Afferent Processes

  • Konrad Z. Lorenz


As has been emphasized repeatedly, the functional unit of the instinctive action now called the species-characteristic drive action consists of two fundamentally disparate physiological processes. The active, spontaneous part was the first to get our attention; therefore, as I have tried to reconstruct the genesis of our own ideas in this book, the fixed motor patterns have been discussed before the afferent processes. As long as the whole of the motor activity was regarded as a chain of reflexes, the first link of this chain did not seem to be different from the subsequent ones nor did it seem to demand any special attention. With increased insight into the physiological nature of spontaneous motor patterns, however, it became clear that it must indeed be a physiological apparatus of a very different kind, an apparatus which selectively “recognizes” the biologically correct situation and, thereupon, removes the inhibition which otherwise blocks the performance of the fixed motor pattern.


Conditioned Stimulus Motor Pattern Stimulus Configuration Fellow Member Gestalt Perception 
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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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