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Instinctive Behaviour

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posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 05:58 AM
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I know what it does but have never found anywhere a description of what it is or how it works.

Definition: Organisms expressing behavioural patterns that are genetically controlled as opposed to behaviour that has been previously learned in the organisms lifetime.

Links: en.wikipedia.org...
faculty.ed.uiuc.edu...

I have had this question since I kept finches. The newly hatched chicks would hunker down in their nest when I approached but beg for food if their parents approached. Bear in mind they are blind when newly hatched.

Ok I think I have rationalised that maybe even in the egg they learn to recognise what is and is not the approach of the parents, one noise brings warmth the other denies it. What I cannot explain in any way is the chicks once fed put their rears in the air and the parent takes away the excreta they produce. This is not learned behaviour.

Yes this is to keep the nest clean and not give away the nest by smell. The only way this and other similar actions are explained is ‘that is instinct’. Sorry but we have mapped the gnome. Discovered other earth like planets. Split the atom but cannot explain what natural instinct is and how it works or at least I can find no explanation of.

There are many instinctive behaviours that have been observed, recorded and yet never explained any further than. Natural instinct. In today’s scientific world this surely cannot be adequate in any way shape or form. So instinct is inherited. That is no explanation. Where is the information stored?

The only explanation I have had to date is that we are all linked to another dimension where this information is broadcast like a radio wave and each species is tuned to its own channel. Seems a bit flimsy and esoteric to me but it is the only process I have ever seen offered as an explanation.

If instinct is written into our DNA like the bios on a computer then where is it stored? How is it stored? How is it written? How is it altered?

The reason why I have put this in Origins is because any instinct must date back to the origin of each animal. Species that share instinctive traits. This is a topic I have not seen discussed and one I can find little information on.

I invite explanations but will take a lot of persuading to accept we are borne with them or it’s in their genes. Genes do a lot of wonderful things but they do not tell a chick to have a dump with its rear in the air or a newly hatched turtle to make a dash for the sea rather than hide under something. If they do then how?

Knowing this forum I must make this clear. I am not religious in any way. You can offer an answer from that perspective if you wish but I want a nuts and bolts explanation if possible
edit on 13-1-2012 by colin42 because: spelling




posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 07:23 AM
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reply to post by colin42
 

Good thread topic and a refreshing change from the usual, but is this the right forum? Never mind, I'll let someone else alert the mods for a change.

Now:


I... will take a lot of persuading to accept we are born with them or it’s in their genes. Genes do a lot of wonderful things but they do not tell a chick to have a dump with its rear in the air or a newly hatched turtle to make a dash for the sea rather than hide under something. If they do then how?

Why ever not? There is a lot of information in the genome. The traits you describe, like all behaviour, conscious and unconscious, are triggered by changes in somatic electrical and chemical potentials. How living tissue responds to these is under the control of the genes. Plant and animal bodies are built as the result of various genes switching on and off in sequence. I don't really see the problem. Where exactly do you believe it lies?



posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 12:24 PM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 
No Idea, that is why I posed the question.



posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 12:30 PM
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Why? Because it comes from your consicousness. See we think that all our memories come from our brain, all of our intentions and motives come from our brain....WRONG! Comes from our consciousness, our inner soul, This soul is much like energy in that it wasn't created, and cannot be destroyed just transformed. All life has this inner soul, and it contains the directions if you will for that organism. It contains the data for all past lives it has transformed into and all the lessons along the way. When we die, we access this data to determine for ourselves where we go next. When I realized this I found, that all religions have one thing in common, they all have a god, in which we are supposed to reach out to him for help. But in reality the god, the thing we think is god, is really our consciousness, and we should be looking within for answers not out. When we finally learn to do this I think we will turn into an amazing human race



posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 01:14 PM
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Instinct is just the scientific way of saying intuition.
Intuition and instinct arises from the natural flow. All things have their own inner nature.



posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 01:30 PM
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reply to post by colin42
 


