Tuesday, June 11, 2024

What Is Sensitization In Psychology

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The Impact Of A Stimulus Decreases With Its Distance From The Body

What is Sensitization?

Only a small number of model paradigms for Pavlovian conditioning endured the test of time in vertebrate and invertebrate species. The limiting factor is the scarcity of stimuli that can function as a US. In all paradigms that yield reliable conditioning, the US is a proximal stimulus that comes into direct contact with the body. For example, in appetitive conditioning paradigms, food is the most frequently used US which supports conditioned approach or discrimination via its gustatory or nutritive properties. In aversive conditioning, the US is most often a pain inflicting stimulus that is delivered via the tactile domain. In contrast, the CS’s consist of distal inputs from the visual, auditory, or olfactory domains. Distal stimuli are conspicuously ineffective as US’s even after they have acquired the potential to support conditioned responding through higher-order conditioning . In fact, there does not exist a robust model paradigm which utilizes a distal stimulus as the US, and a proximal stimulus as the CS. The more proximal nature of the US relative to the CS is true even for paradigms where the CS and the US are first encountered through the same sensory modality. For example, in taste preference conditioning, the gustatory stimulus is the CS, and the nutritive value of food which requires further digestive processing, is the US . Similarly, digestion-related malaise functions as the US in conditioned taste aversion .

Sensitization Literally Means Making People Sensitive About An Issue This Is The Core Of Awareness Raising And Is What You Ideally Want To Achieve That People Become Aware And React To Certain Issues

What are the different strategies to sensitize people around you?

  • Improving knowledge: This means that you want to inform people about an issue and make sure that they have the correct information to truly understand the issue. You want your target audience to think critically about the issue and actively process information.

  • Changing attitudes: This means that you want to change peoples behaviour or attitudes towards the issue. You need to explain to them how new behaviours and attitudes will have an impact and maybe even change cultural norms and beliefs.

  • Focus on skills: Make sure people have the skills to go with their changed behaviour and attitudes.

  • Building social support: People you are sensitizing should know where they can get support, or give support, to other people facing the same issue.

What is community sensitization?

Here are some tips to put the information you read above into practice

  • Sensitize through interaction and discussion

  • Sensitize by challenging myths and correcting misconceptions

  • Sensitize with convincing arguments

  • Sensitize through skills building activities, such as role play or other capacity building trainings

  • Sensitize through encouraging your audience to build a social support network

Try one of these sensitizing strategies with one of your friends to see how it works!

The Anterior Cingulate Cortex

The ACG is responsible for detecting incongruences between expectation and perceived experience . Altered connectivity of the anterior cingulate cortex in depression, therefore, may cause altered emotions following certain experiences, leading to depressive reactions . This altered connectivity is mediated by IL-6 and its effect on epigenetic regulation of BDNF .

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Appetitive Olfactory Conditioning As A Model To Study Cross

In an appetitive olfactory conditioning paradigm, a group of flies are first exposed to an odor, CS+, which is simultaneously presented with sucrose, US. In alternating trials, they are also exposed to another odor, CS, which is not accompanied by an appetitive US. During the test phase, the flies are simultaneously presented with CS+ and CS in the absence of a US, where they choose to approach CS+ following successful conditioning. Notice that the training protocol equates the two olfactory stimuli, CS+ and CS, with respect to habituation while differentiating them in terms of the sucrose-driven sensitization that follows .

Notice that the hierarchical modulation of olfactory representations in downstream multi-modal association areas confers flexibility and context-dependence to conditioned responding . Being driven both by the internal and proximal environment of the animal, DA neurons modulate the processing of distal stimuli to confer context-dependent salience to a selected subset , endure the impact of previously inconspicuous distal stimuli by associating them with significant proximal events , and mediate the selection of a general action plan vis a vis distal stimuli .

The Fight And Flight Mechanism


A more in depth rundown on this can be found in my answer to Understanding fear as a response in classical conditioning, but in short, the 5F response is an unconscious reflex to perceived threats, initiated from Threat Brain Receiving Signals Brain Reacts Cortisol and Adrenaline is released Physical Reactions occur from the release of hormones Bodily response

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Role Of Sensitisation In Addiction

Sensitisation may aggravate drug addiction when the stimuli associated with drug-taking cause cravings. The repeated exposure to drug use causes hypersensitivity to drugs and other stimuli associated with the substance. This hypersensitivity in turn causes an increased craving for drugs and is what causes an exaggerated love of drugs.

Cross-sensitisation can also cause increased drug use. For instance, sensitisation to the motor-activating effects of one stimulant can sensitize the body to the locomotor effects of other stimulants.

Incentive sensitisation occurs during the first few exposures to drugs. This is the first step in the addiction process.

Full drug addiction occurs after incentive sensitisation whereby there is no control of the amount of drug intake. Once detoxification occurs during the treatment process, tolerance and withdrawalsymptoms may disappear and uncover sensitisation that could lead to a relapse.

