The main difference between innate and learned behaviors is that the innate behaviors are the inherent behaviors that come from birth while the learned behaviors are those that are acquired or learned by interacting with society.
The behaviors of a certain organism are its responses to external stimuli. We can gain a clear understanding of someone’s behavior by a good observation of that person’s character and behavioral traits. Academia such as behaviorism, biology, and psychology classify human and animal behaviors mainly into two as innate and learned behaviors. Accordingly, both these behavioral types contribute directly to the construct and development of a person’s character and personality traits.
Key Areas Covered
1. What are Innate Behaviors
– Definition, Acquisition, Occurrence
2. What are Learned Behaviors
– Definition, Acquisition, Occurrence
3. What is the Relationship Between Innate and Learned Behaviors
– Outline of Association
4. What is the Difference Between Innate and Learned Behaviors
– Comparison of Key Differences
Behavior, Biology, Behaviorism, Innate Behavior, Instinctive Bbehavior, Learned Behavior, Psychology, Sociology
What are Innate Behaviors
Innate behaviors are those that a person brings with his/her birth. Hence, they are innate, inherent and inborn to that person. They have a direct relationship with that person’s or even animal’s genetics. Therefore, these behaviors come with our birth and are not learned by experience; they come naturally to us.
Innate Behaviors in Humans
In particular, innate behaviors are less common in highly intelligent species; therefore, humans being, the most intelligent of all species, show less innate behaviors in comparison to animal species.
Innate behaviors in humans can be identified as reflex actions or immediate responses to external stimuli. For instance, a newborn baby knows how to suck and is able to drink mother’s milk by sucking her breasts. Moreover, think of a character trait of someone such as twitching their lip when speaking which happens involuntarily; sometimes this behavior might be visible in some other member of his/her family as well.
Innate Behaviors in Animals
The animal world shows distinct examples of innate behavior. The way how the caterpillar makes the cocoon and the spider weaves its web are some visible examples from the animal world. Hence, innate behaviors help the species to survive and function well in the environment. Moreover, since these behaviors are carried out by the genes, they are constant and retained the same way in many generations.
Therefore, innate behaviors occur naturally whenever an organism of a species is exposed to an external stimulus. Unlike learned behaviors, innate behaviors are predictable and obvious. They are also known as instinctive behaviors.
What are Learned Behaviors
Learned behaviors, by definition, are the behaviors that are acquired from experience or by learning from someone who teaches those behaviors. Therefore, they are gained by the individual’s interaction with the outside environment.
Learned behaviors are mostly visible in highly intelligent species such as human beings. It is the learned behaviors in an individual that contribute to making him/her distinguishable from others. Therefore, learned behaviors are variables that depend on a person’s specific experience and knowledge.
For instance, the ethics and moral codes taught to a child by the parents and the school frame certain character traits in him/her. Moreover, his/her life experiences and the consequent life lessons and opinions he/she creates directly influence his/her behavior. Hence, this is known as learned behaviors in a person. Similarly, a person with growth will understand how to behave in a society, how to respect elders and interact with peers. These are examples of learned behaviors.
With consideration to the learned behaviors in the animal world, the training of a dog is an excellent example. Moreover, the way how animals learn about certain things through repeated actions or experiences show their learned behaviors. For example, when you start using the same rat trap to catch rats in the same spot in the same manner, in several days, you will notice that rats are not getting trapped like before. This is probably because of ‘habituation’ (simple learned behavior when an animal gradually stops responding to a repeated stimulus)
Relationship Between Innate and Learned Behaviors
- Both innate and learned behaviors amalgamate and form the personality and character traits of an individual or an animal.
- Also, innate and learned behaviors demonstrate an organism’s response to a stimulus.
- However, there are instances, especially in the animal world, where behaviors become a mix of the two, neither completely innate nor entirely learned.
Difference Between Innate and Learned Behaviors
Innate behaviors are the behaviors that are inherent and come with someone’s birth while learned behaviors are the behaviors that are acquired by experience or learned from the outside environment. Thus, this is the main difference between innate and learned behaviors.
Also, innate behaviors are the reflex actions or instincts of an organism when exposed to a stimulus while learned behaviors are learned or acquired traits or behaviors with knowledge.
Another difference between innate and learned behaviors is that the innate behaviors are more common in animals than in highly intelligent species such as humans.
Ability to Alter
Ability to alter behavior is another difference between innate and learned behaviors. Since innate behaviors are inherent and genetically related, they cannot be altered, and they occur the same way in the next generations. However, learned behaviors can be altered or changed since they happen with experience and acquisition/knowledge over time.
Innate behaviors contribute to the survival and the proper functioning of the organism as they are reflex actions while learned behaviors improve the behavioral traits in an organism and also contribute to distinguishing one from others. So, this is another difference between innate and learned behaviors.
Behaviors are simply the response of someone to a stimulus. Accordingly, there are two main types of behaviors among humans and animals as innate behaviors and learned behaviors. The main difference between innate and learned behaviors is that the innate behaviors are the inherent behaviors that come from birth while the learned behaviors are those that are acquired or learned by interacting with society. Therefore, innate behaviors are genetically related while learned behaviors are related to experience and interaction with the external environment.
1. “21167” (CC0) via Pixabay
2. “Caterpillar” By James Niland (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
3. “1456555” (CC0) via Pxhere
4. “Flickr – The U.S. Army – Training a military working dog” By The U.S. Army Pfc. Robert M. England/Army photographer/army (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia