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Encyclopedia > Imprinting (psychology)

Imprinting is the term used in psychology and ethology to describe any kind of phase-sensitive learning (learning occurring at a particular age or a particular life stage) that is rapid and apparently independent of the consequences of behavior. It was first used to describe situations in which an animal or person learns the characteristics of some stimulus, which is therefore said to be "imprinted" onto the subject. Psychological science redirects here. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Learning is the acquisition and development of memories and behaviors, including skills, knowledge, understanding, values, and wisdom. ...


Filial imprinting

Konrad Z. Lorenz being followed by his imprinted geese

The best known form of imprinting is filial imprinting, in which a young animal learns the characteristics of its parent. It is most obvious in nidifugous birds, who imprint on their parents and then follow them around. It was first reported in domestic chickens, by the 19th century amateur biologist Douglas Spalding. It was rediscovered by the early ethologist Oskar Heinroth, and studied extensively and popularised by his disciple Konrad Lorenz working with greylag geese. Lorenz demonstrated how incubator-hatched geese would imprint on the first suitable moving stimulus they saw within what he called a "critical period" of about 36 hours shortly after hatching. Most famously, the goslings would imprint on Lorenz himself (more specifically, on his wading boots), and he is often depicted being followed by a gaggle of geese who had imprinted on him. Filial imprinting is not restricted to animals that are able to follow their parents, however; in child development the term is used to refer to the process by which a baby learns who its mother and father are. The process is recognised as beginning in the womb, when the unborn baby starts to recognise its parents' voices (Kissilevsky et al, 2003). Konrad Z Lorenz being followed by his imprinted geese. ... Konrad Z Lorenz being followed by his imprinted geese. ... An animal that leaves its nest shortly after birth is said to be nidifugous. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... Douglas Alexander Spalding (?1840-1877) was an English biologist. ... Lorenz being followed by his imprinted geese Konrad Zacharias Lorenz (November 7, 1903 in Vienna – February 27, 1989 in Vienna) was an Austrian zoologist, animal psychologist, and ornithologist. ... Binomial name (Linnaeus, 1758) Subspecies Western Greylag Goose Eastern Greylag Goose Domesticated goose The Greylag Goose, Anser anser, is a bird with a wide range in the Old World. ... Introduction In general, a critical period is a limited time in which an event can occur, usually to result in some kind of transformation. ... Geese redirects here. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

The filial imprinting of birds was a primary technique used to create the movie Le Peuple Migrateur, which contains a great deal of footage of migratory birds in flight. The birds imprinted on handlers, who wore yellow jackets and honked horns constantly. The birds were then trained to fly along with a variety of aircraft, primarily ultralights. Movie poster for the English translation, Winged Migration. ... Huntair Pathfinder Mark 1 ultralight During the late 1970s and early 1980s, many people sought to be able to fly affordably. ...

Imprinted geese and cranes flying with a ultralight aircraft

The Italian hang-glider pilot Angelo d'Arrigo extended this technique. D'Arrigo noted that the flight of a non-motorised hang-glider is very similar to the flight patterns of migratory birds: both use updrafts of hot air (thermal currents) to gain altitude which then permits soaring flight over distance. He used this fact to enable the re-introduction into the wild of threatened species of raptors. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 533 pixelsFull resolution (3888 × 2592 pixel, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 533 pixelsFull resolution (3888 × 2592 pixel, file size: 1. ... Hang gliding is one of the windsports. ... Angelo dArrigo (born April 3, 1961 in Paris; died March 26, 2006) was an Italian aviator who held a number of world records in the field of flight, principally with microlights and hang gliders, with or without motors. ... Hang gliding is one of the windsports. ... Orders Accipitriformes     Cathartidae     Pandionidae     Accipitridae     Sagittariidae Falconiformes     Falconidae A bird of prey or raptor is a bird that hunts its food, especially one that preys on mammals or other birds. ...

