Inherent behavior is behavior that an organism is born with and does not have to learn through experience. Inherent or hard wired
behavior may be a side-effect of prenatal and neonatal development processes. It may also be a side-effect of adaptation processes. The phrase encompasses reflexes, involuntary motions, and instinctive behaviors.
Some examples of inherent behavior include affinity to food triggered by hunger and scent (alimentary
), breathing, hunting activities, and many of the behaviors associated with procreation, among others. There are also many inherent behaviors associated with avoidance, such as the pulling away from noxious scents, or blinking when a puff of air hits the cornea.
Responses of an organism caused by inherent behaviors are called unconditioned responses
. The stimulation that triggers inherent behavior is called unconditioned stimulus
Inherent vs Intrinsic
The term intrinsic
behavior is sometimes used (informally) as a loose synonym for inherent behavior. The word intrinsic
generally means behaviors or characteristics which are an essential part of the thing to which it is being applied, and can be applied to non-biological things. For example, the C programming language includes intrinsic
data-types, such as integers. The word inherent
differs, in that it generally applies to behaviors and characteristic that are inherited
by a biological organism from its parents and ancestors.