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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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- Bateson, P. (2000). What must be known in order to understand imprinting? In C. Heyes & L. Huber (Eds.), Vienna series in theoretical biology. The evolution of cognition (pp. 85–102). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Lorenz, K. (1970). Studies in animal and human behavior. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Spalding, D. A. (1873). Instinct with original observations on young animals. Macmillan’s Magazine, 27, 282–293.Google Scholar