Konrad Lorenz

Konrad Zacharias Lorenz (* 7. November 1903 in Vienna; † 27. February 1989 in Vienna) was one of the most important representatives of the classical comparative behavior research in such a way specified. It called this Forschungsgebiet until 1949 „animal psychology“one regards and in the German-speaking countries as its founder father. „The mirror “called it once „Einstein of the animal soul “. 1973 became common to it with Karl von Frisch and Nikolaas Tinbergen of the Nobelpreis for physiology or medicine forconcerning their discoveries the structure and the release of individual and social behavior elements (in the original: „for their discoveries concerning organization and elicitation OF individually and social behaviour patterns “) awarded.

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Konrad Lorenz was respectable second, very late born son of the orthopedist Adolf Lorenz. Adolf Lorenz was nearly fifty, when its son came to the world; its nut/mother Emma (born Lecher) was already 42. Itsolder brother was at this time eighteen years old. Beginning 20. Century was his father a world-well-known physician, that not only in Vienna, but practiced regularly also in New York over many decades and among other things in the white house by Theodore Roosevelt one received.


starting from 1909 visited Konrad Lorenz the elementary school and starting from 1915 Viennese the Scot High School, where it puts 1921 down the Abitur with honor.


Konrad Lorenz began when desired itsFather 1922 a medicine study to the Premedical School of the Columbia University in New York. There it returned however already 1923 to Vienna and continued until 1928 its medicine study at the university . 1927 married Lorenz the medicine student Margarethe Gebhardt, with which it was friendly since its third Lebensjahr and whose later income than lady doctor gave it to 1951 the financial support for its studies.

1928 followed, also in Vienna, the graduation to the doctor of the medicine(Dr. med.univ.). In the same year and - after an interruption - from 1931 to 1935 he was as an assistant with Professor. Ferdinand Hochstetter on II. Anatomical Institut of the University of Vienna busily, the one magnet for German national and völkisch gesinnte studentswas. 1931 met Konrad Lorenz in Berlin for the first time personally the Ornithologen Oskar Heinroth and Erwin Stresemann - a crucial event for its entire following scientific career. 1933 followed in Vienna a second graduation, this time to the Dr. phil. in the subject Zoologie.

1935 appeared in the journal for Ornithologie the epoch-making essay: „The Kumpan in the environment of the bird “. 1936 were habilitiert the Lorenz, so that it starting from 1937 the training power for „Zoologie with special consideration of comparative anatomy and animal psychology “at the university Vienna to be given could; it was this the first academic training power of their kind in Austria. Likewise 1937 researched the Lorenz for the first time and several months together with Nikolaas Tinbergen (at grey geese), in Lorenz' place of residence old person mountain with Vienna.

1940 carried out itself for Konrad Lorenz for years the appointment aimed at to the tidy professor; it received the chair for psychology in king mountain and became there at the same time director/conductor of the institute for comparative psychology. 1941 it already became however asSoldier drawn in (until 1944). To short basic training he came 1942 as an army psychiatrist into a military hospital into floats. There it to today not completely clarified tasks were transferred; he never expressed himself over this time. Occupied is onlyits cooperation at a rassekundlichen study on „Posener GermanPolish half-breeds and Poland “, as their realization of the main authors and. A. one was determined „vital Triebhaftigkeit “that Poland contrary to typically German characteristics like „thoroughness “.

1944 came to the Lorenz into SovietWar shank, from which it became to dismiss only 1948 to Austria. In old person mountain with Vienna it created 1949 „Institut for comparative behavior research “, who belonged to the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Likewise it published 1949 its to today popular book „it talkedwith the cattle, the birds and the fish “- for financing of its living costs and its research. Because of its past in the national socialism in Austria however a recent Professur remained for it malfunctioned.

Instead the German Max-Planck company in Buldern / Westphalia arranges 1950particularly for Konrad Lorenz one „research centre for comparative behavior research “, as branch office of Planck Max Planck for sea biology Wilhelmshaven, and. A. in order to counter Abwerbeversuche from England. 1953 followed the appointment as the fee professor at the University of Münster/Westphalia.

