HEREDITARY MODES OF RESPONSE: INSTINCT
Introduction. --In our discussion of emotion we brought out the fact that there is no sharp line of separation between emotion and instinct. Both are hereditary modes of action. On page 194 we stated that in emotion the radius of action lies within the individual's organism, whereas in instinct the radius of action is extended in such a way that the individual as a whole may make adjustments to objects in his environment. While the radius of action in instinct is extended, the action at the same time is particularized--narrowed down to some specific form of adjustment, e.g., nursing, wiping off an offending substance, grasping the covers or any small object with the hands, etc. If the above distinction could be made to apply wholly without exception it would be equivalent to saying that in emotion the action is implicit mass action, whereas in instinct it is explicit definitized and localized action. But in the previous chapter we found that while the reaction in emotion involved mainly a general response in the visceral motor and glandular side of the organism (implicit), movements of the striped musculature (explicit) were involved to some extent. Notwithstanding this exception, the distinction suggested above is serviceable. We can hardly escape the fact that in emotion the implicit factors predominate. We shall see from our present study that in instinct the action is explicit and capable of being observed in general without instrumentation. Probably every stimulus which leads to a definite instinctive act leads at the same time to some change in emotional tension. It seems easier to believe that emotion can occur without overt instinctive response than that instinctive action can occur without at the same time arousing emotional activity.
Definition of Instinct. --We should define instinct as an hereditary pattern reaction, the separate elements of which are movements principally of the striped muscles. It might otherwise be expressed as a combination of explicit congenital responses un
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Publication information: Book title: Psychology:From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist. Contributors: John B. Watson - Author. Publisher: J. B. Lippincott. Place of publication: Philadelphia. Publication year: 1919. Page number: 231.
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