Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 3–20 | Cite as

A framework for the study of filial imprinting and the development of attachment

  • H. S. van Kampen


Filial imprinting is the process through which early attachment behavior becomes restricted to the mother and siblings. In the present paper it will be shown that the processes underlying imprinting in chicks (Gallus gallus) can be fruitfully analyzed by referring to the same mechanisms as are generally assumed to play a role in perceptual and associative learning. This can be achieved within a framework formulated to study the development of behavior in general. This offers the opportunity to apply the same general framework to the study of filial imprinting and the further development of attachment. The involvement of perceptual and associative processes in imprinting is discussed in some detail, while the broader implications of the present approach are indicated only briefly.


Unconditioned Stimulus Physiological Psychology Central Mechanism Filial System Associative Learning 


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Zoological LaboratoryUniversity of GroningenHarenThe Netherlands

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