Nonassociative Learning is the Repeated Exposure to a Stimulus Essay

Nonassociative Learning is the Repeated Exposure to a Stimulus Essay

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Nonassociative learning refers to a change in the magnitude of a response following the repeated exposure to a particular stimulus. More often than not, nonassociative learning is divided into three forms: habituation, dishabituation, and sensitization and explained through a dual process view in which one process yields habituation to a stimulus, and yet another, separate, process causes both dishabituation and sensitization. Emilie A. Marcus, Thomas G. Nolen, Catharine H. Rankin, and Thomas J. Carew (1988) challenged this perspective by suggesting that dishabituation and sensitization, as well as inhibition, can stand independent and be dissociated in adult and juvenile Aplysia.
According to Marcus et al. (1988), habituation and sensitization are behaviorally dissociated in three ways: the time of their onset, stimulus requirements, and their developmental timetables. To test this experimenters used two different series of experiments. In each of the experiments the magnitude of reflex responsiveness following tail stimuli was the dependent variable being measured. The first series of experiments tested dishabituation in adult aplysia by producing habituation of a stimulus, then administering a stimulus to the tail varying in intensity from a mild, tactile stimulus to a variety of electrical shocks. The manipulation of the time between habituation series and the next stimuli was the independent variable in this experiment. The various stimuli were administered at three different times following habituation: 90 seconds, 10 minutes, and 20 minutes. To analyze the time of onset of dishabituation, experimenters utilized two different conditions: dishabituation in which the Aplysia received tail stimulation following habituation to ...


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...tion cause sensitization. In this study, the use of background noise would possibly cause more arousal within the Aplysia’s limbic system and possibly cause dishabituation where there was no dishabituation before. By introducing these other experiments there is opportunity to further disprove or prove the hypotheses previously put forth and founded in this experiment.
Currently, behavioral results fail to definitively distinguish between the variety of explanations for the dissociation of dishabituation and sensitization; however, there has been more in depth research into the cellular mechanisms working in dishabituation, sensitization, and inhibition. As research continues it is important that researchers control for the degree to which the underlying mechanisms and processes account for the dissociation and/or association experimenters have previously found.



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