Over time, humans and animals get used to simple everyday things. At times, some things that were once new and exciting can suddenly become unexciting. Humans have a tendency of developing a decrease in response about things that once invited excitement because over time, the repeated exposure took their interest. Studying habituation has brought researchers from different backgrounds together, sharing mutual terminology, and uncovering like philosophies of learning. Therefore, this paper will discuss the concept of habituation, analyze the factors that affect perceptual learning, examine the effects of stimulus exposure, and the application of simple stimulus learning to at least two real life situations.
The Concept of Habituation
According to Terry (2009) chapter 2, habituation is when a person develops a decrease in response to a stimulus after repeated presentations also known as “the waning responsiveness” (p. 2). Terry (2009) stated “Habituation of orienting applies to neutral or innocuous stimuli, although defensive reactions to painful and noxious stimuli also show habituation” (Ch.2, p. 24). There may be several different reactions such as being startled, sense-receptor focusing, increased arousal, or a readiness for fight or flight. For example a ring tone or dog barking may primarily draw a person’s responsive, but after becoming accustomed to the noises, less attention is given and responses will vanish. This vanished response is called habituation. Habituation is another form of learning, which an individual or animal learns something about that stimuli. Often animals may demonstrate a fear about being around new people and home, but then becomes accustomed to the voices and environment. The animal starts to become comfortable by coming around everyone in the house or starts to walk around freely without fear. This means over time they have become accustomed to the environment and noises from repeated presentation. Terry (2009) stated “Learning is shown by less trial over time” (Ch. 2, P. 2). Factors that Affect Perceptual Learning
Goldstone (1998) stated, “Perceptual learning involves long-lasting changes to an organism’s perceptual system, improving its ability to respond to its environment” (p. 585). Being exposed to stimuli according to Terry (2009), can later affect learning about stimuli. For example, it may be easier for an individual to attach a familiar name to an unknown face (Ch. 2, p. 14). “There are numerous aspects that can have an effect on perceptual learning, which include presenting contrasting stimuli, transfer from easy to difficult stimuli, and attention and feedback. Perceptual learning involves identification of which dimensions are relevant for discrimination” (Terry, 2006). To differentiate one stimulus from another, it is imperative to offer both positive and negative features of a stimulus. In doing so, the subject (s) is able to select or acquire which stimulus is applicable. Moving from an easy to tough stimuli can sometimes encourage the subject to learning a difficult discrimination (Terry, 2006). The workplace, school, family, or environmental factors usually expose or encourage people to learning. Examining the Effects of Stimulus Exposure
At times, a subject may prefer familiar stimuli or learning can come with positive reinforcements playing a role in how quickly an individual learns. According to Terry (2006) “Exposure to a stimulus can lead to an effective or emotional change in the preference stimuli” (Terry, 2006). Abraham Maslow (1937) conducted a study in a laboratory setting, asking contributors to complete various task like copying sentences and reading a list of foreign names. He also used additional tasks to divert contributors from learning the real reason of the study. Later, contributors were asked their