Nice to see an actual interesting question in this section for a change. The obvious answer is that instinct has to be in the genes somewhere right? Typically the genes that are passed on to the next generation are those that help an organism survive, so if certain behaviors are pre-determined by genetics and those behaviors aid in survival it makes sense they might be passed on. I'm no scientist but I'd say that the answer has to be a combination of genes and how genes determine the wiring and function of the brain.



posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 01:36 PM
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Originally posted by Titen-Sxull
reply to post by colin42
 


Nice to see an actual interesting question in this section for a change. The obvious answer is that instinct has to be in the genes somewhere right? Typically the genes that are passed on to the next generation are those that help an organism survive, so if certain behaviors are pre-determined by genetics and those behaviors aid in survival it makes sense they might be passed on. I'm no scientist but I'd say that the answer has to be a combination of genes and how genes determine the wiring and function of the brain.
j

Nope sorry, don't buy it. I think we're too stuck with the "Physical" world, and we don't give enought credit, if any, to the spiritual one. We are not all physical, that is obvious, it is within our non physical selves that this information is brought down.



posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 01:40 PM
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reply to post by andersensrm
 


The reason I don't give any credit to the "spiritual" world is because there is no good evidence such a thing exists. Also, instinct coming from the "spirit world" doesn't make any sense. An instinct to defend one's young makes perfect sense in the ordinary physical world and in fact many instincts have to do with increasing the chance of physical survival. Invoking the spirit world to explain instinct is just an empty fallacy to fill in a gap.



posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 01:52 PM
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Originally posted by Titen-Sxull
reply to post by andersensrm
 


The reason I don't give any credit to the "spiritual" world is because there is no good evidence such a thing exists. Also, instinct coming from the "spirit world" doesn't make any sense. An instinct to defend one's young makes perfect sense in the ordinary physical world and in fact many instincts have to do with increasing the chance of physical survival. Invoking the spirit world to explain instinct is just an empty fallacy to fill in a gap.


Or something you just don't understand yet. I think it makes more sense then anything else, but trying to articulate just what I am thinking about is hard. We are probably not on the same page but hey thats okay. There have been plenty of times when I thought of how something worked, and then it learned that it worked completely differently in a way I did not think is possible. You gotta have an open mind, and althought we think we are very smart, I don't think we've even tapped into how life works. Yea maybe its physical, but how do DNA sequences in genetic code tell you what to do??



posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 02:26 PM
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I think you must first define what 'natural instinct' is.

I mean a bear hibernating is a natural instinct but can be explained by a chemical release (a guess) being released triggered by daylight length as with trees shedding leaves in the fall.

Then there are actions as in the examples I gave in the OP. They may well be due to a chemical release but that would be easy to verify by administering the chemical to get the reaction. Has that ever been done?
It could be a learnt trait but to be honest the action of the finch chicks was always from day one the same with no signs or time to teach.

More interesting to me is if these really are passed from generation to generation then how? Where is the information stored? can we read it?

Anyhow thanks for the replies so far. As I said I have no clue what the answer is so will read with interest at the posts.



posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 09:46 PM
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reply to post by andersensrm
 


Because it comes from your consicousness. See we think that all our memories come from our brain, all of our intentions and motives come from our brain....WRONG! Comes from our consciousness, our inner soul.

In my garden grows a tropical weed with a thorny stem and frondlike leaves that close up as soon as the plant is touched. The plant is not conscious. The reaction occurs because touching the plant triggers a sequence of electrochemical events that causes certain fibres in the plant stems to bend and change shape. The fibres are 'designed' to do this; the capability was built into the plant during its development and growth. That development and growth was guided by the genes of the plant. This plant 'behaviour' therefore has clear genetic origins – it is encoded into the genes of the plant.

Similarly, muscle contractions in a dead frog's leg can be triggered by passing an electric current through it. The resulting twitch is one of the properties of muscle tissue – it contracts when a certain voltage and current is passed through it. This property is encoded into the genes of the frog. Consciousness is not involved: the frog is dead.

