Mechanisms Exploiting Instant Information

  • Konrad Z. Lorenz


The fact that an organism receives information does not imply unconditionally that it learns something, although of course the receiving of new information is an indispensable prerequisite for learning. As will be discussed in the third part of this book, learning, in the widest possible meaning of the word, is defined as an adaptative modification of behavior, in other words, an improvement of the physiological “machinery” whose function is behavior. As in any other adaptive process, adaptation to a certain given in the organism’s environment invariably means that information about this given must somehow have been fed into the organic system. In phylogeny this is achieved by the age-old, trial and success method of random genetic change and subsequent selection, but in ontogeny this is achieved by learning. Both processes have one faculty in common; both can acquire and store information. The first process for gaining information is as old as life itself; the second could only come into being after a more or less centralized nervous system had evolved.


Internal Clock Orientation Mechanism Instant Information Motor Impulse Betta Splendens 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Konrad Z. Lorenz
    • 1
  1. 1.ViennaAustria

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