instincts


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instincts

Complex, unlearned, inherited fixed action patterns or stereotyped behaviour shown by all members of a species. Instinctive responses are essential for survival and the physical basis for these patterns is ‘hard-wired’ into the brain. Much of social activity consists in the complex interplay of instinctive responses and education.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005
References in classic literature ?
Several cases also, could be given, of occasional and strange habits in certain species, which might, if advantageous to the species, give rise, through natural selection, to quite new instincts. But I am well aware that these general statements, without facts given in detail, can produce but a feeble effect on the reader's mind.
We may say that an "instinctive" movement is a vital movement performed by an animal the first time that it finds itself in a novel situation; or, more correctly, one which it would perform if the situation were novel.* The instincts of an animal are different at different periods of its growth, and this fact may cause changes of behaviour which are not due to learning.
"You see," he said sadly, " you have no instincts."
Every instinct of his nature would have impelled him to dash wildly away, had there not suddenly and for the first time arisen in him another and counter instinct.
He neither plays games nor has he the instinct for them.
But how strange it was that the creative instinct should seize upon this dull stockbroker, to his own ruin, perhaps, and to the misfortune of such as were dependent on him; and yet no stranger than the way in which the spirit of God has seized men, powerful and rich, pursuing them with stubborn vigilance till at last, conquered, they have abandoned the joy of the world and the love of women for the painful austerities of the cloister.
There is nothing strange in this, any more than there is anything strange in an instinct. An instinct is merely a habit that is stamped into the stuff of our heredity, that is all.
Tennyson was too sincere to evade the issue, and after years of inner struggle he arrived at a positive faith in the central principles of Christianity, broadly interpreted, though it was avowedly a faith based on instinct and emotional need rather than on unassailable reasoning.
"My perfected friend," he said, "my parental instinct recognises in you a noble evidence and illustration of the theory of development.
"Sir, my instinct told me that those people were assembled there for some bad purpose; and I was reflecting on what my instinct had told me, in the darkest corner of the stable, when a man wrapped in a cloak and followed by two other men, came in."
It is only an instinct on my part, and no doubt the instinct is wrong.
Maggie had returned without a trousseau , without a husband,--in that degraded and outcast condition to which error is well known to lead; and the world's wife, with that fine instinct which is given her for the preservation of Society, saw at once that Miss Tulliver's conduct had been of the most aggravated kind.