Mark Blumberg's Basic Instinct: The Genesis Of Behavior

1501 words - 7 pages

Mark Blumberg, a neuroscientist wrote a book titled Basic Instinct: The Genesis of Behavior which revolves around the topic of animal and human behaviors. An instinct is an innate behavior as mentioned several times in the book which simply means that an animal or human is born with a certain behavior or it occurs naturally.
An example of an instinct given in the very beginning of the book is “a panicked mother rushes into oncoming traffic to save her wandering child” (p. xi). Along with this example, there were other examples of instincts mentioned in the introduction. The instinct I stated here about a mother and her child shows that the mother does not think about anything such as her life being at risk during the process of saving her child, it comes naturally for a mother to protect her child from the dangers of the oncoming traffic. This reminds me of my mother’s personal experience regarding my brother, in which my brother, being young child was playing outside and yes he was supervised by grandparents and older siblings. So my brother happened to be in front of someone’s driveway and someone was reversing their car out of that driveway, my mother was inside the house when she noticed this, so she had broken through the glass storm door because she had to quickly get out of the house. She ran to pick up my brother and in the process she was injured from hitting the glass storm door, she had many cuts on her arm but it did not matter to her as her child was now safe from what could have been a huge disaster. This idea of not thinking and just reacting to rescue your child in need is considered an instinct.
The book starts with Blumberg’s personal experiences with his dogs and moves onto several examples from other famous people such as Charles Darwin and then he concludes with a short description about his dogs. This book was simple to follow and easy to read but was boring at times so it felt like I was reading crap. But, there still were some interesting topics that caught my attention. One interesting example used was about twins and their behavioral similarities and another interesting example was when he mentioned infants imitating what they see adults do. Also Blumberg did incorporate scientific ideas into this book which are concepts that I was able to relate to from previous biology courses, such as ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm which are primary tissue layers and are developed through the activation of different genes (p. 54). It was also interesting when he referenced Superman to talk about control because it was something I would not have connected, relating movie entertainment to the scientific field. This book did make me wonder about instinct in the sense of are behaviors already learned or do we develop them gradually so I did have thoughts going through my head while reading this book that related to the topic. I also thought about how I did not give much importance to this topic before and probably would not have...

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