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::: center home >> events >> lunchtime >> 2003-04 >> abstracts

Tuesday, 10 February 2004
Instinct in the ‘50s:
The British Reception of Konrad Lorenz’s Theory of Instinctive Behavior

Paul Griffiths
University of Pittsburgh
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning

Abstract: In the early 1950s the instinct concept developed by Konrad Lorenz in the years leading up to the second world war seemed, from the perspective of students of animal behavior in the United Kingdom, to be both a genuine break with the past and a central theoretical construct of the new ethology. An exception to this view was J.B.S Haldane, who made substantial efforts to undermine Lorenz’s claims to originality. The enthusiasm for Lorenz’s concept in the United Kingdom was, however, shortlived. By the late 50s the ‘English speaking ethologists’ had rejected Lorenz’s approach in favor of one which stressed the interaction of heredity and environment in the ontogeny of all behaviors.

Revised 3/11/08 - Copyright 2006