TERM DATABASE

Neural Adaptation

Last update: September 17, 2022
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By BrainMatters

If a stimulus is offered often, the sensory system will exhibit neural adaptation. That is, neurons in that sensory system become less and less active. For example, neurons in the auditory system respond less and less when you hear the same sound repeatedly. After a while (seconds to minutes) of not perceiving the same stimulus, this neural response recovers.

Adaptation is a convenient mechanism evolutionarily, because it makes us less sensitive to things in our environment that remain constant. However, if something changes in our environment we will notice it immediately.

Author: Michelle Moerel (translated by Melanie Smekal)

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