Adaptation (Psychology)

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  • A learning process through which an organism's (sensory) responsiveness to a stable, unchanging stimulus decreases over time. In particular, habituation, as a special form of adaptation, occurs when sensitivity to sight, sound, smell, taste, or touch decreases over time after repeatedly encountering an unchanging stimulus. In contrast, sensitization is characterized by exaggerated responses to unexpected, potentially threatening stimuli. Adaptation occurs—to some degree—to all kinds of stimuli and in all kinds of animals. For more information, see Pinel (2005).

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