Imprinting - This is a specific form of education, instant subcortical training. From eng. "Imprinting" - "imprinting" is a psycho-physiological mechanism, when the image is firmly fixed and formed in a certain, critical period, is almost completely automatic, not reversible and does not require any primary or further positive reinforcement. The objects are usually the parent individuals, siblings, food objects, natural enemies. In the animal environment serves as a survival mechanism. Some images, including natural enemies, actions are not innate, genetically inherited and the mechanism of imprinting provides instant learning or recognition.

A well-known example of iprinting is the perception by goslings of the first moving object seen after hatching as a mother, due to the fact that geese do not have innate recognition of their own, for example, by smell, therefore capturing the first object assumes this function. At the same time, goslings do not distinguish living objects and artificial models, the only required characteristic is motion. The critical moment of perception - imprint vulnerability (in the case of goslings, immediately after birth) and the required characteristic, which may be the only (in the example - movement) ensure the appearance of imprinting. However, all other characteristics and the situation do not matter, i.e. goslings will succumb to the mechanism both in captivity and in the field, for example.

There is a theory that suggests that there is a congenital sealing mechanism that responds to a stimulus specific to a given species. There is also the concept of "genomic imprinting" - a variant of the inheritance of genes, when DNA - the basic structure of a gene - does not change.

Imprinting in Psychology

Imprinting is a concept in psychology that is derived from zoopsychology and ethology; it was introduced by K. Lorentz, who wished to better understand human behavior by studying the behavior of the fauna. And if in animals imprinting is necessary for survival, it has acquired a broader meaning in humans. Sometimes it is assumed that this mechanism of learning is possible only in the early period after birth, but this opinion is associated with a significant predominance of observations of the young animals, which become independent relatively faster than the newborn person.

In addition to the mechanisms of survival, imprinting in psychology is a mechanism for mastering images, a scenario of behavior, an algorithm of reasoning perceived in a certain critical period of development. During these periods of the so-called imprint vulnerability or imprint desensitization, the personality is in a state where images associated with a certain pattern of behavior are perceived by a larger measure unconsciously.

Although imprinting is the most studied immediately after birth and at about one year of age, it is assumed that it can occur during the continuation of almost the entire life, mainly during the period of maturation and development, including as a result of psycho-traumatic situations. Since in humans, social adaptation is also strongly linked to the success of survival, as well as physiological, then in humans, behavioral imprintings are allowed to occur without a clear limitation by the conditions of age.

Human imprinting has a more complex nature. This may be due to classical age-related crises, changes in the social environment and status due to relocation, enrollment in educational institutions, the beginning and change of work. The younger the organism and the newer the situation for it, the greater the chance of the emergence of psychological imprinting. The more stressful the better is the subcortical learning and it is almost impossible to analyze and change them independently.

Imprinting in humans is a way of gaining experience, occupying an intermediate position between unconditioned reflexes, as an example of completely unconscious and learning, based on conscious memorization.

Since human imprinting occurs partially, and in some periods completely, unconsciously, a person often cannot determine and remember the moment of its occurrence, because the subsequent reproduction of the gained experience occurs automatically, later on, a personal or socially acceptable explanation will be applied to the automatic behavior. If the mechanism has worked according to a socially unacceptable pattern, an attempt to mechanically limit its behavior to a long positive result, as a rule, does not bring and requires the work of a specialist who, focusing on the knowledge of the critical periods of a person, helps to find psychological imprinting. Also, without knowing and not noticing the work of the unconscious, a person can, focusing on artificial models, prevent it from occurring correctly, which can have long-term negative consequences.

Imprinting - Human Examples

At what stage is neuropsychic activity sufficient for the possibility of the emergence of imprinting - a question related to the general knowledge about consciousness in humans. Modern research is largely focused on perinatal psychology and so far the imprinting associated with the first critical periods after birth has been studied. According to Freud, birth is a traumatic process, sometimes they talk about birth as a kind of catharsis (according to Aristotle, this is a tragedy that causes anger and fear, leads to a splash of emotion and purification of the soul). This definition is included in the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Medical Terms, the study aims to clarify the situation and the objects of imprinting in humans.

Imprinting in psychology, what is it? Imprinting in personality psychology is a way to form socially important patterns of behavior, in addition to the natural patterns of behavior, which presupposes the presence of the following types characteristic of man.

Oral - primary, because breast milk is the only source of food for the newborn, which means survival. The sense of security that is provided with the contact is associated by the mother's embrace with the required sense of protection.

Associated with the development of the surrounding territory or territorially-emotional imprinting explains why a person seeks to determine his space, which is expressed in the choice of a favorite place to play in childhood and execute documents of private property in adulthood.

Verbal view, possibly, provides a response to human speech, highlighting it from other surrounding noises and sounds, thus stimulating the actualization and development of speech, as a specific way of people communication. The mechanism of imprinting also forms a pattern of behavior characteristic of a particular sex, called sexual identification.

Thus, knowledge of the importance of the formation of a connection between mother and child, and primary imprinting, were arguments for creating modern WHO guidelines for clinical protocols for newborn care (updated in Ukraine by order No. 438 of 2015), where one of the mandatory points is not to separate the mother and first two hours after birth if there are no medical contraindications.

They talk about the possible child's inheritance of food habits, which the mother followed during pregnancy.

Speaking about the impact on the choice of sexual partner, there are two opposing theories. The anthropologist E. Westemark pointed out a certain desensitizing effect that arises in heterosexual individuals brought up together in the early years of life and leads, as a rule, to the absence of mutual intimate attraction. The opposite version was voiced by D. Mainardi, who suggested that it was the early imprinting of parents and siblings that ensured the development of intraspecific sexual attraction. Z. Freud believed that biological representatives of one family feel intimate attraction, which leads to imprinting for further choice of sexual partner, focusing on closely related behaviors and external signs, this is precisely why society imposes a taboo on incest, and at this stage the psychoanalytic society adheres to this concept .

Intimate capturing of inanimate objects is allowed as a possible explanation of fetishism.

Philosophical dictionaries additionally define imprinting as an individual’s ability to accept a new idea, an element of cultural content from the reference group, on a rational and emotional level.