Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Opponent Process

  • Leah Irish
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_821


Opponent process is a general theoretical model applied to several psychophysiological concepts, whereby a conditioned response is followed by its opposite, and this opponent process becomes stronger and more efficient with repeated exposure.


Opponent process is a general theoretical model that has been applied to a number of psychological experiences and their underlying neurological processes. It was initially proposed as a theory of color vision (Hurvich & Jameson, 1957), but was later modified by Solomon and colleagues (1973, 1974, 1980) to apply to emotion and motivation. In a basic opponent process model, a stimulus elicits an unconditioned response referred to as “a process.” After a latency, a “b process” is activated, which opposes the a process and reduces its intensity. Over repeated exposures, the strength of the a process does not change, but the bprocess becomes stronger and more efficient with a reduced latency period. The theory suggests that it...

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatrySchool of Medicine, University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA