Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Imprinting

Form of learning in which a bird or mammal at an early stage of development is exposed to key stimuli to which it forms a bond. Well known in birds, which imprint on a parent or parent-surrogate (including species other than their own); also seen in primates and demonstrated in deprivation experiments with rhesus monkeys in which cloth dolls were substituted for mothers. Imprinting also occurs at other stages of development, such as learning the calls of adults. Aka imprinting behavior.

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