They are constantly modified by other instincts and

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Unformatted text preview: ed of the organs and tissues.[1] [1] Kempf in his book on the vegetative nervous system goes into great detail the way the visceral needs force the animal or human to satisfy them. Life is a sort of war between the vegetative and the central nervous system. There is just enough truth in this point of view to make it very entertaining. Even in the low forms of life instincts are not perfect at the start, or perfect in details, and almost every member of a species will show individuality in dealing with an obstacle to an instinctive action. In other words, though there is instinct and this furnishes the basis for action in the lowest forms of life, there is also the capacity for learning by experience,--and this is Intelligence. "The basis of instinct is heredity and we can impute an action to pure instinct only if it is hereditary. The other class of actions are those devised by the individual animal for himself on the basis of his own experience and these are called generally intelligent. Of intelligence operating within the sphere of instinct there is ample evidence. There are modifications of instinctive action directly traceable to experience which cannot be explained by the interaction of purely hereditary tendencies and there are cases in which the whole structure of the instinct is profoundly modified by the experience of the individual." Hobhouse, whom I quote, goes on to give many examples of instinctive action modified by experience and intelligence in the insect and lower animal world. What I wish especially to point out is that man has many instinctive bases for conduct, but instincts as such are not often seen in pure form in man. They are constantly modified by other instincts and through them runs the influence of intelligence. The function of intelligence is to control instincts, to choose ways and means for the fulfillment of instincts that are blocked, etc. Moreover, the effects of teachings, ethics, social organization and tradition, operating through the social instincts, are to repress, inhibit and whip into conformity every mode of instinctive...
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.

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