Habituation and Extinction


Associations between identifiable environmental stimuli and observable measurable behaviors

Principal Metaphors

  • Knowledge is … repertoire of behaviors
  • Knowing is … behaving (triggered by stimuli)
  • Learner is … an organism-in-context
  • Learning is … changes in behavior (linking stimuli to responses)
  • Teaching is … training; engineering behavior (through deliberate conditioning)




Habituation and Extinction occur when a learner gradually decreases its responses (or stops responding) to a stimulus. Habituation refers to reductions in innate behaviors (e.g., no longer being startled by a loud noise), and Extinction refers to reductions in learned behaviors (e.g., no longer rolling a ball into a hole).

Authors and/or Prominent Influences

See Behaviorisms.

Status as a Theory of Learning

Habituation and Extinction are two forms of learning that are studied within Behaviorisms.

Status as a Theory of Teaching

See Behaviorisms.

Status as a Scientific Theory

See Behaviorisms.

Map Location

Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2019). “Habituation and Extinction” in Discourses on Learning in Education. https://learningdiscourses.com.

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