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December 1930

Ueber den Instinkt

Author Affiliations

By L. R. Müller. Price, 1.20 marks. Pp. 27. Munich: J. F. Lehmanns, 1929.

Arch NeurPsych. 1930;24(6):1304. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1930.02220180201026

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By way of his studies on the vegetative nervous system the author has come to a consideration of instinctive behavior. In this booklet he gives a survey of his views on instincts in general. Instinctive acts are executed as if the individual had foreknowledge of future events. Müller opposes the idea that instincts have something to do with the cerebral nervous system. They are not "inherited habitual acts" or "mechanical volitional acts," nor are they due to the "inherited modification of the brain" of which Darwin spoke. Insects, like ants, bees or spiders, have very few ganglion cells. Their minute cerebral nervous system, therefore, cannot be the seat of their manifold instinctive reactions. Instincts develop with the general bodily development; they are closely intertwined with reflexes, from which they sometimes cannot be separated. The basis of instinct is the need to use a given organ. Instinctive acts on the one