Herbert Jennings

Herbert Jennings

American zoologist, one of the first researchers of the genetics of single-celled microorganisms. Foreign Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences
Date of Birth: 08.04.1868
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Herbert Jennings
  2. Contributions to the Field
  3. Legacy

Biography of Herbert Jennings

Herbert Jennings was an American zoologist and one of the early researchers in the field of genetics of single-celled microorganisms. He was also an honorary foreign member of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

Contributions to the Field

Jennings made significant contributions to the understanding of how organisms react to their environment. He conducted experiments on infusoria and criticized the theory of tropisms. Through his experiments, he established that organisms respond to environmental stimuli as a whole, and that their behavior is driven by their spontaneous activity. He argued that this behavior is systematic and can be explained as a result of the selection of movements that have proven to be successful in self-preservation. Jennings introduced the concept of organism's needs, its species-specific and individual experiences as mediating factors in determining behavior. His work played a crucial role in promoting an objective approach in zoopsychology and overcoming both mechanistic and vitalistic views on behavior determination.


Herbert Jennings' research and ideas have had a lasting impact on the field of genetics and zoopsychology. His methodological approach and emphasis on the systematic nature of behavior have influenced subsequent researchers in the field. His work laid the foundation for a more nuanced understanding of how organisms interact with their environment and provided a framework for studying behavior that takes into account both evolutionary and individual experiences. Herbert Jennings' contribution to the field of genetics and behavior continues to be recognized and appreciated by scientists today.