1955 beganthe Max-Planck company the building of the institute for Max-Planck for behavior physiology at the Esssee in Upper Bavaria; this location kept sea-meadows later to the names. There Lorenz became a deputy director under Erich of gets and after its early death starting from 1961 and until 1973 director.1957 followed the appointment as the fee professor for Zoologie at the University of Munich.

In the year 1963 its best-seller appeared „the so-called bad. For the natural history of the aggression “, ten years later (1973) two further best-sellers of it came out: „Thoseeight death sins of civilized mankind “and the philosophical Hauptwerk „the back of the mirror. Attempt of a natural history of human recognizing “. 1973 became it together with Karl von Frisch and Nikolaas Tinbergen of the “Nobelpreis for physiology or medicine " for discoveriesfor the organization and release of individual and social behavior patterns lent.

Its admittingness increased 1978, as Konrad Lorenz directly before its 75. Birthday to the Galionsfigur of the successful Austrian referendum against the start-up nuclear power station of the Zwentendorf became. 1988 appeared then itslast large work: „Am here I - where are you? “, an exact ethologische description of grey geese as synopsis of approximately 60 years of intensive behavior observation.

Well-known Lorenz pupils are the behavior researcher and Humanethologe Irish from Eibl Eibesfeldt and the game biologist Antal Festetics as well as Wolfgang rewinding stand.

career in the national socialism

to 31. August 1940 was appointed Konrad Lorenz the professor at the chair for psychology of the philosophical faculty of the University of king mountain (East Prussia). Here Eduard tree garden and Otto charcoal burner played a substantial role, in addition, the sociologist Arnold Gehlen. This had demanded 1936, Immanuel Kant, to make Hegel and Fichte the basis race understanding in the national socialism. 1938 took over Gehlen the renowned Kant chair at the University of king mountain, on it KonradLorenz followed, after Gehlen was changed to the University of Vienna. From this time (1941) also an article originates from Konrad Lorenz over „Kant's theory of Apriori biology present in the light “, its trains of thought it into the 1960er-Jahren to the evolutionary theory of knowledge developed.

Each appointment of university teachers was around 1940 a Politikum, but with the Lorenz paired themselves technical authority and „political qualification “after straight optimally, since Lorenz had furnished sufficient large payments in advance in relation to the LV regime and also in biologist circles was recognized. Already to28. June 1938 had placed a request for admission to the Lorenz into the NSDAP, in which it noted handwritten:

„I was naturally always as German-thinking and scientists national socialist and for world-descriptive reasons embittered enemy of the black regime (never donated or flown a flag)and had difficulties with the acquisition of the Dozentur because of these also out mine work coming out attitude. I unfolded among scientists and above all students a really successful advertising, for a long time before paging it me succeeded, socialist studentsto prove the biological impossibility marxism and bekehren it to the national socialism. On my many congress and lecture journeys I always and everywhere getrachtet with all power, the lies of the Jewish-international press over the alleged popularity Schuschniggs and overto advance toward the alleged rape of Austria by the national socialism with compelling proofs. The same I did to all foreign work guests on my research centre in old person mountain opposite. Finally I may probably say that my whole scientific life work, in the masterhistorical, rassenkundliche and socialpsychologicalQuestions in the foreground stand, in the service of National Socialist thinking stand! “ (quotes after: Taschwer/Föger 2003, S. 84-85)

From Lorenz' appointment documents it follows that he was „coworker of the race-political office with speech permission “. 1939/40 it besides several essays had written, their ideological proximity toracistic ideas of the LV regime it was in such a manner remarkable that they were felt already at that time of its professional colleagues as conscious siding and as „self endangerment as scientists “. Thus Lorenz in the magazine particularly consulted by teachers deplored „the biologist “:

