our response to stimuli is often
characterized by neurotic intellectualizing regarding situations. Perhaps this
"neurosis" condition is a stage which we pass through as we test various means of
perception and guidance by which to understand our environment and to fashion a
response -- evolving from instinct to intellect to intuition (which honors all of our
needs -- the rudimentary needs which are managed by instinct, as well as the needs
which pertain to our human complexities and our spiritual fulfillment).
2. Responsibility. With instinct, we merely perform an act; with self-consciousness, we
consider values and moral decisions. No longer robots, we are responsible for our
actions. Responsibility is not based in conceptsregarding our obligations to religion
and society and moral rules; instead, our "responsibility" is to enhance our ability and
willingness to "respond" to the ever-fresh input from our intuition, which guides us
toward the appropriate actions -- which, only incidentally, coincide impeccably with
those concepts of responsibility.
Some people deny their instincts. Despite the threat to our unfounded pride, we might confess
that the ego and will and rationality are rarely (if ever) in full control of our lives. Although
we can repress our natural drives (both biological and psychological), those drives express
themselves eventually, leading us to do the silly, non-rational, nonlinear (but somehow
deeply fulfilling) behaviors which make us genuinely "human." The common reluctance to
admit that humans have instincts is generally based on the fallacy that humans are very
different from animals, and that we are ideally guided by rationality and (even better) by
spirit rather than by mere "animal instinct"; this belief is based less on science (and mere
observation) than it is on some people's disdain for their common animality and their fear of
"losing control" to the non-rational forces of nature within themselves. However, instinct
(like all other parts of ourselves) serves a purpose; on its fundamental level, instinct helps to
assure our biological survival (for survival itself, and to maintain our life while we explore
our world and ourselves and the intermediary of consciousness). And it is a permanent part of
the repertoire of tools which allows us to respond to the many types of stimuli and challenges
which we encounter -- all of which spur us to become even more conscious and responsive.
Stage B: Appetitive Behavior: Animal searching behavior. The variable introductory phase
of an instinctive behavior pattern or sequence, e.g., looking for food, or sequential courtship
patterns prior to mating.Appetitive behavior is directed toward an object or a situation in the
sense that it increases the probability that the goal will be found. An appetitive behavior may
or may not be goal-directed. Aversive behavior is directed away from an object or a situation.
The appetite is the desire to eat food, felt as hunger. Appetite exists in all higher lifeforms,
and serves to regulate adequate energy intake to maintain metabolic needs. It is regulated by a
close interplay between the tract, adipose and the brain. Decreased desire to eat is
termed anorexia, while polyphagia (or "hyperphagia") is increased eating. Disregulation of
appetite contributes to anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, cachexia, overeating, and binge
eating disorder. The regulation of appetite has been the subject of much research.
Breakthroughs included the discovery, in 1994, ofleptin, a hormone that appeared to provide
negative feedback. Later studies showed that appetite regulation is an immensely complex
process involving the gastrointestinal tract, many hormones, and both the central and
autonomic nervous systems.The hypothalamus, a part of the brain, is the main regulatory
organ for human appetite. The neurones that regulate appetite appear to be
mainly serotonergic, although neuropeptide Y (NPY) and Agouti-related peptide (AGRP)
also play a vital role. Hypothalamocortical and hypothalamolimbic projections contribute to
the awareness of hunger, and the somatic processes controlled by the hypothalamus
include vagal tone (the activity of the parasympathetic autonomic), stimulation of
the thyroid (thyroxine regulates the metabolic rate), the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal
axis and a large amount of other mechanisms.The hypothalamus senses external stimuli
mainly through a number of hormones and all modify the hypothalamic response. They are
produced by the digestive tract.
Part of sensory deprivation experiments. Intense stimuli, and outlined four subtypes
representing the various ways sensation-seeking is expressed behaviourally:
1. Thrill & Adventure Seeking: the pursuit of physical activities that are exciting, unusual
and potentially dangerous (e.g., sky-diving)
2. Experience Seeking: stimulation through the mind and senses; the pursuit of unfamiliar
and complex environmental stimuli, as through travel or meeting new people.
