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reflex actions

Behaviours not dependent on learning: pre-programmed behaviour.
Not all that we know is learnt. Some things are pre-programmed, or seem to be in-built and require no previous experience or learning. Examples of these behaviours include reflex actions, fixed action patterns and behaviour due to maturation.
Reflex actions. Reflex actions are automatic, involuntary responses that do not require prior experience. For example, we do not even think about whether to blink when an object comes near our eyes.
Reflexes are adaptive for survival, meaning that we would be in danger if we did not have these built in mechanisms to help protect us from environmental hazards.
If we had to stop and make a decision every time we encountered a sudden danger, the consequences would be injury or death.
Newborn babies have many unlearnt reflex actions necessary for survival. It may not be immediately obvious why all of these are survival instincts, but they are. Examples, sucking, withdrawal, palmar grasp and stepping.
Fixed action patterns. A fixed action pattern is an inborn predisposition to behave in a certain way when appropriately stimulated.
The term is used to describe behaviour that is inherited by every individual member of a species. For example, a male bowerbird creates a mound of twigs and coloured (preferable blue!) objects to attract a female.
A funnel-web spider creates its characteristic tubular web.
Short-tailed shearwaters (mutton birds) leave Australia in April each year and migrate to Alaska and they arrive back on 21 or 22 September every year, returning to the exact same location to nest.
This type of behaviour is also referred to as instinctive behaviour or species specific behaviour. It is distinguished from reflex action patterns because the behaviours are not simple.
Instead, they are complex behaviours that are unique to a particular species of animal.
Behaviour dependent on maturation. Some behaviours require the development of the body and the structures of the nervous system.
For example, most children will begin walking around 10-14 months and it is impossible to make any child walk until he or she is physically ready.
Similarly, fledgling birds are unable to fly until their wings and flight-feathers have reached the required level of maturity.
Created by: phoebe 4