From Big Medical Encyclopedia

ETHOLOGY (Greek ethos custom, temper, character + logos the doctrine) — the science about behavior of animals defining by the comparative description of instinctive actions a role of the inborn and acquired components in formation of the complete behavioural act and value of an instinctive behavior in the soobshchestva organization of a look and its evolution.

Development E. it is connected with researches of naturalists of 19 century. So, the fr. scientist F. Cuvier studied construction behavior of the beavers who are grown up in isolation from parents and deprived of a possibility of imitation parents and came to a conclusion about their ability to independently build dams. As scientific discipline E. it was issued in the 30th 20 century in works avstr. the zoologist Lorentz (To. Lorenz).

Formation E. it is inseparably linked with theory of evolution. In fundamentals of methodology E. laid down

Ch. Darvin's idea about adaptive value of inborn forms of behavior and a comparative method of studying of behavior. In the book «About Expression of Feelings at the Person and Animals» (1882) Ch. Darwin generalized results of the observations over the «expressive» movements of animals and the person, having pointed, in particular, to difficulty of determination of specific weight of the inborn and individually acquired components of their behavior. Works of the Russian zoopsychologist V. A. Wagner about value of a comparative method in studying of behavior of animals and an evolutionary origin of instincts anticipated a number of provisions of modern ethology.

A great influence on development E. rendered works of the English zoologist D. A. Spalding who stated the assumption in 1873 that along with the behavior created by training there are also its nek-ry inborn forms. Studying behavior of birds (generally turtle-doves), American Uitmen (Ch. Whitman) came to a conclusion that instinctive forms of behavior are so constant that is similar to much morfol. features can be taxonomical signs (e.g., the sucking movements of pigeons during drink — one of the most characteristic signs of this family). Similar inborn forms of behavior on many animal species were investigated by Haynrot (O. of Heinroth).

Significant effect on development E. rendered researches of the pupil Uitmen — F. W. Craig. He specified by one of the first that the behavior depends not only on the external irritants operating on an animal, but also on his internal requirements. Craig subdivided instincts into the inclinations and motives demanding satisfaction: search behavior and for

the vershayushchy action which is carried out after the irritant is found. The completing action leads to decrease or total disappearance of motivation.

Lorentz and his followers developed new methods of a research in the area E., the based hl. obr. on use of imitations. It allowed to determine a number of consistent patterns in behavior of animals: operation of «inborn triggers» («inborn starting schemes»), i.e. ability of an organism to answer with specific reactions to strictly fixed combinations of incentives («key irritants»); «imprinting» — manifestation of nek-ry, apparently, very simple inborn releasers single, irreversible, inherent to only very early period of ontogenesis; «the replacing actions» — when this or that instinct does not find a way of implementation inherent to it or in a situation of the conflict of two multidirectional instincts the animal performs the operation which is not corresponding to any of these two instincts, and some to the third.

For these researches to Lorentz together with N. Tinbergen and Frisch (To. Frisch) was awarded the Nobel Prize (1973).

Modern E. is based on idea of that’ that instincts arise as adaptive forms of behavior under control of natural selection and are assigned to a look by the same way, as well as morfol. signs. Studying instinctive forms of behavior from the evolutionary point of view, AA. opens the main mechanisms of management of behavior of the animals united in communities, offers an explanation and classification of numerous forms of behavior of animals.

AA. exerted a great influence on genetics, ecology, developmental biology and other fields of knowledge and has important practical value for livestock production and fur farming.

Nek-rye of ethology the principles developed by them extend to the analysis of behavior of the person. So, according to Lorentz, the relation of the person to the nature is governed by the highest centers, but in relationship of people the major role is played by endogenous mechanisms. Lorentz connects specifics of human forms of behavior with a domestikation (domestication), leads edges to disintegration of «inborn releasers», decrease in their «filtering» ability. At the heart of similar mechanistic transfer of the principles E. on behavior of the person the biologizatorsky concept of the person lies.

Bibliography: Wagner V. A. Biologists

chesky bases of comparative psychology, t. 1 — 2, SPb., 1910 — 1913; Darwin H. Compositions, t. 5, page 681, M., 1953; Dewsbury D. A. Povedeniye of animals, the lane with English, M., 1981, bibliogr.; Krushinsky JI. V. Etologiya, in book: History of biology, under the editorship of L. Ya. Blyakher, t. 2, page 109, M., 1975; L a shouting e N of c of K. Koltso of the tsar Solomon, the lane with English, M., 1978; it, Year of a gray goose, the lane with it., M., 1984; P and N about in E. N. Etologiya — her sources, formation and the place in a research of behavior, M., 1975, bibliogr.; Tinbergen N. Behavior of animals, the lane with English, M., 1969; X and y N d R.; Behaviour of animals, the lane with English, M., 1975, bibliogr.; Halle h e r V. Chelovek and aggression, the lane with it., M., 1975; Lorenz K. Evolution and modification of behavior, L., 1969; Man and aggression, ed. by M. F. Ashley Montagu, N. Y., 1968.

L. V. Krushinsky, I. T. Frolov.