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Konrad Lorenz- Imprinting in geese

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Christopher Hinks

on 14 October 2013

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Transcript of Konrad Lorenz- Imprinting in geese

Konrad Lorenz- Imprinting in geese
Link to Bowlby's theory
Lorenz's study is linked to Bowlby's theory of attachment as it shows that the geese attach with either its mother or Lorenz.
After the attachment is created the geese then follow its attached 'mother' where ever they go, showing they do not want to leave their caregivers side.
Also when both groups are put together they separate to their 'mother' which shows that their mother is their 'Safe Haven' and want to return to a safe environment (around their mother).
Lorenz's study is reliable as experiments were carried out after that replicated his study. One study used a yellow rubber glove as the first moving object that the ducklings saw, and they too imprinted onto the glove. Therefore, this shows that Lorenz's study is reliable as other experiments have shown the same findings.
Lorenz found that the geese can be imprinted and would follow whoever they have imprinted on, even a different species, i.e Lorenz himself.
Investigators would determine that imprinting in ducks, geese and other species of birds occurs between 12 and 17 hours after hatching. This led to the notion that there are 'critical periods' in the development of the brain and behaviour.
Overall, Konrad Lorenz's experiments pointed the way toward helping us understand that early experience helps to 'shape' social behaviour in adulthood.
What is it?
In his experiment, Lorenz divided eggs laid by a graylag goose into two groups.
One of the groups was hatched by their mother and immediately began following her around.
The second group was hatched in an incubator which were born with Lorenz as their "mother".
Even if Lorenz placed the goslings in a box, so that both groups were separated from their mother or himself, they would reliably separate towards their mother or toward Lorenz, depending to what they were first exposed to.
As a group we thought that Lorenz's study was an important study for future understanding of infant's development. It also helped the world understand how some animals can imprint and how people could affect the animals life. Lorenz's study also supported Bowlby's theory of attachment which is still helping us understand infants- both of humans and animals
Another strength
Another strength of Lorenz's study is that the study has ecological validity, as Lorenz used ethology and studied animals in their natural surroundings. Therefore, his experiment was not in an unnatural situation like in a laboratory.
A weakness of Lorenz's study is that it cannot be generalizable to humans, are there are differences between animals and humans, such as the use of language and problem-solving abilities.
Another weakness
Another weakness of Lorenz's study is that the study may not be applicable to all animals as only certain animals show imprinting (animals that can move as soon as they are born). Therefore, the findings might be specific to those sorts of animals, and not humans or other animals.
Ethical- Strength or Weakness?
As a class do you think this study is ethical? Take things into consideration such as: where he got the eggs from? Did the geese feel any stress? Did they just follow him as they thought he was leading them to their real mother?
Our answer as a group
As a group we thought the study was ethical as we thought he treated the geese as they needed to be. He let them in their natural environment and he fed them and water them. We also thought that he did not cause stress to the geese and the findings showed that they 'imprinted' onto Lorenz. Therefore, they did not realise he was not their real mother.
Konrad Lorenz
Konrad Lorenz who was an Austrian zoologist was among the first to describe attachment behaviours of geese soon after they hatched. He found what 'imprinting' was.
Konrad Zacharias Lorenz (7 November 1903 – 27 February 1989) was an Austrian zoologist, ethologist, and ornithologist. He shared the 1973 Nobel Prize in 'Physiology or Medicine' with Nikolaas Tinbergen and Karl von Frisch. He is often regarded as one of the founders of modern ethology, developing an approach that began with an earlier generation.
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