Stimulus generalization

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In behavioral research, stimulus generalization is the reaction of an animal or person to a stimulus , which occurs in exactly the same way as the previously learned reaction to another, similar stimulus.

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov described it as follows in 1927:

“If the tactile irritation of a certain skin area has been made a conditional stimulus , then a corresponding irritation of other skin areas will also trigger the conditional reaction to a certain extent, the extent of which decreases the further away the irritation occurs from the original skin area. "

Another example is known from experiments with pigeons: if they were taught to show a certain reaction to a tone of 1000 Hz, they show the same reaction to a tone of 300 Hz.

The opposite of stimulus generalization is stimulus discrimination .

See also


  • Iwan Petrowitsch Pawlow: Conditioned reflexes: an investigation of the physiological activity of the cerebral cortex. Oxford University Press, London 1927.