According to ethologists, a number of the instinctive patterns of behavior in animals are molded by the species' evolution. Ethologists therefore study behavior from an evolutionary perspective. They observe behavioral phenomenon in nature like Konrad Lorenz's famous imprinting experiment and try to connect their findings to similar human developmental phenomenon. They have related phenomenon like imprinting, found in nature but not in human newborns, to newborn preferences for things that they experienced in the womb (sounds, smells, etc.) helping them recognize and form emotional attachments to their mother- often their primary caregiver.

Another insight brought to us through the ethological perspective is the evolutionary implication behind children's preferences in play. As ethologists describe it, boys' preference in toys that allow action play (balls, cars) parallels their traditional evolutionary gender role, just as girls' preference in toys that allow nurturant play (dolls) parallels theirs. Critics are not convinced of these evolutionary insights, arguing that their research is inconclusive as far as causation and that ethological theory fails to paint the "whole story".

*All information on this page was derived from source number 2 found on reference page.*