The process by which there is a decrease in behavioral response (orienting response) to a stimulus that is repeatedly presented over time. Habituation occurs in most animal species from simple invertebrates to humans. Habituation typically involves an attenuation of autonomic and motor response, as well as underlying neural processes that support these responses. As habituation occurs to a novel stimulus, there is typically a shift of attention away from that stimulus to other potentially more relevant stimuli.
Habituation was first conceptualized in the context of biological theories of adaptation and evolution of the nineteenth century. Behaviors that are rewarding to an animal and increase its survivability will be repeated and eventually formed habits of varying strengths. This reflects acclimation, which is adaptive as it enables animals to respond to a changing environment. The concept of habituation was formalized in the classical conditioning...
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