What you see when you see the world around you, is an image created from hundreds of thousands of electrical impulses sent to your brain from light-sensitive cells in the retinas of your eyes. These signals are generated when a certain molecule in a retinal cell, a chemical called rhodopsin, reacts to light. Again, consciousness is not involved – the behaviour of your retinal cells is determined by the electrochemical interaction of their components, not by conscious thought. It depends on the form or 'design' of the eye, which is, again, genetically determined.

More complex instinctive behaviour is simply the result of a more complex, sequential series of electrochemical reactions taking place in a 'cascade'. The reactions and their sequence are, yet again... genetically determined.

I really don't see this complexity as an issue. Building a fully formed baby (or frog, or tropical weed) from an embryo or seed is a far more complex operation, yet no-one can deny that genes manage the trick reliably and repeatedly. Compared with that, determining the toilet behaviour of nestling birds is no great feat.



posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 02:55 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 
What you describe are motor responses. Why we breath in and out or blink or eyes which is why I wrote you need to identify the 'natural instincts' first.

What you wrote looks to me to be pretty correct for motor responses. I find it very hard to apply that same logic to the type of actions which include the examples given in the OP.

The second of the two links asked the same questions.Give it a read there are some interesting cooments, many from Darwin. About how a cabbage white butterfly knows to lay its eggs on cabbage even though it cannot taste the cabbage, does not eat the cabbage infact does not even know it is laying eggs.

Your post illustrates my point really and I do not mean this negatively. We all have natural instincts and yet most of us and maybe even all do not understand them or how they work. If we cannot understand them then how do we know their effect on us or how to control the more base ones.

To me we should be as informed about these as we are about any other function of the body and we plainly are not.



posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 03:17 AM
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I believe that all species of animal have an inherently shared collective subconcious that evolves over time forming what we know as intuition or instinct.

Once a determined % of that species adopts a certain behavior or train of thought that energy pattern which has yet to be identified by modern science melds with DNA strands to evolve the species and it becomes second nature in what we deem instinct.

This is a key component to any evolution and the reason we have yet to determine 'why' species have instincts (other than survival) is because physicists, biologists, and chemists need a unification of theories to determine what frequencies/particles/chemicals? constitute what is consciousness.

Broadening our views like this has the potential to activate exponential growth in our evolution as a species.

Star and Flag for the post!

Edit to add: Plants of course have a form of conscious. I have worked extensively with all types of plants and know that they respond positively to care and attention. Why does classical music and talking to plants expediate growth and nurture health to these organisms?


edit on 14-1-2012 by Goldcurrent because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 04:08 AM
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reply to post by Goldcurrent
 
You are refering to the 100th monkey effect

en.wikipedia.org...

I have experienced this first hand. When my brother had his first child he named her Emma because it was an unusual name and he wanted her to stand out. That year Emma was the most popular girls name. This has happened so many times that I cannot put it down to pure chance or at least would take some persuadeing



posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 04:56 AM
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Research under Evolutionary Psychology. It is the study of psychological traits and behaviors that are passed on biologically. There are different hypotheses on how that happens, but the evidence is clear that it does.

If you look at the difference in wild animals versus their domesticated forms, you can see inherent difference in their automatic reactions and behavior, regardless of individual experience.
Take a pregnant wild mustang, and keep her in human possession during her pregnancy, and take the baby away from her immediately upon birth and have it nursed and raised by a domesticated mare.
You still end up with a horse that will be and act different in specific ways than other domesticated horses.
Same with wolves, wild pigs/boars.
An experiment was done with foxes, in which a reasearcher kept them for generations, breeding them, and keeping them as domesticated animals. It took many generations for the wild instincts and behaviors to be eliminated. (the interesting part of that study was the physicla changes that took place in them actually..... they also began to change physically).

A study with rats, in which some rats were taught a very complex maze until they knew it well. Then they were bred and gave birth to babies.
Those babies, once grown, were introduced into the same maze for the first time, along with a group of rats whose parents did not ever learn that maze. Repeatedly, the rats whose parents had known it learned it quicker and easier than those whose parents didn't.