No matter where you live, there is a drug rehab center that can help you overcome your addiction. We’ll help you find it.

What Is The Difference Between Habituation And Sensitization

The main difference between habituation and sensitization is that habituation is a decrease in an innate response to a frequently repeated stimulus, whereas sensitization is the increased reaction to a stimulus after repeated exposure.

Habituation and sensitization are two basic ways in which all organisms respond to previous experiences with a stimulus. Moreover, both are forms of non-associative learning.

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Sensitization In The Nervous System


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What Determines Whether Sensitization Or Desensitization Occurs

Habituation & sensitization?

I am familiar with desensitization. For example, if you are afraid of driving, driving every day will eventually reduce your fear, desensitizing you.

But today I came across another concept, that of sensitization. I looked up the wiki article on Sensitization, which says at the end,

Sensitization may also contribute to psychological disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, panic anxiety and mood disorders.

So which is it then? What determines whether repeated exposure to something sensitizes someone or desensitizes them? With the example of PTSD, for instance, should not repeated exposure to war actually desensitize people?

I searched google scholar but could not find a paper that discusses both sensitization and desensitization. Mostly discuss the latter, in terms of reducing fears.

Appreciate any references or books that might help me understand this.

Thanks you.

  • 1$\begingroup$Welcome and kudos for this great question. I stumbled upon exactly this question yesterday when reading about a related topic.$\endgroup$

The terminology in this area can be a source of confusion because sensitization is not usually meant as the opposite of desensitization but of habituation. E.g., Blumstein

People have written about habituation, a process that leads to decreased responsiveness to a stimulus, as well as its counterpart, sensitization, or an increased responsiveness to a stimulus, for over 2000 years.

So what’s desensitization then? Well…

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As A Causal Factor In Pathology

Sensitization has been implied as a causal or maintaining mechanism in a wide range of apparently unrelated pathologies including addiction, allergies, asthma, overactive bladder and some medically unexplained syndromes such as fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivity. Sensitization may also contribute to psychological disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, panic anxiety and mood disorders.

This Article Is A Part Of The Guide:

  • 8.9Neuroplasticity
  • When you rub your arms continuously, you will feel a warm sensation due to the repeated stimulation of the peripheral nerves located in your arms. However, after some time this warm sensation would turn into a painful feeling, so your brain would warn you that rubbing your arms vigorously for a long time would be harmful and painful for you. This is scenario is an example of sensitization.

    The concept of sensitization holds that there is a particular cellular receptor that is expected to respond to a stimulus. Once stimulation occurs, that cellular receptor is to transmit information to and from the brain via the peripheral nerves, resulting to sensitization.

    In the year 2000, Eric Kandle won the Nobel Prize in Physiology because he was the first researcher to study the neuronal learning process involving sensitization from 1960 to 1970s.

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    Modulation Of Distal Stimulus Processing By Proximal Inputs As A General Principle For The Organization Of Learning And Behavior

    All behaviors can be coarsely classified into approach and avoidance where the animals choose to respond in a manner to maintain or terminate the impact of impinging stimuli. As classical ethologists of the last century astutely documented , approach-based behavior systems have two properties in common: The first is the sequential pattern of behavior which requires persistent sign tracking and stimulus evaluation, presenting the animal with multiple check points before it finally commits the consumatory act. The second is both state- and stimulus-dependence of performance, which attunes behavioral choice to physiological demands.

    In fact, habituation might be the default fate for most stimuli in the absence of top-down modulation . To state it in more general terms, habituation is not just a waning of responsiveness for repetitive external stimuli, but is a default property of central processing unless it is modulated by a sensitizing input. This framework might be useful in understanding organization of behavior and learning. Below, I present a brief review of recent findings on appetitive olfactory conditioning in fruit flies to suggest that classical conditioning ensues when the habituation of a distal stimulus is prevented by virtue of its anticipatory pairing with the proximal, sensitizing stimulus under the permissive context of the internal milieu.

    Patient Discussion About Sensitization


    Q. I had cataract surgery with iol implant, and ever since I have awful light sensitivity. Any ideas? I can’t go into a “super store” without my sunglasses. My eyes ache at the end of the day.My doctor says “I don’t know!”


    Q. I heard that patients are highly sensitive to their senses? what are the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia and can they be aggravated? I heard that patients are highly sensitive to their senses?


    Q. when my aunt went through chemo her palms became VERY sensitive and had a burning feeling is there any way to prevent this from happening to my mom who is starting her chemo now? If not, what it the best treatment for it?