„Whetherwe the fate of the dinosaurs divide, or whether we soar ourselves to a undreamt-of, our current brain organization perhaps not at all detectable high development, it is excluding a question of the biological striking power and the life will of our people. In the special one at present the large hangsDecision from the question, whether we determined, by the lack of a natural selection developing signs of decay at people and mankind in time to probably fight learn or not. Straight ones in this running over its or Nichtsein are we Germans all other culture peoplesaround thousand steps ahead. “ (quotes after: Bäumer 1990, S. 201)

A further publication of 1940 can be read still more clearly than scientific Unterfütterung of the racistic laws of the German Nazi government. In this discusses Lorenz and. A. the necessity for one „eliminating ethicalallyInferior “and forecasts:

„This selection malfunctions, fails eliminating the elements afflicted with losses, then these penetrate the people body in biologically completely similar way and from just as similar causes as the cells of a malicious tumefaction (...) should mutation-favouring itFactors give, then the most important task of the race male nurse would be appropriate at all for (...) in their recognizing and switching off. It should turn out against the fact that under the conditions of the Domestikation no amassment of mutations, but only the omission of the natural selection the enlargement takes placethe number of existing Mutanten and is to blame for the imbalance of the trunks, then the race care would have nevertheless to be on a still sharper eliminating ethicalally inferior mindful, than it is today already it. “ (S. quotes after Taschwer/Föger 2003. 91)

This word choice seized the Lorenz1973:

“The perishable growth of malicious tumors been based, like already suggested, whereupon that certain preventive measures are made ineffective to fail or by the tumor cells, by means of whose the body otherwise from the occurrence ‚more asozialer `cells protects itself. Only if these ofsurrounding fabrics as its-same to be treated and nourished, it can come to the deadly infiltrativen growth of the tumefaction. The analogy already discussed can be resumed here. Humans, that by being missing maturing social behavior standards in a infantilen conditionremains, becomes necessarily the parasite of the society. It expects as naturally the welfare service of the adults further to enjoy, who are entitled only to the child. (...) If the progressive Infantilisierung and increasing juvenile delinquency of the civilization human being actually, as I fear, on genetic signs of decayis based, then we are in heaviest danger. “ (Konrad Lorenz, the eight death sins of civilized mankind. Munich 1973, S. 64)

The US-American Wissenschaftshistorikerin Theodora Kalikow called 1980 Lorenz' ideological proximity to the LV regime „conscious Opportunismus “and their technical biologisierende basisthus described:

  1. He saw changes in the instinktiven behavior patterns of domestizierten animals as symptoms of the purge.
  2. It accepted a Homologie between domestizierten animals and civilized humans, D. h. it assumed it for the effects, of themSimilarity was accepted, similar causes to give had, and it continued to believe that the civilization is in a process ‚of the purge and fall `.
  3. Finally connected it the opinions mentioned with the racial policy and other courses of the Nazi program. (Kalikow 1980, S.189)

The conclusion derived from it from it, ill hereditary material must be selected for the preservation of an life-efficient civilization, formed up to its death the core of its biologically determined society understanding - recognizable and. A. to the fact that its 1943 published, extensive reason of theseOpinion still into the 1960er was designated years on the single volume back of its popular-scientific dtv books as “Hauptwerk”. Its membership in the NSDAP denied he with the naive reference, it never a membership card possessed and granted themselves if necessary, in itsEssays of the 1940er-Jahre „in us today with good reason hated language of the Nazi regime “to have expressed. In a discussion with the Viennese evening paper it stressed 1973 however at the same time the continuity of its fundamental convictions:„It went showing me around the fact that thoseincreasing Domestikation of humans its humanity threatens. This problem, which employs me also today still intensivst, forced itself upon me at that time for the first time. “ (after Taschwer/Föger 2003, S. 234) The increasing juvenile delinquency observed by him interpreted it in its book thoseeight death sins of civilized mankind as indications of a genetic purge (see quotation above). 1988 showed the Lorenz an obviously evolution-biologically motivated „sympathy for AIDS ":

