Innate Releasing Mechanism, IRM
The term “innate releasing mechanism” belongs to a classical concept of ethology. It refers to a neural sensorimotor interface that mediates between a key stimulus and the adequate action pattern. An IRM thus has stimulus recognition and localization properties at its input side and behavior-releasing properties at its output side. The IRM should allow an animal to recognize and respond a behaviorally relevant object that the animal had never encountered before.
The term “innate,” however, is controversial since it may have different meanings, such as present at birth, a behavioral difference caused by a genetic difference, adapted over the course of evolution, unchanging throughout development, shared by all members of a species, present before the behavior serves any function, not learned.
For example, common toads Bufo buforecognize prey objects by figurative visual features as tests of the prey-catching activity in response to changes in the configuration of dummies have shown: a...