Lorenz- Imprinting

  • Created by: MollyL20
  • Created on: 30-10-20 15:21
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  • Animal studies- Lorenz's research
    • In the early 20th century a number of ethologists were conducting animal studies of the relationships between infant animals and their mothers.
    • Their observations informed the psychologists understanding of mother infant attachments in humans
    • Lorenz first observed the phenomenon of imprinting when he was a child
    • Methods
      • Lorenz set up a classic experiment in which he randomly divided a clutch of goose eggs
      • Half of these eggs were hatched with the mother goose in their natural environment
      • The other half hatched in an incubator where the first moving thing was Lorenz
    • Findings
      • The incubator group followed Lorenz and the control group followed their mother
      • When the groups were mixed, the control group continued to follow their mother and the other following Lorenz
      • Lorenz identified a critical period in which imprinting needs to take place which can be even just a few hours after the eggs have hatched
        • If imprinting doesn't occur, he found that chicks don't imprint themselves to a mother figure
    • Sexual imprinting
      • He also investigated the relationship between imprinting and adult mate preferences
      • He observed that birds imprint on human would often later display courtship behaviour towards humans
      • Lorenz described a peacock that had been reared in the reptile house of a zoo where the first moving object the peacocks saw after hatching was the giant tortoises
        • As an adult, this bird would only direct courtship behaviour towards giant tortoises. He concluded that this meant he had undergone sexual imprinting


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