Appetite behavior

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Appetence behavior ( Latin: appetens, "striving for something", "eager for") is a technical term of the instinctive theory of classical comparative behavioral research (ethology) developed primarily by Konrad Lorenz and Nikolaas Tinbergen . It describes a “goal-oriented, oriented behavior”, which is interpreted by the observer as “actively striving for a triggering stimulus situation” (a key stimulus ) and “whose goal is the course of an end action .” In the simplest case, this component is interpreted as search and orientation behavior the instinctive behavior from a taxi , but often from a “relatively plastic sequence of different movements”, which is considered an active search for a certain key stimulus.


In his instinct theory, Konrad Lorenz assumed that the action-specific arousal for each instinctual movement increases continuously and can only be reduced by acting - by executing the respective instinctual movement. According to the theory, the “increase” in action-specific arousal for an instinctive movement manifests itself on the one hand in a lowering of its threshold value compared to the corresponding triggering situation: the animal reacts to increasingly unspecific triggers with the instinctive movement. On the other hand, "after a long period of non-use, not only does the threshold of the stimuli that trigger a certain type of movement drop, but rather the unused behavior causes the organism as a whole to restless and causes it to actively search for the stimulus combinations that trigger it." For this "search." ”Lorenz introduced the word appetite behavior into behavioral biology based on the term" appetitive behavior "coined by Wallace Craig in 1917 (translated roughly:" Desire behavior ") .

Appetence behavior and final act

In contrast to the individual instinctual movements that can be viewed in isolation ( synonym : hereditary coordination), appetite behavior denotes all behaviors that are necessary in order to activate the triggering situation for a certain instinctual movement, which is driven by inner action-specific excitation (sometimes there is also talk of action-specific energy) Find. “A lion who, for example, becomes 'thirsty' will look for a watering hole. All behaviors that are used in the search, such as running, climbing, jumping, are to be assigned to the appetite behavior, while drinking is to be seen as the desired hereditary coordination. "This" desired hereditary coordination ", after its implementation, reduces the arousal driving the appetite behavior is, is referred to in the context of instinct theory as the final act .

However, this final act only comes about when the behaviors attributable to appetite behavior are acted out in a coordinated manner in the form of reaction chains. In his textbook Comparative Behavioral Research. Konrad Lorenz writes the basics of ethology : "For the time being, we only know very few hereditary coordinations in which, after prolonged withdrawal of specific triggering stimulus situations, no appetite behavior searching for them could be demonstrated." From his point of view, almost every hereditary coordination is assigned a specific source of excitation and this in turn a specific appetite behavior, whereby it must be taken into account that the individual behaviors that can be assigned to the superordinate appetite behavior may in turn consist of several hereditary co-ordinations - an infinite regress , as it were , of which it would be feared that it would be highly susceptible to the superordinate instinctive behavior Against disturbances due to a lack of action-specific arousal of subordinate hereditary coordination: “An appetite behavior that is triggered, for example, by hunger, includes a different number of hereditary coordinations, depending on the species all those who serve to procure food. But only the behavior, the implementation of which leads to the appetite behavior no longer being shown, counts as the final act. In the case of the overriding drive of hunger, it would be the movements of swallowing the food that alone lead to a reduction in drive and should therefore be seen as an end act. "

Also sexual pleasure within the limits of instinct theory are interpreted as appetitive behavior. An involuntary decrease in sexual fantasy and sexual desire is called a sexual appetite disorder .


According to Konrad Lorenz's writings, instinctual movements, each with their own appetite behavior, are relatively complex behavioral units such as flying, swimming and running, but also the wing movements of titmice and the fin movements of a fish are interpreted as instinctive movements, "whereby it was never specified which unit was swimming or running is to be regarded as a hereditary coordination. ”In her analysis of the instinct theory published in 1992, Hanna-Maria Zippelius notes critically that the appetite behavior is“ set in motion by the drive energy of a hereditary coordination, but it does not use any drive energy itself ” Theoretical level is "purely intuitive" understandable, "since otherwise, with persistent appetite behavior, the drive energy could be used up before the goal of the appetite behavior, the triggering situation for the hereditary coordination, is reached." lemes who questioned the entire concept of drive energy, appetite behavior and end action: “In theory, nothing is said about how the appetite behavior can be driven by the specific energy of a hereditary coordination. If the appetite behavior is composed of one or more hereditary coordinations, then - in contrast to the hereditary coordinations in whose service they are employed - they consume neither their own instinctual energy nor that of the hereditary coordination through which they are driven. If one of these hereditary coordination is the goal of appetite, then it consumes instinctual energy. So there are two types of hereditary coordination, depending on which function is assigned to them by the observer. ”The theoretical concept of appetite and final action does not refer to delimitable behavioral units , but is“ only to be defined functionally ”, i.e. in relation to a certain level of observation. The impression arises "that one has been satisfied with purely phenomenological descriptions of these relationships without considering the consequences of such an arbitrary determination of which hereditary coordination has an effect on the drive and which not, within the framework of the theory."

Appetence Conflict

In motivational psychology and economic sociology , one speaks of an appetite conflict (also: appetite-appetite conflict ) when two subjectively approximately equally attractive options are available, but neither of which can be reached at the same time, so that a living being has to choose between them . In contrast to this, an aversion-aversion conflict is spoken of when the decision has to be made between two equally unattractive options. Furthermore, with an ambivalent object, there is an appetite-aversion conflict .

Web links

Wiktionary: Appetence  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Entry of appetite behavior in: Klaus Immelmann : Grzimeks Tierleben , supplementary volume on behavior research. Kindler Verlag, Zurich 1974, p. 622.
  2. a b Konrad Lorenz : Comparative behavior research. Basics of ethology. Springer, Vienna and New York 1978, p. 104, ISBN 978-3-7091-3098-8 .
  3. ^ Wallace Craig : Appetites and Aversions as Constituents of Instincts. In: PNAS . Volume 3, No. 12, 1917, pp. 685-688, doi: 10.1073 / pnas.3.12.685 .
  4. Hanna-Maria Zippelius : The measured theory. A critical examination of the instinct theory of Konrad Lorenz and behavioral research practice. Vieweg, Braunschweig 1992, p. 19, ISBN 3-528-06458-7 .
  5. Hanna-Maria Zippelius: The measured theory, pp. 19-20.
  6. Konrad Lorenz: Comparative Behavioral Research, p. 106.
  7. Hanna-Maria Zippelius: Die measured theory, p. 89.
  8. Hanna-Maria Zippelius: The measured theory, p. 90.
  9. Kurt Lewin : The psychological situation with wages and punishment. S. Hirzel, Leipzig 1931.