The hypothesis of K. Lorenz on the internal mechanisms of instinctive...

The hypothesis of K. Lorenz on the internal mechanisms of instinctive action

Lorentz put forward a number of provisions on the internal mechanisms of instinctive action. According to his ideas, under the influence of a number of external and internal factors (hormones, temperature, illumination, etc.) in the corresponding nerve centers, an accumulation of energy or action potential, specific for a certain motivation (hunger, thirst, sexual desire, and so on .P.). The increase of this activity above a certain level leads to the manifestation of the search phase of the behavioral act, which, as already mentioned, is characterized by a wide variability in the performance of both the individual and different representatives of the same species. The search phase consists in the active search for key stimuli, the action of which can satisfy the animal's motivation. When these stimuli are found, the final act is performed - a fixed set of actions.

This complex of activities is species-specific and characterized by a high degree of genotypic conditioning. With excessive accumulation of the "specific energy of the action" The final act can be carried out spontaneously, i.e. in the absence of appropriate stimuli (idle reaction ). The term specific energy of action was used to a large extent as a metaphor and had to emphasize that internal motivating factors affect only certain systems of behavioral reactions associated, for example, with obtaining food and ns related to reproduction.

K.Lorenz hydraulic model

Lorentz proposed a hypothetical model for the implementation of reactions such as the final acts, the general principles of which were borrowed from hydraulics. Although at one time the model was actively used to interpret the mechanisms of the behavioral act, and the principles that were based on it were never disproved, at present it is only of historical interest (Figure 5.4).

Fig. 5.4. Hydraulic model Lorentz

With increasing motivation, for example, when depriving an animal of poverty, "specific energy of action" is accumulated, i.e. energy, which refers only to the feeling of hunger and is not associated with any other types of behavior. In the model, this is represented as a gradual accumulation of water in the reservoir ( 2 ), where it enters the crane ( 1 ) . The outflow of water from the reservoir is the activity of the animal, in particular, the motor activity. Normally, the outlet from the tank is closed by a valve ( 3 ), which is equipped with a spring ( 4 ). The valve is opened in two ways. The first is the placement of weights of different weights (5) on the weighing pan, which corresponds to the action of various external stimuli. The gradually increasing pressure of water in the tank and the weight on the pan of the balance act in one direction: open the valve. The higher the water level, the less weight you need to add to the scale pan, and sometimes the opening of the valve provides only water pressure - this will correspond to the idle activity. Different types of animal activity are represented in the model in the form of different holes in the graded 7 ) inclined tray ( 6 ). With a slightly open valve, the water pours out slightly, it only enters the first, the lowest opening in the tray. This corresponds to the form of activity having the lowest threshold, i. E. one of the forms of search behavior. If the valve opens more strongly, water pours out through other openings in the tray, which corresponds to activity with a higher threshold. If all the water has poured out, the behavioral reaction does not manifest itself, no matter how strong the stimuli acting on the animal are. The notion "depletion of the motor act", which is used in classical ethology, refers specifically to this case

The model proposed by Lorenz well describes the phenomenology of instinctive actions, as well as the cyclic changes taking place in the reactivity of the animal's nervous system to external stimuli-reducing the threshold for performing an action if it has not been performed for a long time, restoring readiness for instinctive action after a break, and the possibility of reactions to nonspecific stimuli. For some time, the Lorentz model has been a stimulus to the development of new research. However, along with this, this model was repeatedly criticized, partly unjustified, but also partly just (for example, for the mechanistic construction). When creating the model, only the most common features were taken into account, reflecting the scheme of operation of the simulated system, as well as its correspondence with facts known from experience. Well illustrating many of the known phenomena, the hydraulic model of Lorentz was still unable to explain the diversity of behavior. However, this only indicated that the notion of the storage of the "specific energy of the action" has limited application and the corresponding terms and concepts are not universal.

The modern assessment of the Lorentz concept of an innate resolving mechanism relies on a large number of experimental facts obtained in recent years. Obviously, the specific energy of the action and key incentives These are concepts that, in the modern language of neurophysiology, are expressed in terms such as specific motivation, the activation of a particular motivational system, and the species-specific selectivity of the perceptor apparatus.

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