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Cross referencing?[change source]

Hello, I am not into observing behaviour; take the image of the small turtle that needs to reach the water line to survive; let's assume this behaviour is instinctive (as there was no time to learn it, the turtles are "newborns". Even if it is perhaps the wrong term, all the turtles that reach the water line will be "selected" (against all those that don't), so over generations, do we not have some kind of "reinforcement learning" (to use the term from Pavlovian behaviour theory)? --Eptalon (talk) 20:44, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

There are two separate things to consider:
  1. the history of the behaviour over a long period of evolution. Without doubt, the behaviour in question is essential for survival, and has been selected, and the instinct is virtually universal in the species.
  2. the history of the individual little turtle. A newly hatched little turtle has had no previous experience, and so the behaviour cannot have been learned. It is innate and instinctual. It is ready-built into their nervous systems.
The psychologists Pavlov, Watson and Skinner dealt with changes in behaviour during the course of an individual lifetime as a result of rewards and punishment (reinforcement). Of course, nothing learned during a lifetime can be passed on to the next generation by heredity. Therefore, though all vertebrates (and most animals) are capable of learning, these innate behaviours come about, not by learning, but indirectly through the action of natural selection over many generations. Macdonald-ross (talk) 03:39, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

Citations needed and additional information[change source]

1. I would cite a few things in the first paragraph. There is a comment "instincts are to do with visible muscular action...". That is not always the case, so I would cite that and then add additional information because there is more to instinct than just that.

2. Also, the last sentence "instincts are not learned but in some cases performance can be improved by experience and practice." Again, I would want a citation. I have found conflicting information that talks about instincts being inflexible:


I know that behavior elicited by an instinct can be modified, I'm not aware of the instinct itself being able to be modified though.

3. The 2nd paragraph - I would modify this paragraph; It is confusing if you are trying to get a basic grasp on the word/concept.

4. I would include more information about human instincts ; survival, fear,etc. There is quite a bit of documented research on human instincts that would be relevant to include.Heather-elizah (talk) 21:26, 3 May 2015 (UTC)heather-elizah