Habituation & moral apathy

Habituation is a form of non-associative learning in which an innate (non-reinforced) response to a stimulus decreases after repeated or prolonged presentations of that stimulus. Responses that habituate include those that involve the intact organism (e.g., full-body startle response) or those that involve only components of the organism (e.g., habituation of neurotransmitter release from in vitro Aplysia sensory neurons). The response-system learns to stop responding to a stimulus which is no longer biologically relevant. For example, organisms may habituate to repeated sudden loud noises when they learn these have no consequences. Habituation usually refers to a reduction in innate behaviours, rather than behaviours acquired during conditioning (in which case the process is termed “extinction”). A progressive decline of a behavior in a habituation procedure may also reflect nonspecific effects such as fatigue, which must be ruled out when the interest is in habituation as a learning process.

Further References

Dong, S., & Clayton, D. F.. (2009). Habituation in songbirds. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 92(2), 183–188.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2008.09.009
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Coppola, G., Pierelli, F., & Schoenen, J.. (2009). Habituation and migraine. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 92(2), 249–259.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2008.07.006
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Schöner, G., & Thelen, E.. (2006). Using dynamic field theory to rethink infant habituation.. Psychological Review, 113(2), 273–299.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1037/0033-295X.113.2.273
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LEUSSIS, M., & BOLIVAR, V.. (2006). Habituation in rodents: A review of behavior, neurobiology, and genetics. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 30(7), 1045–1064.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2006.03.006
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Thompson, R. F.. (2009). Habituation: A history. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 92(2), 127–134.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2008.07.011
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Groves, P. M., & Thompson, R. F.. (1970). Habituation: A dual-process theory.. Psychological Review, 77(5), 419–450.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1037/h0029810
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Thompson, R. F., & Spencer, W. A.. (1966). Habituation: A model phenomenon for the study of neuronal substrates of behavior. Psychological Review

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1037/h0022681
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Rankin, C. H., Abrams, T., Barry, R. J., Bhatnagar, S., Clayton, D. F., Colombo, J., … Thompson, R. F.. (2009). Habituation revisited: An updated and revised description of the behavioral characteristics of habituation. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 92(2), 135–138.

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2008.09.012
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