“It is shown that ethical humans do not have so many children and the gangsters itselfcontinue to reproduce for an unlimited period and carelessly. “ and “… against population of over mankind undertook nothing reasonable. One could receive therefore a certain sympathy for AIDS. “ (Konrad Lorenz in a discussion on the occasion of its 85. Birthday, in: ” Nature “, No. 11, Munich 1988)

Also the US-American Wissenschaftshistorikerin Theodora Kalikow came to the conclusion that the fundamental ideological elements were transferred by the Lorenz unbroken into the post-war period: „Thus have that Ethologen, Soziobiologen and popular-scientific authors, itself the Lorenz `biologistic opinion of the societygemacht haben, auch – bewusst oder unbewusst – ihre totalitaristischen Implikationen akzeptiert, daß nämlich die erfolgreiche Gesellschaft genetisch und politisch manipuliert werden muß.“ (Kalikow 1980, S. 210)

the behavior-biological work

of grey geese belongs to the most well-known research objects ofKonrad Lorenz

Konrad Lorenz is considered today as one the joint founder of the biology of the behavior and as its most important Vorkriegstheoretiker. It bundled the animal observations of various researchers in an handy, physiological theory of the instinct movements into the 1930er-Jahren and cleared in such a way starting from 1937the way for behavior experiments as well as for comparing behaviors also between different kinds.

an innovative beginning in the behavior research

Konrad Lorenz set less on experiments, but on exact observation and description of the behavior ofAnimals in their natural surrounding field. “The fundamentally new beginning, which Lorenz with this theory in-carried into the behavior research, lies in the acceptance that itself into that variously and variable appearing complex expirations of behavior of the animals homogeneously developed basic modules of the behavior,the hereditary co-ordinations or instinct movements, to identify leave. (...) Contrary to at the beginning of the thirties opinion that animal behavior was purely reactive, stress the Lorenz the Spontaneität of animal behavior accepted still to a large extent, particularly the instinct movement. “(Zippelius 1992, S. 6)Lorenz saw the Urvater of the Ethologie in Oskar Heinroth, and in North America this role of William Morton Wheeler is attributed.

Furthermore Lorenz' meaning lies in it that he, more clearly than other researchers before it, in its scientific work the viewon two genetic characteristics steered: on innate trips for behaviors (“key attractions “and” innate release mechanisms “, AAM) as well as on a development phase provable with various animal species, in which an as it were irrevocable” coinage “is possible.

To the illustrationits fundamental conviction, the behavior of the animals particularly by internal instincts and less by outside trips one steer, developed Konrad Lorenz (against reflex theoreticians and against behavioristische opinions opposing) a descriptive and therefore decades long accepted psychohydraulisches instinct model: Instinct energies can according to this model - similarly as the water in a water line network - in certain courses spread, accumulate and overflow. Today this theory among behavior researchers is considered however as outdated and became and. A. replaced by soziobiologische, behavior-ecological and onthe computer engineering oriented models.

Lorenz' scientific meaning is however at least just as in it justified that he contributed completely substantially to it, behavior biology (it called the area until 1949 often also “animal psychology “) as independent Forschungsgebiet because of the German universitiesto establish and to move this field besides in public consciousness. For this above all its various carried, since 1949 published and also today still well readable animal stories, in which he tried - differently than most special book authors before it- to describe the behavior of the animals from their own in each case aspect, instead of describing their behavior from the point of view of humans. Its instinct theory of the behavior energized between 1935 and 1970 besides numerous scientists to research work, there this theoryan explanation model offered, which one could examine in empirical studies. Its in former times pupil Irish from Eibl Eibesfeldt became one a researcher in the area of the Humanethologie, usually-respected world-wide.

