Port's Instinct List
(April 9, 2000)

See Introduction to Possible Human Instincts.

Humans probably have an instinct to _____ .


1. eat and drink; seek food and water
2. seek sweet and fatty (nutritious) foods
3. avoid eating smelly or bitter things
4. be cautious about novel foods
5. seek better resources than presently available
6. seek neighborhoods that are green and flowery


7. be interested in girls or boys (usually of opposite sex)
8. seek sexual contact and excitement; "do the deed" - but in private and
not with your children or parents
9. love children and the cute (female more than male)
10. compete for resources (wealth, fame, etc.)
11. pair up; find longterm partners (female more than male)
12. compete for the best (and, for males, the most) partners (eg, show off, dress up)
13. be aggressive, use force to gain advantage (male more than female)


14. blink; flinch; flee
15. frown; snarl; attack for advantage (male more than female)
16. keep yourself alive; ensure your genetic survival
17. protect your own family
18. grades of importance: own children > spouse > siblings > clan, etc
19. obtain and defend resources: jobs, land, property,
hunting rights, sex partners, etc. (male more than female)


20. bond with your group, hangout with your family
21. try to reduce conflict within your group (female more than male)
22. compete for leadership in groups
23. imitate others: beliefs, knowledge and skills
24. be wary of and dislike `outsiders'
25. teach youngsters (female more than male)
26. smile; laugh; mope; frown; strut; cry
27. celebrate; share gifts (esp food); hug; grieve
28. display emotions: anger, happiness, disgust, sadness, fear, surprise


29. be curious about stuff, make sense of things
30. learn about your surroundings
31. play with toys (objects, pets, tools, machines, etc)
32. explore new places, find more efficient methods
33. be more adventurous - especially when young


34. learn new words and more effective speech (especially the young)
35. chitchat; commiserate; boast; scold; make jokes; entertain
36. organize others' behavior; lead your fellows (male more than female)
37. tell and listen to stories
38. make music, make artistic objects

RETURN TO Instincts Introduction Page

Robert Port
Copyright Indiana University