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Originally discovered by Douglas Spalding during the 19th century, it refers to a phase-sensitive learning period, during which an individual learns the characteristics of a stimulus object. Imprinting is often used in the context of filial imprinting, which refers to the process by which the young learn about the characteristics of their parents. Konrad Lorenz experimented with filial imprinting, infamously resulting in geese imprinting on his gumboots. For more information, see Spalding (1872).

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