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.
Dong, S., & Clayton, D. F.. (2009). Habituation in songbirds. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 92(2), 183–188.
“Much of what psychologists know about infant perception and cognition is based on habituation, but the process itself is still poorly understood. here the authors offer a dynamic field model of infant visual habituation, which simulates the known features of habituation, including familiarity and novelty effects, stimulus intensity effects, and age and individual differences. the model is based on a general class of dynamic (time-based) models that integrate environmental input in varying metric dimensions to reach a single decision. here the authors provide simulated visual input of varying strengths, distances, and durations to 2 coupled and interacting fields. the 1st represents the activation that drives ‘looking,’ and the 2nd, the inhibition that leads to ‘looking away,’ or habituation. by varying the parameters of the field, the authors simulate the time course of habituation trials and show how these dynamics can lead to different depths of habituation, which then determine how the system dishabituates. the authors use the model to simulate a set of influential experiments by r. baillargeon (1986, 1987a, 1987b) using the well-known ‘drawbridge’ paradigm. the dynamic field model provides a coherent explanation without invoking infant object knowledge. the authors show that small changes in model parameters can lead to qualitatively different outcomes. because in typical infant cognition experiments, critical parameters are unknown, effects attributed to conceptual knowledge may be explained by the dynamics of habituation.”
LEUSSIS, M., & BOLIVAR, V.. (2006). Habituation in rodents: A review of behavior, neurobiology, and genetics. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 30(7), 1045–1064.
“Experimental studies, or at least observations of phenomena of habituation for a variety of responses in a wide range of organisms from amoebas to humans literally exploded at the end of the nine- teenth century and early twentieth century. see harris (1943) and jennings (1906). i was unable to determine who first used the term habituation in this context, but it was in widespread use early in the twentieth century. in his classic text on learning, humphrey (1933) notes that a range of terms, ‘‘acclimatization”, ‘‘accommo- dation”, ‘‘negative adaptation”, ‘‘fatigue” have been used to de- scribe the phenomenon. harris (1943) in his classic review adds the terms ‘‘extinction” and ‘‘stimulatory inactivation” to the list.”
Groves, P. M., & Thompson, R. F.. (1970). Habituation: A dual-process theory.. Psychological Review, 77(5), 419–450.
“Presented a dual-process theory of response plasticity to repeated stimulation. 2 hypothetical processes, 1 decremental (habituation) and 1 incremental (sensitization), are assumed to develop independently in the cns and interact to yield the final behavioral outcome. behavioral experiments are presented, using both the hindlimb flexion reflex of acute spinal cat and the acoustic startle response of intact rat, which are consistent with this theory. neurophysiological experiments indicate that the 2 processes have separate and distinct neuronal substrates. the dual-process theory and other current theories of response habituation are evaluated in terms of these and other recent findings. (6 p. ref.)”
Thompson, R. F., & Spencer, W. A.. (1966). Habituation: A model phenomenon for the study of neuronal substrates of behavior. Psychological Review
“The recent habituation literature is reviewed with emphasis on neuro- physiological studies. the hindlimb flexion reflex of the acute spinal cat is used as a model system for analysis of the neuronal mechanisms involved in habituation and sensitization (i.e., dishabituation). ha- bituation of this response is demonstrated to follow the same 9 parametric relations for stimulus and training variables characteristic of behavioral response habituation in the intact organism. habituation and sensitization appear to be central neural processes and probably do not involve presynaptic or postsynaptic inhibition. it is suggested that they may result from the interaction of neural processes resembling ‘polysynaptic low-frequency depression,’ and ‘facilitatory afterdis- charge.’ ‘membrane desensitization’ may play a role in long-lasting habituation.”
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.