Biological Bases for Instinct and Behavior: Studies on the Development of Social Behavior in Squirrel Monkeys

  • Detlev W. Ploog


The word “instinct” should actually no longer be used at all, some say; others insist that the word cannot be replaced. One hundred years ago, the German philosopher Eduard von Hartmann wrote in his 1600-page volume “Philosophy of the Unconscious”: “Instinct is purposive action without knowledge of the purpose.” From this point of view, Sigmund Freud proceeded to his observations and discoveries which so greatly influenced the modern world. Nearly fifty years ago, Freud’s contemporary Eugen Bleuler wrote in his “Natural History of the Psyche”: “From the most primitive reflexes to the most complex instincts there is a continuous hierarchical order. Everywhere we have to deal with the same predetermined mechanisms. By means of drives and instincts certain purposes are accomplished without the need of special training, learning, or exercise. In contrast to the reflexes, the instincts concern the entire being in action. They are distinguished by their their adaptability...and by their apparent spontaneity.”


Squirrel Monkey Biological Basis Penile Erection Innate Behavior Primitive Reflex 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1966

Authors and Affiliations

  • Detlev W. Ploog
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry (Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Psychiatrie)MunichGermany

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