Born: 7 November 1903, Vienna, Austria
Died: 27 February 1989, Vienna, Austria
Affiliation at the time of the award: Konrad-Lorenz-Institut der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Forschungsstelle für Ethologie, Altenberg; Grünau im Almtal, Austria
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning organization and elicitation of individual and social behaviour patterns."
Prize share: 1/3
Some animal and human patterns of behavior are innate. Examples of such behavioral patterns in animals can be seen in how they convey information to one another, how they behave when mating and how they care for their young. Karl von Frisch, Konrad Lorenz and Nikolaas Tinbergen made pioneering contributions within ethnology by studying animal behavior. Among other things, Konrad Lorenz revealed in the 1930s that birds hatched in an incubator without the presence of their parents follow whatever they first catch sight of. For example, they can become fixated on a person.