As a result of studying the materials of this chapter, the student must:


• principles of formation of holistic behavior of animals;

• the main components that shape behavior: instincts, learning, reasoning;

• what is the role of each of these components in the evolution of behavior;

be able to

• Analyze the role of different ways of regulating behavior in one form or another of behavior;

• isolate individual unitary reactions from the biological form of animal behavior;

• Orient in the literature devoted to the study of the formation of biological forms of behavior of animals of different systematic groups;


• the skills of conducting a comparative analysis of the behavior of animals of different systematic groups;

• representations about the biological foundations of the formation of behavior.

The main components of the behavior

Back in the XIX century. scientists pointed to the different origins of different behavioral acts. Thus, in particular, Charles Darwin clearly distinguished three main categories of behavior: instinct, ability to learn and elementary "ability to reason." This classification seems to be the most correct and is generally accepted today. In the previous chapters, we examined each of these categories in sufficient detail. The main task of this chapter is to determine the relative weight of each of these categories in the formation of the entire complex of behavior.

Behavioral act

The food, sexual, defensive, maternal and some other reflexes are, according to the position of the Pavlovian school, the innate basis on which all further behavior is built. This distinct allocation of a group of congenital reflexes is absolutely necessary and justified in the study of reflex activity. However, when we move from studying the patterns of the reflex activity of the nervous system to studying the patterns of behavior, it is impossible to conduct a clear separation of acts of behavior into conditional and unconditional ones.

Imagine a fairly common situation, which, quite possibly, had to be observed by many owners of domestic dogs. So, suppose that a peacefully sleeping dog in his place had a thirst. This motivation causes her to go to the kitchen, where her bowl of water usually stands. However, the bowl is empty, and the dog can not satisfy its need. She starts chasing an empty bowl on the floor to attract the attention of the owner. The same, sitting in a comfortable chair, watching TV and paying no attention to the noise produced by the dog. Then she runs to the owner, scratches his paw, whimpers and tries to call for him, but he does not react to it either. After all unsuccessful attempts to lift the owner out of the chair, the dog runs to the front door and starts furiously barking, pretending that someone is behind the door. When the owner goes to the door, she stops barking and runs to the kitchen to the tap.

This picture can be divided into several fragments: the emergence of thirst and the search for water - unconditionedly reflex reactions. When the dog goes to the bowl in the kitchen - it's already a whole chain of conditioned reflexes reactions. Further dog actions do not fit into the notion of conventional conditioned reflexes. Attempt to attract the attention of the owner with the help of the paw and the whine is a complex conditioned reflex association. But when the dog imitates the presence of an outsider after the door - this is clearly reasonable action.

Thus, any behavioral act is a complex interlacing of unconditioned, conditioned reflexes and elements of rational activity, a clear separation of which is not always possible.

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