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Konrad Lorenz and Imprinting

How has his work been influential to Bowlby?

Claire Stuart

on 4 December 2012

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Transcript of Konrad Lorenz and Imprinting

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli How was it influential to Bowlby? Konrad Lorenz and Imprinting What is imprinting? Imprinting is the primary formation of social bonds in infant animals.
It is also considered to be a special type of learning. How was the theory developed? Lorenz was observing newly-hatched ducklings and goslings.
he discovered that they behaved in strange ways when they were exposed to unfamiliar environments during a few hours after hatching.
he played with the hatchlings and recorded his observations. What did he find? Lorenz found out that the newly hatched ducklings and goslings became socially bonded to the first moving object that they encountered.
he noted that this bond seemed to form immediately to a moving object and that it appeared to be irreversible. What else did he find? Lorenz also found imprinting to moving objects to a form of species specific behaviour and only a few species of birds display this kind of behaviour.
This is different from typical attachment behaviour.
Typical imprinting is irreversible and it is essential in learning that what has been learned can either be modified or changed.
secondly, imprinting is restricted to very specific and brief stages in development, often only lasting for a few hours. how did this influence later research? From his initial analysis of imprinting, Lorenz went on to identify the essential components of innate behavior and developed the central constructs of releasers and fixed action patterns which serve as the foundation of the study of animal behavior. How was this influential to Bowlby? Bowlby's idea of a sensetivew period was based on the paper on imprinting which Lorenz compiled.
Lorenz's work intrigued Bowlby as it emerged from Lorenz's work that attachments are not formed primarily on food.
Bowlby also favoured the idea that Lorenz's work was ethically moral as it was conducted in their natural setting. Can reserach on animals tell us anything about human behaviour? Human actions are a result of carefully thought out processes and this makes them different from animals.
Research on animals cannot tell us much about human behaviour because humans are able to perform actions with an eye on what we plan for ourselves for the future.
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