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Habituation in Infant Cognition

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Synonyms

Infant familiarization

Definition

Habituation refers to the gradual decrease in responsiveness due to repeated presentations of the same stimulus. Habituation is commonly used as a tool to demonstrate the cognitive abilities of infants and young children.

Theoretical Background

Historically, work by Robert Fantz in the 1950s and 1960s has been credited with sparking interest in the habituation methodology for use in examining infant perception and cognition. Fantz (1964) simultaneously presented two visual stimuli to infants, one of which was new or novel on each trial, and one of which remained unchanged. The amount of time infants looked to each stimulus on each trial was measured. Fantz reported that, over the course of ten successive trials, infants displayed progressively less visual fixation to the unchanging (familiar) stimulus and longer fixation to the novel stimulus, indicating that infants had habituated (although this specific term is not used by Fantz) to the...

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_401
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References

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Correspondence to Christine D. Tsang .

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© 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

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Tsang, C.D. (2012). Habituation in Infant Cognition. In: Seel, N.M. (eds) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_401

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