From my experience and observation, my conclusion is that humans also have many instinctive behaviors they continue to use and pass on... except they also have the ability to rationalize or conjecture false reasons for doing them which give them the belief they "did it on purpose and willingly" (or else stay ignorant that they did it at all).

We like to feel we are totally in charge of every movement we make and are not at all subject to deeper influences, so we fight recognition of it happening.



posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 09:10 AM
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reply to post by colin42
 


What you wrote looks to me to be pretty correct for motor responses. I find it very hard to apply that same logic to the type of actions which include the examples given in the OP.

Is it because they are more complex in nature? They are still responses to stimuli. And as I said before, any complex behaviour looks pretty simple besides the complexity of growing a functioning animal body from an embryo.


How (does) a cabbage white butterfly know to lay its eggs on cabbage even though it cannot taste the cabbage, does not eat the cabbage infact does not even know it is laying eggs?

Perhaps it can smell the cabbage – a lot of insect behaviour is triggered by pheromones and other scent molecules. Perhaps cabbages are automatically highlighted in the visual field of pregnant cabbage whites. Anything that looks like a cabbage suddenly looms large and enticing.

In a similar way, the gaping red beaks of baby birds are known to trigger a feeding response in their parents. The trait is exploited by cuckoo chicks, which have very exaggerated gapes. And of course such things are genetically determined.


We all have natural instincts and yet most of us and maybe even all do not understand them or how they work.

We cannot connect particular genes with particular patterns of behaviour – yet. That is not surprising: this kind of science is in its infancy and we are only just learning what genes determine specific physical characteristics. Ask the question again in ten or fifteen years and you may receive a more detailed answer than is possible now.


If we cannot understand them then how do we know their effect on us or how to control the more base ones.

I suppose the old-fashioned ways still work – observation and experiment for the first, training, education, laws and customs for the second.



To me we should be as informed about these as we are about any other function of the body and we plainly are not.

It's a difficult subject, but science is making progress. Be patient; Rome was not built in a day.


edit on 14/1/12 by Astyanax because: Rome was not built in a day.



posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 09:22 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 
Thanks. Again all good points and I have been supplied with a better search phrase from another post to google which is a start on my education.

I think you got the wrong end of the stick when I wrote


If we cannot understand them then how do we know their effect on us or how to control the more base ones.
It was a general comment on how something so important to our lives is so little understood. Observation is my tool of choice.




posted on Jan, 15 2012 @ 03:06 PM
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Instinct has to be evolved behaviour. To my mind asking why the chick raises its rear is the same as asking why the stick insect chooses to look like a stick!

At some point in the ancestoral past a chick managed not to # in its nest, because the nest was clean predators didnt find it and it survived to pass on the gene for cleanliness to its offspring.

Its weird how those of us who adhere to evolution are happy to accept the evolving of physical appearance for evolutionary gain, but find it harder to comprehend the evolution of behaviour.

I suppose from a psycho-neurological perspective, if you accept that every behaviour is the resulty of the physical properties of your brain, it follows that when the brain grows as a fetus it could have, in fact must have some preformed structures for behaviour.

Or....when we were marroned on this planet about 10,000 years ago, we had to adapt certain infant beahaviours in order to survive on what is clearly not our original home...



posted on Jan, 15 2012 @ 06:09 PM
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reply to post by idmonster
 



Or....when we were marroned on this planet about 10,000 years ago, we had to adapt certain infant beahaviours in order to survive on what is clearly not our original home...
Just stop there. Do not bring that into this thread. Pleeeease. In fact pretty please. If that is not enough I'll set my ape brother onto you.

I understand what you are saying and have admitted ignorance on this subject that others have suggested learning material and search phrases.

At the moment I still cannot get a picture of how to explain how the behaviour of the chicks is passed on through the generations but fear not, I am not going to evoke magic or aliens to explain it.