the theories from today's perspective

many interpretation attempts of behaviorsthe animals, which Konrad Lorenz published, today's scientific criteria do not withstand, and its instinct theory is used today by no serious behavior researcher more than working hypothesis. Already since center of the 1970er years moved away ever more researcher from Lorenz' instinct theory andincreasingly behavior-ecological and neurobiological questions it turned gave hardly offensive criticism at the Lorenz' work, one consulted them simply no longer than working hypothesis; Lorenz pupil Wolfgang rewinding stand discredited the instinct theory short hand as “modern Phlogiston “. Only 1992/93it came to a considerable public debate, as the Bonn Verhaltensforscherin Professor.Hanna Maria Zippelius various classical attitude studies repeated and here to the conclusion arrived that of a reliable experimental basis of the results of working of K. Lorenz (and also of Nikolaas Tinbergen)not to be spoken can. Some results of the studies of H. M. Zippelius (see below, secondary literature and link references) put thereby even the suspicion near that the Lorenz and Tinbergen published or omitted experimental data selectively, thus it to their theory “fit”.

Lorenz' Instinct theory of the behavior developed into the 1930er-Jahren on the basis relatively less and besides at the beginning of rather anekdotisch interesting animal observations. - Comparably with the theories victory mouth Freuds - from the beginning a broad empirical Unterfütterung was missing. Therefore the instinct theory becamefor an outstanding example of producing pseudo explanations within a science discipline: Like that for example the over jump movement in such a way specified is a direct consequence of the Lorenz basic assumption, in the conflict becomes generally accepted in each case the “stronger” from two instincts in the behavior, activated at the same time;since however the case of two is exactly equal strongly activated instincts conceivable, a kind compromise for this special case had to be added to the instinct theory - the “over jump movement” is thus rather a consequence of the theory as the result of empirical findings. Those very muchfew “empirical vouchers” were then said more exactly rapidly “discovered”, or: Certain observations were interpreted accordingly in the light of the theoretical acceptance.

  • Probably the most frequently aforementioned example are two cocks, which out-fight their chopping order, and one of them pickt suddenly upthe soil around, as if it would take up fodder. This Pickverhalten can be interpreted before the background of the instinct theory as a sign of a equivalent strong aggression and escape instinct, which causes Futterpicken as over jump movement. It can do however for example also - and very muchmore plausibly - than social signal are interpreted, which possibly indicates to the rival: look, I feel so strong that I can take up fodder in this precarious situation still.
  • Is similar from the Lorenz with a by hand drawn up starno-load operation action so mentioned “discovered a consequence of the statement that instinct energies are constantly produced by the body: Then however if an outside trip for the associated instinct movement is missing over longer time intervals, the theory forces as it were “in emptiness runs” the instinct movement - onestrange (because absolutely uneconomic and therefore undarwinistische) consequence of the theory, because even (in the literal sense in emptiness the running) a Pollution serve still the disposal of obsolete sperm cellses.

The Lorenz' instinct theory became generic term-oiled however not primarily due to suchscience-theoretical lack, but because the modern brain research could not find any physiological Korrelat to the subordinated instincts. Like its bio graphs K. Taschwer and B. Föger emphasize, came its research methods “in addition, from the mode, because they presupposed observations for many years -in the age publish or perish a thing of the impossibility. “

the literary work

Konrad Lorenz he became known his studies into the 1950er year far beyond the borders of its field of activity, as (and. A. at grey geese),packed into unterhaltsame and anecdote-rich animal stories, also for scientific laymen, even for children accessible made. For the 1960er years its admittingness rose by various engaged popular-scientific publications - and. A. “The so-called bad “(1963) and” thoseeight death sins of civilized mankind “(1973) - further on: with the consequence that he was noticed in the public increasingly as culture pessimist and a philosopher; these writings are coined/shaped by its deep conviction that also the behavior of humans very muchto a large extent by biological, masterhistorical defaults one determines. Konrad Lorenz was criticized again and again and violently, because it directly transferred frequently individual phenomena from the animal world to human ways of acting and at the same time human characteristics into analogy to individual phenomena from the animal realmset (“anthropomorphicism “). It was criticized also that by own experiments does not unterfüttert his numerous humananethologischen publications were.