Birds which are hatched in captivity have no mentor birds to teach them their traditional migratory routes. D'Arrigo had one solution to this problem. The chicks hatched under the wing of his glider, and imprinted on him. Subsequently, he taught the fledglings to fly and to hunt. The young birds followed him not only on the ground (as with Lorenz) but also in the air as he took the path of various migratory routes. He flew across the Sahara and over the Mediterranean Sea to Sicily with eagles, from Siberia to Iran (5,500 km) with a flock of Siberian cranes, and over Everest with Nepalese eagles. In 2006, he worked with a condor in South America. Mediterranean redirects here. ... Sicily ( in Italian and Sicilian) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,708 km² (9,926 sq. ... Genera Several, see below. ... This article is about Siberia as a whole. ... Genera Grus Anthropoides Balearica Bugeranus Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds of the order Gruiformes, and family Gruidae. ... The Everest entry redirects here. ... Genera Vultur Gymnogyps For other uses, see Condor (disambiguation). ...

In a similar project, orphaned Canada Geese were trained to their normal migration route by the Canadian ultralight enthusiast Bill Lishman, as shown in the fact based movie drama Fly Away Home. For the Canadian outerwear manufacturer Canada Goose see Canada Goose (clothing) Binomial name (Linnaeus, 1758) Canada Goose distribution, including native (dark tones) and introduced (light tones) populations Canada Goose summer: yellow Canada Goose all year: green Canada Goose winter: blue Cackling Goose summer: pink Subspecies Dusky Canada Goose Vancouver Canada... Bill Lishman is a Canadian inventor, artist, and ultralight aircraft enthusiast. ... Fly Away Home is a 1996 movie about the daughter (Anna Paquin) of a divorced man (Jeff Daniels) who, with her father, leads a flock of geese from Canada to a wildlife refuge in the US. External links Official site Fly Away Home at the Internet Movie Database Categories: 1996...

Sexual imprinting

Sexual imprinting is the process by which a young animal learns the characteristics of a desirable mate. For example, male zebra finches appear to prefer mates with the appearance of the female bird that rears them, rather than mates of their own type (Immelmann, 1972). The famous psychologist John Money called it the lovemap. Binomial name Taeniopygia guttata Vieillot, 1817 The Zebra Finch, Taeniopygia guttata is the most common and familiar estrildid finch of Central Australia and ranges over most of the continent, avoiding only the cool moist south and the tropical far north. ... John William Money, Ph. ... A lovemap is a concept originated by John Money to assist a discussion of why people like what they like sexuoerotically. ...

Sexual imprinting on inanimate objects is a popular theory concerning the development of sexual fetishism. For example, according to this theory, imprinting on shoes or boots (as with Lorenz' geese) would be the cause of shoe fetishism. Wikinews has related news: Dr. Joseph Merlino on sexuality, insanity, Freud, fetishes and apathy Sexual fetishism is the attribution of attractive sexual qualities to (a) specific part(s) of the human body and/or (b) non-living objects as an overwhelming alternative to the sexuality of a man or a... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

Westermarck effect

Reverse sexual imprinting is also seen: when two people live in close domestic proximity during the first few years in the life of either one, both are desensitized to later close sexual attraction. This phenomenon, known as the Westermarck effect, was first formally described by anthropologist Edvard Westermarck. The Westermarck effect has since been observed in many places and cultures, including in the Israeli kibbutz system, and the Chinese Shim-pua marriage customs, as well as in biological-related families. In a species that reproduces sexually, sexual attraction is an attraction to other members of the same species for sexual or erotic activity. ... See Anthropology. ... Edvard Alexander Westermarck (November 20, 1862 - September 3, 1939) was a Finnish philosopher and sociologist. ... Kibbutz Dan, near Qiryat Shemona, in the Upper Galilee, 1990s A kibbutz (Hebrew: ; plural: kibbutzim: קיבוצים; gathering or together) is an Israeli collective intentional community. ... Shim-pua marriage (Taiwanese: sin-pū-á, sim-pū-á) was a Taiwanese tradition of arranged marriage, where a poor family (burdened by too many children) would sell a young daughter to a richer family for labour, and in exchange, the poorer family would be married into the richer family, through the...

In the case of the Israeli kibbutzim (collective farms), children were reared somewhat communally in peer groups - groups based on age, not biological relation. A study of the marriage patterns of these children later in life revealed that out of the nearly 3,000 marriages that occurred across the kibbutz system, only fourteen were between children from the same peer group. Of those fourteen, none had been reared together during the first six years of life. This result provides evidence not only that the Westermarck effect is demonstrable, but that it operates during the critical period from birth to the age of six (Shepher, 1983).

