The qualitative characteristic of instinctive behavior is supplemented by a quantitative one, which is based on the study of the course of reactions in time. For this, the timekeeping method is applied, when certain motor acts are fixed in time either visually or with the help of special equipment. The simplest example of such registration of behavior is the study of the total motor activity of the animal during the day, in different seasons of the year, under different environmental conditions.
The registration technique for timing the behavior is very diverse and depends on the research task, the object and the equipment of the researcher. The method of graphic registration (on a mechanical, electrical or radio-electric basis), a method of visual observation and mechanical recording by special markers and counters, recording of acoustic phenomena, etc. are used. As is known, the otological method involves the registration and comprehensive analysis of a large number of units of behavior, which requires a clear identification of acts of behavior and poses, as well as their classification system. To this end, special "etological atlases" have been created.
Neonatal isolation method
All methods of observation and recording the behavior of an animal are important for establishing the species (taxonomic) differences in behavior or its individual elements, establishing the nature of their course in nature. However, they can not solve one of the most important questions facing the researcher of the instinct - the question of the origin of this or that element of behavior, the motor act or all the complicated activity as a whole.
The need to address this cardinal issue led researchers to develop a special method for studying instincts by isolating elements of innate behavior. The most significant value for revealing the innate elements of behavior from the life of a complex combination of them observed in natural conditions was the method of isolation of the newborn from certain environmental factors - the Caspar-Hauser method. Method name occurs on behalf of a certain Kaspar Hauser - heir to the throne of one of the German princes, who was imprisoned as a result of palace intrigues, where he stayed from early childhood to 17 years of age. The boy lived in a low prison cell and saw only a guard who had never said a word to him. He was released in 1828. At large, he walked with difficulty, he did not know how to use his hands and could only say one phrase. Subsequent education has yielded very minor results. Hauser never became a normal person.
The use of such a method was encountered in ancient times. Legendary legislator of the ancient Sparta Lycurgus placed two puppies of the same litter in a pit, and two others raised on the will in communication with other dogs. When the dogs grew up, he released a hare in the presence of a large crowd of people. The puppy, raised in the wild, rushed after the hare, caught and strangled him. The puppy, brought up in complete isolation, cowardly rushed to flee from the hare. Despite the whole legendary nature of the experiment (as well as its author), it was repeatedly repeated in different versions in Pavlovian laboratories, where the main conclusions of Lycurgus were confirmed. As a method of isolating an organism from external stimuli, this experiment has retained its significance to the present day and has become the basis for studying the innate behavior of organisms that is independent of the conditions of upbringing and the environment.
This method has been used in a large number of studies, including observations of F. Cuvier over a beaver, in the experiments of Spalding with swallow chicks, etc. K. Lloyd Morgan in 1899 described the case when taken blind from nests and grown in The room squirrels took nuts, laid them on the carpet and made the movements of "burying" in the ground. After committing a certain number of instillation movements, the protein was taken for a new nut, and it all began again. In this case, there was a food material (nuts), which is buried in natural conditions with a store of food.
Widely known experiments are G.-F. Harlow (1906-1981) with the cultivation of baby monkeys with the help of "artificial mothers" (Figure 5.5).
Another methodical technique widely used in the study of instinctive behavior in experiment and in part in nature is the method of models. The model imitates natural stimuli and is well-known to hunters, using models of ducks or such sound stimuli as manki. The group of methodical methods of modeling include the reproduction of both models of animals and plants, as well as food substances, odors and sounds that mimic natural stimuli. The method of simulating natural relationships is widespread in experimental biology. It was widely used by Fabre in observations on insects, as well as by other researchers of the last century. Interesting facts, established with the help of models, are the facts of intensification of congenital reactions or their weakening with the corresponding intensification or weakening of the contrast of the colors of the stimulus (for example, the brighter plumage of the male partner's model during sexual behavior), the action of a smell stimulus of higher intensity than natural stimulus . These facts seem to be important for studying the problems of the physiological adequacy of stimuli, the value of the power relations of natural stimuli.
Fig. 5.5. Deprivation experiment with the cultivation of baby monkeys using the method of the "artificial mother"
The most interesting from this point of view is the description of the sexual behavior of the male stickleback as different artificial models of the female approach him (N. Tinbergen, 1955). If the model (even very rough in its design, see Figure 5.6) had an extension in the abdominal region, then a courting response was observed on the part of the male stickleback. If the female model did not have this extension (imitating the presence of unfertilized eggs), then the courtship reaction was absent, even aggression could be manifested. The use of a mock-up that only mimics a living biological object to some extent caused a more intense reaction than a natural stimulus - a female with a less bloated abdomen.
Fig. 5.6. The method of the model
Pharmacological methods in the study of instinctA significant place has recently been occupied in the study of chemical effects on certain parts of the central nervous system - pharmacological methods in the study of instinct. So, the introduction of special microcannons in various areas of the intermediate brain allows to carry out chronic exposure by various exciting and inhibitory nervous system substances. For example, it was possible in this way to excite or inhibit the animal's food activity, thirst, etc.
Even more important for understanding the problems of instinct is the recent application of so-called psychotropic substances acting on the body both through the nervous system, and by changing the function of the endocrine glands and metabolism. These include, first of all, substances that block the impulses coming from the analyzers, or, on the contrary, stimulate the brain stem divisions that cause the animal's excitation.
The most difficult is the study of the influence of pharmacological agents on specific manifestations of instinct. At present, the study of the effect of new pharmacological preparations on the species-specific behavior of animals is a necessary stage in the overall evaluation of their psychotropic effects.
This problem is dealt with by a special section of modern experimental medicine - "pharmacoetology", which studies the nature and mechanisms of the action of psychotropic drugs on the intraspecies behavior of animals in natural or laboratory conditions. Using as a biological model the social and aggressive behavior of rodents, as well as the exact methods of recording and classifying species-specific behavior, the authors of this method succeeded in accurately characterizing the effects of a large number of psychotropic agents on anti-aggressive, antisocial, anxiolytic and anxiolytic (ie, modulating fear and anxiety) .
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Methodically, the study of instinctive activity is presented at present very widely. In essence, all modern methods of studying behavior, higher nervous activity, neurophysiology, endocrinology and physiology of analyzers are used to study the instinct. However, not all methods are applicable to observation of various forms of instinctual activity.
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