The essential point of the definition, from our point of view, is that an instinctive movement is in dependent of prior experience.
We may say that an "instinctive" movement is a vital movement performed by an animal the first time that it finds itself in a novel situation; or, more correctly, one which it would perform if the situation were novel.
On the other hand, a movement is "learnt," or embodies a "habit," if it is due to previous experience of similar situations, and is not what it would be if the animal had had no such experience.
Then the successful movement always occurs during the animal's attempts, whereas each of the others, on the average, occurs in only half the attempts.
No one would have guessed a priori that this movement of a middle-aged man's body would cause fish to come out of the sea into his larder, but experience shows that it does, and the middle-aged man therefore continues to go to the City, just as the cat in the cage continues to lift the latch when it has once found it.
The result is that the caterpillar is paralyzed, but not immediately killed, the advantage of this being that the larva cannot be injured by any movement of the caterpillar, upon which the egg is deposited, and is provided with fresh meat when the time comes.
Accordingly, if we begin our study of psychology by external observation, we must not begin by assuming such things as desires and beliefs, but only such things as external observation can reveal, which will be characteristics of the movements and physiological processes of animals.
At a distance of less than thirty yards was my friend, down upon one knee, his head thrown back at a frightful angle, hatless, his long hair in disorder and his whole body in violent movement from side to side, backward and forward.
All sounds had ceased, but with a feeling of such terror as even these awful events had not inspired I now saw again the mysterious movement of the wild oats, prolonging itself from the trampled area about the prostrate man toward the edge of a wood.
Just as in a clock, the result of the complicated motion of innumerable wheels and pulleys is merely a slow and regular movement of the hands which show the time, so the result of all the complicated human activities of 160,000 Russians and French- all their passions, desires, remorse, humiliations, sufferings, outbursts of pride, fear, and enthusiasm- was only the loss of the battle of Austerlitz, the so-called battle of the three Emperors- that is to say, a slow movement of the hand on the dial of human history.
And Prince Dolgorukov rapidly but indistinctly explained Weyrother's plan of a flanking movement.