When close proximity during this critical period does not occur - for example, where a brother and sister are brought up separately, never meeting one another - they may find one another highly sexually attractive when they meet as adults. This phenomenon is known as genetic sexual attraction. This observation is consistent with the theory that the Westermarck effect evolved because it suppressed inbreeding. This attraction may also be seen with cousin couples. Introduction In general, a critical period is a limited time in which an event can occur, usually to result in some kind of transformation. ... Genetic sexual attraction (GSA) is sexual attraction between close relatives, such as brother and sister, who first meet as adults. ... It has been suggested that inbreeding depression be merged into this article or section. ... A cousin couple is a pair of cousins with a romantic or sexual relationship. ...

Westermarck and Freud

Freud argued that as children, members of the same family naturally lust for one another, making it necessary for societies to create incest taboos, but Westermarck argued the reverse, that the taboos themselves arise naturally as products of innate attitudes. Subsequent research over the years has supported Westermarck's observations and interpretation ([1]; see here for other concrete studies), but still some psychoanalysts maintain or modify the Freudian concept. Sigmund Freud (IPA: ), born Sigismund Schlomo Freud (May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939), was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology. ... a family of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in 1997 Family is a Western term used to denote a domestic group of people, or a number of domestic groups linked through descent (demonstrated or stipulated) from a common ancestor, marriage or adoption. ... For other uses, see Society (disambiguation). ... Incest is defined as sexual intercourse between closely related persons. ... Incest is defined as sexual intercourse between closely related persons. ... pychoanalysis today comprises several interlocking theories concerning the functioning of the mind; the term also refers to a specific type of treatment where the analyst, upon hearing the thoughts of the analysand (analytic patient), formulates and then explains the unconscious bases for the patients symptoms and character problems. ...

In his book How the Mind Works, the psychologist Steven Pinker noted the following: "The idea that boys want to sleep with their mothers strikes most men as the silliest thing they have ever heard. Obviously, it did not seem so to Freud, who wrote that as a boy he once had an erotic reaction to watching his mother dressing. But Freud had a wet-nurse, and may not have experienced the early intimacy that would have tipped off his perceptual system that Mrs. Freud was his mother. The Westermarck theory has out-Freuded Freud" (p. 460). How the Mind Works is a book by American cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, published in 1996. ... Steven Pinker Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a prominent Canadian-born American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, and popular science writer known for his spirited and wide-ranging advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind. ... Sigmund Freud His famous couch Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856 - September 23, 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology, a movement that popularized the theory that unconscious motives control much behavior. ... A wet nurse is a woman who breast feeds a baby that is not her own. ...

See also

Kin recognition refers to animals capabilities to distinguish between close genetic kin and non-kin. ... In evolutionary biology, kin selection refers to changes in gene frequency across generations that are driven at least in part by interactions between related individuals, and this forms much of the conceptual basis of the theory of social evolution. ... For other uses, see Pavlov (disambiguation). ...


  • Immelmann, K. (1972) Sexual and other long-term aspects of imprinting in birds and other species. Advances in the Study of Behavior, 4, 147–174.
  • Kisilevsky, B. S., et al. (2003). Effects of experience on fetal voice recognition. Psychological Science, 14, 220–224.
  • Paul, Robert A. (1988). Psychoanalysis and the Propinquity Theory of Incest Avoidance. The Journal of Psychohistory 3 (Vol. 15), 255–261.
  • Pinker, S. (1997). How the mind works. New York: Norton.
  • Shepher, Joseph (1983). Incest: A Biosocial View. Academic Press, New York.
  • Spain, David H. (1987). The Westermarck–Freud Incest-Theory Debate: An Evaluation and Reformation. Current Anthropology 5 (Vol. 28), 623–635, 643–645.
  • Westermarck, Edvard A. (1921). The history of human marriage, 5th edn. London: Macmillan.

External links

  • Cardoso, SH and Sabbatini, RME. Learning who is your mother. The behavior of imprinting. Brain & Mind Magazine.
  • Nancy T. Burley, a researcher into imprinting in zebra finches
  • Debra Lieberman, John Tooby and Leda Cosmides. "Does morality have a biological basis? An empirical test of the factors governing moral sentiments relating to incest." Accepted for publication in Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B November 2002. Available online at Citeseer

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