Notebook, 1993-



Way of acting fixed through repetition . . . .. Settled tendency or usual manner and feelings . . . . An acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary . . . .

[From Coon, Introduction to Psychology, Exploration and Application.]
Adaptation decreases the actual number of sensory messages sent to the brain. When messages do reach the brain, the body makes a sort of "What is it?" reaction known as the orientation response (OR). An OR is characterized by enlarged pupils, brain wave changes, a short pause in breathing, increased blood flow to the head, and turning toward the stimulus (Dember & Warm, 1979). Have you ever seen someone do a double take? If so, you have observed an orientation response.

At first a new album holds your attention all the way through. But when the album becomes "old," a whole side may play without your really attending to it. When a stimulus is repeated without change, the OR habituates, or decreases.

[Coon, Dennis. Introduction to Psychology, Exploration and Application. St. Paul: West Publishing Company, 1989. Chapter: Perceiving]

R  E  F  E  R  E  N  C  E  S 
Habit n [ME, fr. OF, fr. L habitus condition, character, fr. habére to have, hold -more at Give] [13c] 1 archaic: Clothing 2a: a costume characteristic of a calling, rank, or function [a nun's __] b: a costume worn for horseback rirding 3: manner of conducting oneself: Bearing 4: bodily appearance or makeup [a man of fleshy __] 5: the prevailing disposition or character of a person's thoughts and feelings: mental makeup 6: a settled tendency or usual manner and feelings: mental makeup 6: a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior 7a: a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance b: an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary c: Addiction 8: characteristic mode of growth or occurrence [a grass similar to Indian corn in __] 9 of a crystal: characteristic assemblage of forms at crystallization leading to a usual appearance -syn Habit, Practice, Usuage, Custom, Wont mean a way of acting fixed through repetition. Habit implies a doing unconsciously and often compulsively [had a habit of tapping his fingers]. Practice suggests an act or method followed with regularity and usu. through choice [our practice is to honor all major credit cards]. Usage suggests a customary action so generally followed that it has become a social norm [western-style dress is now common usage in international business]. Custom applies to a practice or usage so steadily associated with an individual or group as to have almost the force of unwritten law [the custom of wearing black at funerals]. Wont usu. applies to an habitual manner, method, or practice of an in dividual or group [as was her wont, she slept until noon].

Habituation n [15c] 1: the process of habituating: the state of being habituated 2a: tolerance to the effects of a drug acquired through conctinued use b: psychological dependence on a drug after a period of use -compare Addiction 3: decrease in responsiveness upon repeated exposure to a stimulus

[Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition. Springfield, MA, USA: Merriam-Webster, Inc. 1995.]



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