The stick insect I can. What does not get eaten passes on its genes and to me is not instinct just pure evolution.



posted on Jan, 16 2012 @ 04:59 PM
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reply to post by colin42
 



Oh man, just typed the most awe inspiring post, full of wonderful descriptive and clear insight, and then I clicked the back button on my browser and off it went...

Never mind, you'll just have to put up with this tosh instead.

I think the question is "where does behaviour originate when it cannot be learned, for want of a better description of instinct, nonlearned behaviour will suffice.

The ideas I offer refer only to this type of behaviour.

So, first my Hypothesis, followed by corroborating evidence (hopefully).

My hypothesis in relation to this question comes primarily from a realization that all is physical. Drop the notions of “biological”, or “chemical” because no matter what action or reaction is attributed to these properties, the truth is that when you reduce the action down to it smallest level, you end up with a physical reaction. Chemicals combine because the component parts have physical attribute (shapes) that allow them to combine.

How does this realization (if you choose to accept it) explain behaviour?

Going back to our stick insect (and I will probably, quite poorly paraphrase Dawkins at this point, apologies in advance).

At some point the stick insects resemblance to a stick, no matter how slight, gave it a survival advantage over other insects that looked less like a stick. That advantage may have only been in poor lighting conditions, or when the predator was a certain distance away, or perhaps when the insect was in the periphery of the predator’s vision. It is unimportant what the advantageous conditions were, it is only important that they were. So, our “abitlikeastick insect” sat quietly on a branch while the “notatalllikeastick insect” was predated, and eaten, (at which point the “abitlikeastick” insect went and had celebratory sex with its “abitlikeastick” insect girlfriend producing about 60 offspring.)

From the predators POV the same “arms race” was occurring. When all of the “notatalllikeastic” insects had been eaten those that could not differenciate between a stick, and an insect starved, but some predators, with a keener eye perhaps managed to spot the “abitlikeastick” insect and thrived. What they missed, just next to the “abitlikeastick” insect, quietly minding its own business was the “abitmorelikeastick” insect...And so on. This is evolution, (not speciation, that’s a whole other topic) and I’m sure you are already quite familiar with it.

NOTE TO CREATIONISTS. Please do not bother to comment on the above, while this explanation is necessary for the point I am making, arguing against it would be so off topic that God herself will strike you down 

Why bring up the evolution of the stick insect? I’m glad you asked.

If behaviour isn’t learned there is a high probability that it is the result of some physical attribute of the brain.

Following the evolutionary path above, it doesn’t matter how small a difference that behaviour is, as long as, in some conditions, it offers a survival advantage to the animal exhibiting it, that animal has a greater chance of producing offspring that will inherit that behaviour.

Now I guess a “leap of faith” may be required.

In order to accept this theory as plausible you have to buy into the idea that certain behaviours are hard wired, (In computer terms, BIOS or ROM) and this opens an interesting possibility. If some types of behaviour is a result of a physical property in the brain, then it should be possible manipulate that property!

I offer you “Toxoplasma gondii”.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

This delightful little parasite lives in rats, but unfortunately for the rat, requires a feline host in order to reproduce. In order to get from rat to cat it alters the rats behaviour, removing the rats predator aversion instinct and making the rat “fatally” attracted to the aroma of cat urine. Now, I do not claim to be a rat expert but I am willing to bet good money that the parasite isn’t using Cognitive Therapy or NLP to get the rat to change it behaviour, but it is changing the rat’s behaviour and it is not a learned response.
The behaviour of the rat is now nonlearned. (instinctive according to my definition above).

A thought exercise.

Assuming the behaviour is induced by the parasite via chemical means, what would happen to a rat that was born with a mutation whereby that part of the brain stimulated by the parasite chemical became stimulated by some other, already present chemical?
Its instinctive behaviour would be......?

In summary, I guess what this ramble has been trying to say is that there is a possibility that some behaviours are merely an evolutionary response to the physical layout of the brain that affect behaviour but offers a survival advantage”

edit on 16-1-2012 by idmonster because: Rats, Cats, Dogs, Hogs, Mice and Men....DOH!



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