Human instincts are the innate characteristics that determine specific behaviors while instincts are innate abilities of human beings or animals, which enable them to adapt to diverse and changing environmental conditions for survival purposes. Human beings or animals respond to unique environments depending on the instincts that direct them.
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For example, when a baby is born, the instinctive responses are crying and sucking, which enable the baby to attract attention of the mother and satisfy hunger respectively. In animals, young ones of birds display instinctive behavior of flying without prior experience. These instinctive behaviors emanate from innate characteristics. Since instincts are innate and specific to certain characteristic behaviors, not all of them are random and arbitrary.
Although environment modifies some instinctive behaviors, others emanate exclusively from the innate characteristics. According to nativists, “all aspects of human behavior are instinctive and humans have inbuilt instinctive behaviors that are genetically determined … we are born with certain core capabilities and knowledge that provide the basic the basic structure of learning” (Spink 2).
Genes are responsible for the specific instincts that are unique to human beings or animals. Within species, instincts are similar due to the similarity of genetic information.
On the other hand, species’ variability of instincts occurs due to the diversity of genetic information. Since instincts are innate and specific to certain characteristics, they can never be random and arbitrary because the genetic information dictates them. The genetic makeup defines specific instincts relative to their application in nature.
Human beings portray instinctive behaviors that are not arbitrary. For instance, all babies have instinctive behavior of suckling in order to satisfy their hunger. Spink argues that, “babies engage in sucking behavior that generally emerges unprompted, although some babies have problems with sucking, it is an innate or instinctive behavior” (1).
This shows that sucking is a natural instinct, not arbitrary, because all babies have the innate ability of doing it. If the ability of the babies to breastfeed were a random instinct, then, some babies would be unable to breastfeed while others would learn in order to breastfeed properly. Therefore, the ability of babies to breastfeed instinctively and in a uniform manner means that instincts are specific rather than random in controlling human behaviors.
Language development in human beings is instinctive because children can develop it without learning. An information behavior is an instinctive process of language development.
According to Spink, “…it is a cognitive process that is not taught, but is innate to humans as people are able to consciously understand that they need to undertake behavior processes of information finding, organizing, and using to make sense of their environment (2). Therefore, language development can never be an arbitrary process since human beings use rational and logical minds to understand their environment and to generate information.
Animals also depict that, instincts link intricately with the innate characteristic behaviors. For example, all birds have instinctive ability to fly due to innate characteristics of their genes. A young bird begins to fly when wings’ muscles mature while the instincts drive the bird to fly. If the instincts were random and arbitrary, some birds would not be flying while others would have unique abilities such as walking instead of flying. Therefore, not all instincts are random and arbitrary because they are innate and specific in their functions.
Spink, Amanda. “Instinct Versus Environment.” Springer Journal of information Behavior 11.85. (2010): 1-10.