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Habituation Definition

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The habituation paradigm is an experimental designed specifically for infants due to their inability to verbally communicate. The concept of the paradigm is simple: a stimulus is presented to the infant(s) either for a long duration of time or multiple times over a predetermined interval. When the stimulus is initially presented and it is novel, the infants attend to it. However, as they become familiar with it, their interest wanes. Once they have become familiarized with the stimulus, a new one is presented and the reactions of the infants are measured. According to a meta-analysis done on visual habituation and dishabituation in preterm infants by Kavšek (2010), the expectation is that interest in the original stimulus will decline but the new, novel stimulus should regain their attention providing it does not fit into the mental representation the infants would have constructed. In the meta-analysis,…show more content…
Ages ranged from four and a half months up to nine months. The SFM was projected onto a surface which rotated until the point of habituation. The infants were then presented with familiar and novel SFM displays as well as random motion displays (RM). It was their belief that if the infants were able to perceive the three-dimensional forms of the habituated stimulus, even the presence of the novel stimulus would not be sufficient to draw their attention. According to Hirshkowitz and Wilcox, this was indeed the outcome of their research. The habituation paradigm allows researchers to explore otherwise unanswerable questions using common-sense tactics. It is the nature of children that they will attend to what interests them and ignore what does not. This paradigm affords us the capacity to peer into the mind of an infant to determine how he perceives the world around him as he
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