A4  Innate and Learned Behaviour

big ninja

Essential Idea:

Behavioural patterns can

be inherited or learned


  • Innate behaviour is inherited from parents and so develops independently of the environment
  • Autonomic and involuntary responses are referred to as reflexes
  • Reflex arcs comprise the neurons that mediate reflexes
  • Reflex conditioning involves forming new associations
  • Learned behaviour develops as a result of experience
  • Imprinting is learning occurring at a particular life stage and is independent of the consequences of behaviour
  • Operant conditioning is a form of learning that consists of trial and error experiences
  • Learning is the acquisition of skill or knowledge
  • Memory is the process of encoding, storing and accessing information


  • Withdrawal reflex of the hand from a painful stimulus
  • Pavlov’s experiments into reflex conditioning in dogs
  • The role of inheritance and learning in the development of birdsong


  • Analysis of data from invertebrate behaviour experiments in terms of the effect on chances of survival and reproduction
  • Drawing and labelling a diagram of a reflex arc for a pain withdrawal reflex