Blog / What is laziness?

12 Dec 2016

Some words about saving energy, the adaptive values and features of food production animals.

Laziness is "turning away from labor, from case studies; inclination to idleness and parasitism." Quite rightly, it is considered as a drawback, vice or even a mortal sin. Psychology distinguishes several types of laziness (from a lack of motivation from the weakness of the will, and so on. D.). In terms of biology, laziness - it's over-implementation of the principle of energy conservation. All living organisms seek to optimize the ratio of vital resources received and expended for this energy that is trying to get more by spending less. This law is not just a speculative conclusion, and the conclusion drawn on the basis of measurements.

Calculation of energy consumption have been actively used in the study of animal behavior from around the 1970s. to determine the adaptive value of a particular form of behavior. Definition of adaptive values or, in other words, the adaptive value of a particular form of behavior is one of the four objectives in the study of behavior, formulated the famous ethologist Nicholas Tinbergen. The most obvious principle of minimization of energy expenditure as a result of the analysis of food-procuring behavior. But it is observed in the complex animal behavior: foraging runs the risk of predator attack, direct competition from other individuals of the same species, the risk of parasite attacks, reproductive behavior.

Of course, the ratio of compensation and the effort is not always possible to accurately calculate and make an unambiguous conclusion about the adaptive value of a particular form of behavior. For example, some of the rats (usually a beta-individual, that is ranked second, but not the last step in the hierarchy) for a long time exploring the new object placed in the cage. Alpha individuals, making sure that the unknown object is not dangerous and has no nutritional value, ignore it. A similar difference in the research activity of alpha and beta species has recently been shown for the birds - finches Gould. This rule does not deny the principle of energy conservation. Individuals researchers, spending energy on useless study of the subject, engaged in long-term investment, because the living conditions are subject to change, and useless thing can now buy biological significance. Therefore, the community is helpful to have in their composition such "wasteful" individuals.

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Thus, to save power (ie the energy expended to meet certain requirements) biologically justified, as well as biologically necessary to produce energy (ie eat). To live, to eat. But if the man lives to eat, it's bad, maladaptive. As is the case with waste of energy obtained. Energy saving is necessary, but when such savings becomes the dominant motivation, then it is laziness, lack of.