Behavioral rigidity in the face of rapid anthropogenic changes Academic Article uri icon


  • For well over a century, biologists and psychologists have been arguing about the origins of behavior. Is behavior fixed and innate? Is it only determined by the genetic composition of the individual or is it flexible and shaped by the individual's environment? This heated argument, also known as the “nature versus nurture” debate, is yet unsettled (Ridley 2003), although the common consensus (at least among biologists, Bolhuis 2013) is that the dichotomy between innate and learned behaviors is false and that the development of behavior is a complex process involving continual interactions between the characteristics of an individual and its environment (Lehrman 1953). The relevant aspect of this debate for our purposes is that some behaviors are mostly fixed, and do not change, regardless of the environment the individual is in, compared to other behaviors that are much more plastic …

publication date

  • April 30, 2016