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QUOTE(steppen_wolf @ Jul 20 2006, 10:36 AM)


I am familiar with the "wild child" cases which showed that if language was not learned/developed by a certain very young age that vocabulary could be learned but complex grammer and language structure would be limited as to extreme early stages of normal language development. IIRC not much past that which a gorilla can be taught to do...



Wild childs surpass them by vocal communications, but you're right, it's not really complex language. It is so rare a thing though that it's hard to say what the limits are.




It seems odd that the Gorilla Male is so huge in comparison to the female of the species considering that only learned behaviour (which suggests that the behaviour would not be a constant in all gorillas everywhere) is the reason for the behaviour.


How did the gorilla male get females- did they turn into bonobos?




I don't recall. I tend to tune out the non-human biology articles.



In the possible case my previous post was read as sarcastic, allow me to make it clear: it was quite serious as studies of other primates and thier behaviour result in useful information for those who are interested in the Human (well, I see your point, if all you cared about was human biology). If the Gorilla changed it's domination and infantcide behaviour that would change and drastically the social structure. Provided limited time and the fact that I have no subscription and thus limited capability on www.sciam.com, I was unable to find any article referencing Gorilla and "learned behaviour."




"Sexuality is the fundamental cohesive force in all societies and is a major influence on social structure and institutions. A society which does not reproduce itself ceases to exist; the sexual algorithm, the drive of male towards female resulting in the production of children who then have to be protected and nourished in order to survive, means that the forms taken by sexuality determine the success or failure of societies. Patterns of sexual behaviour (often strongly influenced by religious beliefs and prescriptions) give rise to social organisation and result in different group forms which move from the nuclear family (now apparently in decline in most Western countries) to the extended family still surviving over a large part of the third world. Sex has a reciprocal relationship with social institutions; there are relationships between sexual morals and social structure in different societies, most obviously in the relative social circumstances of men and women; it is claimed that strict sexual morals lead to a higher birth-rate in society as a whole - not smaller. However, the technological separation of sexual intercourse from reproduction, the growing use of abortion, the short duration of marriages, the growing use of artificial fertilisation, all operate to move patterns of reproduction away from those which operated in the distant evolutionary past and bring changes in the structure of societies, for example, smaller families, an increase in the proportion of single individuals, and a reduction in the contribution to societal cohesion made by family relationships. Further technological change is in prospect - asexual cloning of humans, now that it has been shown that mammals can be cloned, opens up startling possibilities for societal organisation and cohesion in the future. It seems likely that sexuality will over time be a less important source of societal cohesion.


Recent primate research (Schaik, 1996) has emphasised the importance of sexuality in social systems. To explain the variation in primate social systems, socio-ecology has focused on the role of ecological factors, ignoring male-female associations and relationships and the possibility that male behaviour modifies other aspects of the social system. The study of baboons shows that a causal mechanism connecting social conflict patterns with sexual behavior is indeed biologically possible. For another primate species, recently attracting a great deal of attention (de Waal, 1995), sex is said to be the key to the social life of the bonobo; sexual behavior is indistinguishable from social behavior. Bonobo males remain attached to their mothers all their lives, following them through the forest and being dependent on them for protection in aggressive encounters with other males. There are no indications that bonobos form humanlike nuclear families. The burden of raising offspring appears to rest entirely on the female's shoulders. In fact, nuclear families are probably incompatible with the diverse use of sex found in bonobos. In some modern Western societies one might, not altogether seriously, trace a pattern of sexual behaviour and associated social forms from the Victorian gorilla or orangutan to Sixties chimpanzees to Nineties Bonobos - in California!


The sexual algorithm, one might argue, was the evolutionary origin of group feeling, spreading from the mother/child relation on to the nuclear family and then from the extended family to the group and to the nation. The family can be seen as central to social relationships; it exists as a consequence of and for reproduction; for social life to continue, people need to be replaced; families accomplish this by having children. The family is the main instrument of socialisation, the induction of the individual into the society. In the family, children are taught values, beliefs, and norms, and learn their identity. Regulation of sexual behavior - sexual relations within marriage are the norm for appropriate sexual activity throughout the world. The family institution is the main socialising element in society. The tendency to the formation of groups, from the very small to the very large, seems to go way back in the evolutionary history of the species. It may have originated in the family group, the parents and children, which became necessary because of the altriciality, the helplessness and very partial development of the human infant. In human society, a number of factors can contribute to the unity of the group but empathy is essential. Empathy develops and is expressed above all in the family, in the solidarity of the family, which can be seen as the nucleus round which wider group feeling develops. This may not only be an evolutionary account of the origin of sociality but an explanation applicable for current societies. "



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instinct article..


I realize this is OT from the original premise of this thread..nevertheless...




Researchers show how the brain turns on innate behavior


Innate or "instinctive" behaviors are inborn and do not require learning or prior experience to be performed. Examples include courtship and sexual behaviors, escape and defensive maneuvers, and aggression.


Using the common fruit fly as a model organism, the researchers found through laboratory experiments that the innate behavior is initiated by a "command" hormone that orchestrates activities in discrete groups of peptide neurons in the brain. Peptide neurons are brain cells that release small proteins to communicate with other brain cells and the body.


The researchers report that the command hormone, called ecdysis-triggering hormone or ETH, activates discrete groups of brain peptide neurons in a stepwise manner, making the fruit fly perform a well-defined sequence of behaviors. The researchers propose that similar mechanisms could account for innate behaviors in other animals and even humans.


Study results appear as the cover article in this week's issue of Current Biology.


"To our knowledge, we are the first to describe how a circulating hormone turns on sequential steps of an innate behavior by inducing programmed release of brain chemicals," said Young-Joon Kim, a postgraduate researcher in UCR's Department of Entomology working with Michael Adams, professor of cell biology and neuroscience and professor of entomology, and the first author of the paper. "It is well known that such behaviors – for example, sexual behavior or those related to aggression, escape or defense – are programmed in the brain, and all are laid down in the genome. We found that not only do steps involved in innate behavior match exactly with discrete activities of the neurons in the brain but also that specific groups of peptide neurons are activated at very precise times, leading to each successive step of the behavioral sequence."


In their experiments, which involved state of the art imaging techniques that helped the researchers see activated neurons light up in the fruit fly brain, the researchers specifically focused on arthropods, such as insects. Insects pass through multiple developmental stages during their life history. Each transition requires molting, a process in which a new exoskeleton (or cuticle) is produced and the old is shed. Insects shed the old cuticle by performing an innate behavior consisting of three distinct steps lasting about 100 minutes in total.


First, the researchers described the ecdysis sequence, an innate behavior that insects perform to escape their old cuticle, and showed that the insect initiates behavior shortly after appearance of ETH in the blood. The researchers then demonstrated that injection of the hormone into an animal generates the same behavior. To investigate mechanisms underlying this hormone-induced behavior, they used real-time imaging techniques to reveal activities in discrete sets of peptide neurons at very precise times, which corresponded to each successive step of the behavioral sequence. The researchers confirmed the results by showing that behavioral steps disappear or are altered upon killing certain groups of brain neurons with genetic tools.


"Our results apply not only to insects; they also may provide insights into how, in general, the mammalian brain programs behavior, and how it and the body schedule events," said Adams, who led the research team. "By understanding how innate behavior is wired in the brain, it becomes possible to manipulate behavior – change its order, delay it or even eliminate it altogether – all of which opens up ethical questions as to whether scientists should, or would want to, engineer behavior in this way in the future."


The fruit fly is a powerful tool and a classic laboratory model for understanding human diseases and genetics because it shares many genes and biochemical pathways with humans.


Source: University of California - Riverside


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