What is instinct?

Anna Bazarova
Anna Bazarova
March 25, 2015
What is instinct?

The word instinct comes from the Latin instinctus, which means a set of innate tendencies and complex reactions of the animal organism, realized in the form of automatic behavior on external or internal stimuli.

What is instinct

The word instinct refers to biological and psychological terminology. A lot of attention was paid to them in the field of psychoanalysis, where instincts were viewed as unacquired mechanisms that played the role of the motivating forces of complex models of human behavior.

However, Sigmund Freud strongly rejected the existence of instincts in the human psyche, saying that human sexual behavior only indirectly resembles the sexual instincts of animals and that each person creates types of sexual relationships with a partner. For Freud, each person was an individual and in this case it would be unfair to interpret the human sexual experience only by the instincts characteristic of all members of the species.

It is very important to note that instincts are at the core of the behavior of animal organisms, but questions about the applicability of the term to the human race remain controversial and ambiguous.

In the narrow sense, instincts are understood as a set of acts of behavior that are inherited and characteristic of representatives of a single species.

In the field of physiology of higher nervous activity, instincts are called a complex of motor acts or a clear algorithm of actions, which is characteristic of representatives of this species. The implementation of instincts in this case directly depends on the physical state of the organism, as well as on the situation that has developed at a particular moment.

A very big breakthrough in the understanding of the term instinct was laid by J. B. Lamarck in the early 19th century as part of the first evolutionary teachings. The scientist laid the foundations of the relationship between the behavior of animals with innate tendencies (instincts). He spoke of the instincts of animals as a propensity to induce action without any involvement of thought or will, which is true of the definition of instincts today.

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