Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Naturalistic Stimuli

  • Hakan Çetinkaya
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_2019-1



Naturalistic stimuli are cues that reliably precede biologically significant events (e.g., an unconditioned stimulus, US) that animals have encountered recurrently in their evolutionary histories. Thus, a natural precursor of a US is regarded as a naturalistic stimulus given its inherent relationship with the US.


From the traditional associative perspective, conditioned responses should develop regardless of the preexisting relations between the conditioned stimulus (CS) and unconditioned stimulus (US). Accordingly, any stimulus could be paired with any US as effectively as any other stimulus to produce conditioned responding. This view calls forth the idea that prior to conditioning the CS, by definition, is “neutral” and therefore the CS is arbitrary with respect to its potential to elicit a CR after being paired with a US. As Pavlov once...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Faculty of Languages, History and GeographyAnkara UniversityAnkaraTurkey

Section editors and affiliations

  • Mark A. Krause
    • 1
  1. 1.Southern Oregon UniversityAshlandUSA