Inborn reflexive behavior

Inborn reflexive behavioris a type of behavior that is one step more complex. The unconditioned reflex is a prototype of this kind of behavior, but it is necessary to bear in mind that a simple reflex can be followed by a long sequence of other elements of behavior, of  which some are fixed and some learned (see below). The organism’s reaction to a specific external starting stimulus consists in the activation of another specific pattern of behavior (e.g. the familiar patellar reflex). The specificity of the external starting stimulus ensures that the given patterns of behavior will be initiated in situations that are advantageous for the organism. This type of control lacks plasticity; it develops entirely in the process of natural selection which does not enable the organism to react to the momentary situation. From a statistical point of view and in the long-time perspective, the existence of a fixed pattern of behavior can be advantageous, but in some situations, especially under changing conditions, such a behavioral pattern can be fatal. Moths would certainly tell us something very ugly, if they could, about their current experience:  For millions of years, they have oriented themselves according to light sources when flying in the dark; i.e. according to the position of moon and stars, objects infinitely far away from the practical point of view. If they were to do this in the present-day populated landscape, they would most likely end their lives by spiraling into hot light bulbs.

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The classical Darwinian theory of evolution can explain the evolution of adaptive traits only in asexual organisms. The frozen plasticity theory is much more general: It can also explain the origin and evolution of adaptive traits in both asexual and sexual organisms Read more