  • Konrad Lorenz (1935): The Kumpan in the environment of the bird. in: Journal for Ornithologie 83 (2-3), S.137 - 215 and S. 289 - 413 (reproduction 1965 in: „Over animal and human behavior “Bd. 1).
  • Konrad Lorenz (1940): By Domestikation caused disturbances of species-characteristic behavior. in: Magazine for applied psychology and character customer 59 (1, 2), S. 2 –81.
  • Konrad Lorenz (1941): Kant's theory of Apriori biology present in the light. in: Sheets for German philosophy 15, S. 94 - 125
  • Konrad Lorenz (1943): The innate forms of possible experience. in: Magazine for animal psychology 5 (2), S. 235 –409.
  • Konrad Lorenz (1949): It talked with the cattle, the birds and the fish. (New edition of 1998 with dtv, Bd.20225, ISBN 3-423-20225-4)
  • Konrad Lorenz (1963): The so-called bad. To the natural history of the aggression. (New edition of 1998 with dtv: ISBN 3-423-33017-1)
  • Konrad Lorenz (1965): Over animal and human behavior. 2 volumes: Munich/Zurich: Piper
  • Konrad Lorenz (1973): The eight death sins of civilized mankind. (New edition as: Series of Piper, Bd.50. ISBN 3-492-20050-8)
  • Konrad Lorenz (1973): The backthe mirror. Attempt of a natural history of human recognizing. Munich/Zurich: Piper
  • Konrad Lorenz (1978): Comparative behavior research or bases of the Ethologie. Vienna/New York: Springer.
  • Konrad Lorenz (1983): The dismantling of the human one. Munich (Piper), ISBN 3-492-02833-0
  • KonradLorenz (1988): Here am I - where you are?Ethologie of the grey goose. Munich/Zurich: Piper.


Munich: 1988 (dtv), 205 S., ISBN 3-423-11044-9

  • Theodora J. Kalikow: The ethologische theory of Konrad Lorenz: Explanation and ideology, 1938 to 1943 in: Mehrtens, harsh ore/Judge, Steffen: Natural science technology and LV ideology, contributions for the science history of the third realm. Frankfurt A. M.: 1980 (Suhrkamp, stw volume 303) ISBN 3-518-07903-4
  • Hanna Maria Zippelius: The presumptuous theory. A critical argument with the instinct theory of Konrad Lorenz and verhaltenskundlicher research practice, Braunschweig: 1992 (Vieweg), 295 S., ISBN 3-528-06458-7
  • Änne Bäumer: LV biology, Stuttgart 1990: Scientific publishing house company ISBN 3-8047-1127-8
  • Ute dyke man: Biologist under Hitler - driving, careers out, research, Frankfurt/Main, New York: 1992, 370 S., ISBN 3-593-34763-6
  • Benedikt Föger, Klaus Taschwer: The other side of the mirror. Konrad Lorenz and the national socialism, Czernin publishing house 2001, ISBN 3707601242
  • Klaus Taschwer/Benedikt Föger: Konrad Lorenz. Biography, Vienna: 2003 (Zsolnay), 341 S., ISBN 3-552-05282-8
  • smelling pool of broadcasting corporations W. Burkhardt: Patterns OF Behavior: Konrad Lorenz,Niko Tinbergen, and the Foundation OF Ethology. University OF Chicago press, 2005, ISBN 0226080900 (PAPER baking version)
  • Norbert bishop: More cleverly than all the Laffen. A Psychogramm by Konrad Lorenz. Munich: Piper, 1993

Konrad Lorenz for listening to

  • KonradLorenz. Over the behavior of informal animals. Original clay/tone photographs 1951 - 1983. Given change by Klaus Sander. 2004: Publishing house Supposé. 2-CD-Set, 140 min., EUR 24,80, ISBN 3-932513-55-X

Konrad Lorenz speaks and. A. over “worth-philosophical aspects of the evolution”; over moral-similar behavior of informal animals; andwith Erich of get over developing animal behavior.

see also

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