Reflexes and Fixed Action Patterns

The elicited behaviors, such as the different types of reflexes and fixed action patterns are something that was in interest to me when I was reading the beginning of chapter 2 in the textbook. According to the textbook the word elicit is “to draw out or bring forth.” Examples of an elicit behavior can be the usual “norm” reflexes we have such as coughing, sneezing, covering our ears when a loud noise is presented, etc. Reflex defined in the book is the relatively automatic response one has towards a stimulus. For example, when one goes to a checkup at the doctors, when the doctor tapes the person’s knee, the person gives a result in a knee jerk reaction. Another example is when there is a gust of wind or air blowing into a person’s face, their reflex is to close their eyes or rapidly blink. Other reflexes such as, startle response, orienting response and flexion response can all be of use for survival. Reflex arc is the use of a sensory neuron and motor neuron. For example, if one steps on a nail they are to remove their foot from the source of pain automatically.

These reflexes and fixed actions of pattern are not something we necessarily adapt to, but we are prone to them in our everyday lives. With reflexes we do not think about them it is just an automatic response that does not phase or jeopardize ones daily routine. Also, people may have different reflexes to different things or situations, such as being scared for example. I know some people, if they get scare, jump in their spot, scream, cry or some even have the tendency to be physical and use harm to protect them from whatever scared them. So even though everyone has reflexes and fixed action patterns, they can all be expressed in different ways.

Powell, R. A., Symbaluk, D. G., & Honey, P. L. (2009). Introduction to learning and behavior. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning


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