Birney, Robert Charles, and Richard C. Teevan. Instinct: An Enduring Problem in Psychology. Princeton, N.J.: Van Nostrand, 1961. A collection of readings intended for college students. Contains fourteen articles, ranging from William James's 1887 discussion of instinct to Frank Beach's 1955 "The Descent of Instinct," in which Beach traces the idea of instinct from the time of the ancient Greeks up to the 1950's and concludes that "the instinct concept has survived in almost complete absence of empirical validation."
Breland, Keller, and Marian Breland. "The Misbehavior of Organisms." American Psychologist 16 (November, 1961): 681-684. In the process of training performing animals, the Brelands were forced to contend with inherited behaviors of their pupils. This article alerted a generation of psychologists to the possibility that instinct had been inappropriately eliminated from their thinking. The writing is clear and amusing, and the article should be fairly easy to locate; most college and university libraries will have the journal.
Cofer, Charles Norval, and M. H. Appley. Motivation: Theory and Research. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1964. Long regarded as a classic on the topic of motivation, this book includes (in chapter 2, "Motivation in Historical Perspective") thirty-two pages of material that traces instinct through the centuries. Chapter 3, "The Concept of Instinct: Ethological Position," discusses ways the once discredited concept was returning to psychology in the early 1960's.
Hilgard, Ernest Ropiequet. Psychology in America: A Historical Survey. San Diego, Calif.: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987. The material Hilgard covers is often complex, but his clear organization and writing make it accessible to most readers. Material related to instinct in several chapters (for example, those on motivation, comparative psychology, and social psychology) can help a reader gain further background on instinct's place in psychology.
Mead, Margaret. And Keep Your Powder Dry: An Anthropologist Looks at America. 1942. Reprint. New York: Berghahn Books, 2000. The classic by Mead on Western contemporary cultures.
Watson, John Broadus. Behaviorism. 1924. Reprint. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 1998. The fifth chapter of Watson's popular presentation of the new psychology he was sponsoring ("Are There Any Human Instincts?") nicely illustrates how behaviorism handled instinct. This chapter contains Watson's famous declaration, "Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select " Watson's writing is still charming, but his position is today mainly a curiosity.
Weiten, Wayne. Psychology: Themes and Variations. 6th ed. Belmont, Calif.: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2004. Introductory psychology texts all have some coverage of instinct's return to psychology and, more important, describe how several other concepts have been introduced to deal with topics with which instinct was once inappropriately linked. Weiten's text is one of the best: easy and interesting to read, yet strong in its coverage of scientific psychology.
Harry A. Tiemann, Jr.
See also: Aggression; Behaviorism; Conditioning; Drives; Imprinting; Learning;
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