How are behaviors developed

Innate behavior in humans (behavioral biology)

Which behaviors are innate in humans, which are only developed through experience or in a society? These are the questions we dealt with in this article from the field of behavioral biology.


If an attractive lady is walking on a busy street, the men's looks are sure to be her. But why is that actually the case? And what do we even perceive to be attractive? This is exactly what we want to focus on in the following sections Behavioral biology go into more detail. First of all, we will deal with the behaviors that are innate. In a follow-up article we will go into the behavior patterns that are shaped by experiences in life and by society.

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Innate behavior

In the following, we will first look at the behavioral patterns that infants display. Then we look at what things adolescents and adults do because it is genetically predetermined.
You will also learn everything about the basic terms Automatism, Key stimuli, Instinctive acts, unconditional Reflexes and motor activities. So first of all, some innate behavior patterns in infants and adults:

Innate Behavior: Infants

  • If you touch an infant's mouth with your finger, you loosen one Sucking reflex out. This has a great advantage: the infants can "suckle" on their mother's breast and thereby absorb the nutrients they need for survival and growth.
  • A grasping reflex is also innate. If an object - or a finger - touches the inner palms of an infant, it clasps the finger or object.
  • In terms of behavior, too, innate ones appear immediately Behavior patterns: This is how the young offspring screams loudly when he / she feels uncomfortable.
  • Reflexes are also present at birth. If you move a hand quickly towards the child's eyes, the lid of the eye closes very quickly to protect the eye.


Innate behavior into adulthood:

  • Parts of our sexual behavior are innate and are called Key stimuli Are defined.
  • Most men find women with a narrow waist, broad hips, long hair, long and narrow legs, well-shaped breasts and feminine facial features to be attractive.
  • For men, on the other hand, narrow hips, broad shoulders, a well-trained (muscular) physique and distinctive facial features appear attractive.

One more thing must be said: These statements apply to the majority of the people in the population. This means: Not every man or woman finds exactly the key stimuli noted above as attractive. There are quite a few exceptions.

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The automatism

A Automatism is an action that occurs without human will control. This means that it cannot be influenced, so it runs automatically. An example of an automatism in the human body is, for example, breathing or the pulse rate.

The instinctual behavior

If you are from Instinctual behavior When speaking, one often means the motivation, the mood of a person or the urge or tendency to do something.


The instinctual behavior is a innate behavior, which is composed of various building blocks of behavior. These building blocks are the instinctive movements. This means that they are controlled by the body and the person acts instinctively. This instinctual behavior is often called a fixed action pattern.
The instinctive behavior is triggered by a stimulus, a so-called key stimulus. The reflex-like movement can continue as long as the body is ready to act.

The key stimulus

We now know the terms automatism and instinctual behavior. Another element of this chain from the topic of "innate behavior" is that Key stimulus. This is a stimulus that can also be called a trigger. It is triggered by something, a perception, to which the body reacts with an instinctive movement. That means: First the body perceives something, then the key stimulus follows and the reaction ends with the instinctive movement. These three elements of innate behavior take place one after the other in a rapid sequence of reactions.
In behavioral psychology, the key stimulus is often described using the three basic terms “simple”, “conspicuous” and “unambiguous”. So it's a simple elementthat happens at lightning speed, that is, it is conspicuous and has a clear goal.

The reflex

A reflex is a reaction that makes a person or an animal follow a movement or a trigger. In the case of a reflex, as soon as a stimulus arrives, a reaction follows. However, this also means that the same reaction always follows a reflex: A ball flies towards you. You reflexively pull your arms up so that it doesn't fly in your face. This happens every time a ball hits you. This means that the same trigger is always followed by the same reflex.
The reaction chain of the Stimulus-response schemes is the following: The stimulus must be absorbed, it is processed and implemented with a reflex. That is the answer. So a reflex is a response to a conditioned or unconditional stimulus.

The unconditional reflex
When one speaks of an unconditional reflex, one means the innate reactions that a person already has at birth. He is able to develop further unconditional reflexes, these are already in the Subconscious present, they just need to be pronounced and developed.
The unconditional reflexes are preventive measures from danger or negative experiences by the body. You want to save the body from something harmful.
Examples of the unconditional reflex are breathing, ingesting food, sneezing as soon as the nose is irritated, sitting or lying down and standing.


The conditioned reflex
A conditioned reflex is a reaction to environmental influences. This means that it has not been present since birth, but that it has been appropriated. It was learned through human experience with the environment.

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