Coinage one calls coinage

( behavior) in behavior biology an irreversible form of learning: While a usually relatively short, genetically specified time period (sensitive phase) attractions of the environment become in such a manner durably taken up to the Verhaltensrepertoir that they appear as innate later. In the context of the instinct theory the phenomenon becomesCoinage interpreted as the appropriation of a key attraction by learning.

The English word for coinage (“imprinting “) is used today in the genetics also in completely different connection.

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] characteristics of

  • coinage procedures learning by coinage, without reward or punishment plays a role. Learn throughCoinage differs therefore fundamentally from a learning form like a learning by trial and error.
  • Coinage is characterized by the fact that it can take place only in a certain time interval, which is called therefore sensitive life phase. Coinage is thus not recoverable. At which age thisPhase is provable and like for a long time it lasts, can depending upon animal species be very different.
  • Coinage is irrevocable, by it the learning particularly fast and effectively is learned and on lifetime to keep; at least the trips acquired by coinage (“key attractions “) are preferred in the long term.
  • Learned by coinage always only closely limited contents, thus for example a certain reaction to a certain object of the environment or a certain, clearly behavior definable against other behaviors.
  • Coinage can take place in one time interval, in which the coined/shaped behavior yet are not carried outcan.
  • Effected fast and is very effective.

variants of coinage learning

gives in principle two coinage forms: During the object coinage the animal is coined/shaped on a certain object, approximately on a kind comrade. With the motor coinage the animal certain movement successions (“actions”) is suitable on,zum Beispiel bei manchen Vogelarten den Gesang. To differentiate leave themselves furthermore and. A. Follow-up coinage, sexual coinage, local coinage (biotope coinage) and food coinage.

follow-up coinage

most well-known is special the follow-up coinage in such a way specified, with geese. The Küken of the geese must learn after slipping only,who their nut/mother is, they have thus no innate appearance of the nut/mother. They approach in the first hours after slipping rather first prefer all objects in their environment on, which and give regularly sound expressions of itself move. After few minutes stayin their proximity the Küken almost unconditionally follows them. In natural environment is that animal, which bred the eggs and from the nest keeps all strange individuals away - thus the nut/mother. In the experiment with Küken, which isolates in the incubator also from all noises, one slipped could coin/shape the young test animals however into minute-fast also on a football or on a wooden box.

Oskar Heinroth described this “lightning-like learning procedure” (Katharina Heinroth, 1988) 1911 with the words, the observer develops the conception that the Küken slipping in an incubator“one really with the intention regard of stamping around itself the picture exactly”. Later, into the 1930er years, the phenomenon coinage was described in detail particularly by Konrad Lorenz, defined exactly and analyzed in numerous attempts. Admits became it along and. A. as a “father thatGrey geese ": Lorenz ensured repeated for the fact that only he was after slipping Küken into their direct proximity. This had the consequence that the Küken on the Lorenz was coined/shaped and it followed, where also always he ran. Equally impressive as unterhaltsame photographs madethis variant of the coinage to one of most well-known circumstances of the classical comparative behavior research.

sexual coinage

as sexual coinage one designates a form of the appropriation of knowledge of adequate Sexualpartner in the behavior research. A characteristic of the sexual coinage is that it besidestill by the fact it notices to the two outstanding features (sensitive phase and irreversibility) that there is a very large distance between the time of the coinage on the object and the execution of the associated behaviors: The sensitive phase is throughout already final, before the animal becomes sex ripe.

Zebrafinken for exampletoward end of the first life monthly sexually, but only weeks are already coined/shaped later sex-ripely. If Zebrafinken are drawn up for example by Japanese Möwchen (Lonchura striata), then they show later a clear preference for animals of the kind, which had them “adopted” with the Balz. Outfurthermore scientific instructional films are well-known on house chickens coined/shaped ducks.

Bochumer researchers reported in the year 2000 of a study at Java bronze male, in whose process the adults of animals received a red vertex feather/spring as artificial decoration. The descendants preferred later for its part clearly kind comrades drawn up by themwith red decoration feather/spring. The male descendants of ungeschmückter parents leaned however decorated females off and balzten significantly more frequently plain females.

Gänseküken, which were coined/shaped in the sense of a follow-up coinage on humans or on other objects, showed however later with the partner choice throughout the natural preferencefor kind comrades. A sexual coinage had thus not taken place at them . Also studies at other birds drawn up in the laboratory showed that the individuals of many kinds of bird can react also without relevant Vorerfahrungen with kind comrades to these spontaneously.

