Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford


  • Yan WangEmail author
  • Bowen Hou
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1059-1



The process through which early behavior pattern becomes restricted to a particular type of object as a result of a relatively brief exposure of that object at a particular early life stage


After some animals are born or hatched, they have the instinct to acquire or learn the behavioral characteristics from the object exposed to them. This kind of phenomenon can be easily observed in avian such as domestic chickens and ducklings, and it was described as “imprinting” by Konrad Lorenz in 1935 based on his observations of goslings. The word “imprinting” indicates that the learning process of the characteristics of certain objects in young animals is like an inborn and fixed mechanism. Some advanced behavioral and psychological development, such as social bonding and language skills, are believed to have a close relationship with imprinting process.

Imprinting as an Ethology Topic


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFudan UniversityShanghaiChina

Section editors and affiliations

  • Menelaos Apostolou
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NicosiaNicosiaCyprus