How Does Behavior Develop?

  • P. P. G. Bateson
Part of the Perspectives in Ethology book series (PEIE, volume 3)


The developmental origins of behavior are undoubtedly multiple and variegated in action. It is essential to formulate theories of how the major sources of variation in behavior interact to generate observed outcomes. General principles will doubtless grow out of specific instances. I argue that the most likely way in which they will do so is if competing explanations for particular phenomena are explicitly set in opposition to each other. In order to illustrate how this might happen, I consider a variety of different explanations for apparent discontinuities in behavioral development—phenomena that are exciting considerable interest at the moment. Some of the explanations simply point to deficiencies of method; some suggest that after a loss of the original rank order on a particular measure, that order is recovered; and some suggest ways in which a change in rank order becomes permanent.


Rank Order Behavior Pattern Growth Spurt Behavioral Development Object Permanence 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. P. G. Bateson
    • 1
  1. 1.Sub-Department of Animal BehaviourUniversity of CambridgeMadingley, CambridgeEngland, UK

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