The meaning sexual coinage for recognizingKind comrades one estimates due to the quite non-uniform findings with different animal species the researchers very differently. One discusses and. A. that the sexual coinage in many cases serves rather the relationship recognizing in such a way as recognizing the own kind and contributes for the avoidance of in-breeding.

coinage on the own new generation

coinage on the own new generation with some animal species one proved, which live in larger social groups, so that the direct contact can be lost from dam and new generation occasionally, easily and frequently.

Briefly after the birth belecktfor example a goat nut/mother intensively their young and is according to experiments approx. one hour long particularly ready for input for the individual smell of the young animal. In this sensitive phase a fünfminütiger contact of the goat nut/mother is sufficient for me possibly a young animal, in order to bear this later at the Gesäuge. Comes insuch contact after the birth not, all young animals are repelled briefly and prevented from drinking.

In comparable way sea gulls learn the individual calls of their Nestlinge after slipping.

local coinage

as local coinage becomes irreversible learning of certain characteristics of a certainPlace interpreted. By conversion experiments it was proven and. A. with salmon, which obviously learn the specific taste of waters by coinage, in which they spent their first life weeks.


researchers a durable understand food coinage under food coinage, after the appearance irreversible preferencecertain food after unique benefit. In the sense of an as it were negative coinage a such phenomenon is well-known also from humans: Already the unique meal of a spoiled meal with following vomiting and other one indisposition leads frequently to the fact that one before this meal also in clearly fresh conditiona hardly surmountable disgust feeling develops, which persists perhaps for many years.

“the more near one a term looks at, the furthermore looks he back. ”

One lent as Konrad Lorenz 1973 “the Nobelpreis for physiology or medicine”, particularly placed one in the official reason its earnings/servicesaround the study of the coinage out. That was at least strange if not even thoughtlessly, because Lorenz had itself already 1935 in its outstanding early work “the Kumpan in the environment of the bird” expressly on important pre-working of Oskar Heinroth referred and, its word choice quoted abovetaking up, the term “coinage” coined/shaped - a real scientific discovery had certainly not achieved the Lorenz regarding the phenomenon coinage however.

Although even his Mrs. Katherina Heinroth (1988) and many different in the German linguistic area to it the discovery of the phenomenon attributed: Also Oskar Heinroth had onescientific predecessor, the Britisher Douglas Alexander Spalding born in London (approx. 1840-1877), which described this special Lernmethode in February 1873 scientifically correctly, but in Macmillan's magazines nevertheless rather hides and without deepening experiments to accomplish. Nevertheless this publication became 1890 of William Jamesin its “Principles OF Psychology” (Chapter XXIV, Instinct, The law OF inhibition OF instincts by habits) quotes in detail and very in a well-meaning manner, and applies for Spalding therefore in the English linguistic area occasionally as the “actual” discoverers of the coinage. Broader circles became the studies Spaldings however only after 1954admits, when John Burdon Sanderson Haldane presented it again again.

That again is even comprehensible from British view hardly, because the historical trace of the alleged scientific Erstbeschreibungen hands at least back until Utopia, thus in early 16. Century. With Thomas Morus is called itliterally over those agriculturally Utopier transact: “They draw poultry up in infinite quantity, with the help of an amazing mechanism: The hens breed the eggs not out, separate one suspend a large number of eggs of an even warmth, aroused so the lifeand the Küken draws up. As soon as these slipped out of the bowl, they run here behind humans as behind the Glucke and regard them as these. “to reread (and. A. in: “The utopian state”. 1960: Reinbek, S. 50)

It may be that onewith still more thorough search at the end with the old Romans, Greeks and Egyptians it lands because the knowledge that ducks are special occasionally unreliable breeders and one puts underneath their clutches of eggs then best a hen, in order not to lose it, might be nearly so old howanimal breeding.

see also:


  • Heinroth, Oskar: Contributions for biology, in particular Ethologie and psychology of the Anatiden. in: Reports V. Int. Ornithologen of congress Berlin 1910, S. 559 FF.
  • Lorenz, Konrad: The Kumpan in the environment of the Journal for Ornithologie 83 (2-3), 137-215 and 289-413
  • Heinroth, Katharina: Katharina Heinroth. in: The circle around Konrad Lorenz. Ideas, hypotheses, opinions. Anniversary publication on the occasion of 85. Birthday by Konrad Lorenz to 7.11.1988. 1988: Berlin/Hamburg (publishing house Paul Parey) ISBN 3-489-63336-9

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