3. Disinhibition: sensation-seeking through engagement with other people; searching for
opportunities to lose inhibitions by engaging in variety e.g alcohol, drugs, etc.
4. Boredom Susceptibility: the tendency to be easily bored by familiar or repetitive
situations or people, or by routine work.
Studies of identical twins suggest that heritability accounts for about 60 percent of individual
variance in sensation-seeking behavior, Zuckerman says, and scientists have identified
genetic variations that may explain some of these differences. For example, some studies
have found that people with higher levels of a specific type of receptor (the D4 receptor) for
dopamine, the primary neurotransmitter involved in reward processing, have greater
Other types of dopamine receptors that normally regulate dopamine release appear to have an
opposite effect: the fewer there are, the greater the novelty-seeking behavior.iv
These may act
as brakes on dopamine release, so having fewer of them means that more dopamine is
released in response to novelty. This may in turn drive reward-seeking behavior.
The involvement of dopamine in novelty-seeking behavior may also explain the well-
established relationship between high sensation-seeking and drug use. High-sensation seekers
are more likely to try drugs earlier, to become addicted, and to experiment with multiple
drugs than are lows. Like drugs of abuse, exposure to novel stimuli releases a rush of
dopamine in reward areas of the brain. And, high-sensation seekers often develop a sort of
tolerance to high-risk activities—boredom sets in, and they are compelled to add new twists
that recreate the initial charge.
Stage C: Consummatory Behavior: The Consummatory behaviour is the terminal or fatal
phase that leads directly to the satisfaction of an innate drive, e.g. eating or drinking. Mainly
animal; conclusion of a series of responses: nothing to do with "consumption" of food or
other substances. Behaviour patterns that occurs in response to a stimulus and that
achieves the satisfaction of a specific drive, as the eating ofcaptured prey by a hungry predato
1. The integrated wholeness of the organism must be one of the foundation stones of
2. The hunger drive (or any other physiological drive) was rejected as a centering point or
model for a definitive theory of motivation. Any drive that is somatically based and
localizable was shown to be atypical rather than typical in human motivation.
3. Such a theory should stress and center itself upon ultimate or basic goals rather than partial
or superficial ones, upon ends rather than means to these ends. Such a stress would imply a
more central place for unconscious than for conscious motivations.
4. There are usually available various cultural paths to the same goal. Therefore conscious,
specific, local-cultural desires are not as fundamental in motivation theory as the more basic,
5. Any motivated behavior, either preparatory or consummatory, must be understood to be a
channel through which many basic needs may be simultaneously expressed or satisfied.
Typically an act has more than one motivation.
6. Practically all organismic states are to be understood as motivated and as motivating.
7. Human needs arrange themselves in hierarchies of pre-potency. That is to say, the
appearance of one need usually rests on the prior satisfaction of another, more pre-potent
need. Man is a perpetually wanting animal. Also no need or drive can be treated as if it were
isolated or discrete; every drive is related to the state of satisfaction or dissatisfaction of other
8. Lists of drives will get us nowhere for various theoretical and practical reasons.
Furthermore any classification of motivations [p. 371] must deal with the problem of levels
of specificity or generalization the motives to be classified.
9. Classifications of motivations must be based upon goals rather than upon instigating drives
or motivated behavior.
10. Motivation theory should be human-centered rather than animal-centered.
11. The situation or the field in which the organism reacts must be taken into account but the
field alone can rarely serve as an exclusive explanation for behavior. Furthermore the field
itself must be interpreted in terms of the organism. Field theory cannot be a substitute for
12. Not only the integration of the organism must be taken into account, but also the
possibility of isolated, specific, partial or segmental reactions. It has since become necessary
to add to these another affirmation.
13. Motivation theory is not synonymous with behavior theory. The motivations are only one
class of determinants of behavior. While behavior is almost always motivated, it is also
almost always biologically, culturally and situationally determined as well.
After the terminal stage, the dissipation of energy, that organism returns to the normal and