Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Sensitization

  • Androulla Ioannou
  • Xenia Anastassiou-Hadjicharalambous
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1032-1

Synonyms

Definition

The increase in responsiveness due to a strong, usually painful stimulus.

Introduction

Sensitization is a non-associative learning process that leads to increased responsiveness to a stimulus and is considered complementary to habituation. The increase in responsiveness or behavior is due to the exposure of a strong, most commonly noxious, stimulus that is causing pain. It is therefore logical to infer that sensitization’s adaptive value is high, as it protects an organism from predators and other potential dangers Eisenstein, Eisenstein, Smith (2001).

Theoretical Background

The most prominent non-associative learning theory was composed by Groves and Thompson (1970). Neurophysiological concepts were combined with concerns of human ethology and evolution to create the “dual process” theory. The dual process theory was the one which took into consideration both sensitization and habituation. This theory advocated that repeated stimulation would produce...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Androulla Ioannou
    • 1
  • Xenia Anastassiou-Hadjicharalambous
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NicosiaNicosiaCyprus

Section editors and affiliations

  • Menelaos Apostolou
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NicosiaNicosiaCyprus