Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Program

Term that has entered behavioral biology via analogy with computers. Some behavior is genetically determined and is referred to as hard-wired (corresponding to computer hardware), other behavior is the result of experience and it is referred to as soft-wired (corresponding to computer software). In any species there is a mix of hard- and soft- wired behavior; however, some species have predominantly one or the other and are referred to as hard-wired species (such as primitive vertebrates) or soft-wired species (such as mammals).

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