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    A Types Of Sensitization

  • Long Term Potentiation or LTPThis type of sensitization involves the electrical or chemical stimulation of the organisms hippocampus . Many researchers have hypothesized that there are so-called LTP receptors which are responsible for memory and learning new things.
  • KindlingThis type of sensitization also includes the hippocampus of the organism just like in LTP. One difference of kindling to LTP, however, is that there is a repeated stimulation of the hippocampal or amygdaloid neurons. Kindling seems to be very dangerous because even a small stimulation would result to seizures in animals studied inside the laboratories. The discovery of kindling has been used as a theory in explaining epilepsy on the temporal lobe of humans. In temporal lobe epilepsy, repetitive stimulation like flickering lights or on and off sounds may cause epileptic seizures. This repetitive stimulation is the reason why kindling may be the process undergone by people who experience seizures.
  • Central SensitizationThis type of sensitization comprises the pain receptors located in the spinal cord. When peripheral tissue damage or inflammation occurs, these pain receptors are sensitized, causing a person to feel sensitive to the pain he experiences. The concept of central sensitization has shown a logical explanation for health conditions where long term pain is a symptom. Because of this, many researchers have developed `desensitization` therapies to relieve the feeling of long term pain.
  • Neurotrophins Central Sensitization And Neuropathic Pain

    Sensitization of AMPA/kainate synapses on lamina II cells by BDNF as described previously is distinct from the sensitization induced by neurotrophins at peripheral nerve endings. There are many examples of central and peripheral synapses whose efficacy is enhanced by neurotrophins. In the case of nociceptor synapses on cells of lamina II, this sensitization does not occur directly but, rather, as a consequence of sensitization of NMDA receptors located on the same neurons , an effect also found in the NT-3/trkC system of spinal motor neurons . PKC has been implicated in the coupling between sensitization of NMDA and AMPA/kainate receptors. As in the case of NGF-induced sensitization of the response of nociceptive neurons to capsaicin or noxious heat, sensitization of synaptic transmission persists for at least several minutes to an hour after removal of the neurotrophin, suggesting that the neurotrophin triggers long-lasting changes in the nociceptive pathway.

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    Stress Sensitization Following A Disaster: A Prospective Study

    Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 November 2011

    Foundation Centrum 45/Arq, Diemen, The Netherlands
    P. G. van der Velden
    Affiliation:Institute for Psychotrauma, Diemen, The NetherlandsINTERVICT/Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands
    G. J. L. M. Lensvelt-Mulders
    Affiliation:University for Humanistics, Utrecht, The Netherlands
    J. W. Knipscheer
    Foundation Centrum 45/Arq, Diemen, The NetherlandsUtrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
    B. P. R. Gersons
    Foundation Centrum 45/Arq, Diemen, The NetherlandsAcademic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    R. J. Kleber
    Affiliation:Foundation Centrum 45/Arq, Diemen, The NetherlandsInstitute for Psychotrauma, Diemen, The NetherlandsUtrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
    *Address for correspondence: Dr G. E. Smid, Foundation Centrum 45, Nienoord 5, 1112 XE Diemen , The Netherlands.

    Examples Of Sensitization In A Sentence

    What is SENSITIZATION? What does SENSITIZATION mean? SENSITIZATION meaning, definition & explanation

    sensitization SELFsensitizationNew York Timessensitization WSJsensitization Forbessensitizationclevelandsensitization Smithsonian Magazinesensitization Forbessensitization Smithsonian Magazine

    These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘sensitization.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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    If You Have Ever Burnt One On Your Fingers You Might Have Noticed

    that if you run your handsunder warm water, your burnt finger

    will hurt, even if it is theday after you burnt it. The warm water

    normally does not cause anypain, but after burning your finger, it

    issensitized. Now the warm water causes pain.


    High doses of cocaineproduce a variety of behaviors,

    including increased activityand stereotyped behaviors

    like head bobs. Repeatedlygiving an animal high doses

    of cocaine also leads totolerance, where more and more

    of this drug of abuse isneeded to produce an effect. If

    animals are given lowerdoses of cocaine, however, no

    obvious responses occur tothe first dose. If the animal is

    given this same low doseintermittently, for example

    once every week, it developsan increased sensitivity to

    the drug, as seen byincreased locomotion and the

    emergence of head bobs.Because these behaviors

    emerge only after repeateddrug administration,

    something in the brain mustbe changing to produce the

    sensitization. Independentstudent research projects in

    my and Dr. Coughlins labshave examined the role of

    other drugs in modifying thedevelopment and/or

    expression of cocainesensitization.

    Domjan is trying inthis section to argue that sensitization is the opposite of

    habituation. However,as he notes, there are key differences. I think it is better

    to think ofsensitization as a special case of habituation in which the response

    fails to decrease, ormay actually increase in strength with repeated stimulation.


    The Effect Of Allergen Exposure On The Development Of Sensitization And Asthma

    A recent study has highlighted the changing nature of the association between early-life cat exposure and sensitization during the life-course and the danger of making inference or drawing firm conclusions about the role of early-life exposures from cross-sectional analyses.10 This study has highlighted the importance of looking at life-course trajectories, rather than any cross-sectional time points, by demonstrating that although the proportion of children sensitized to cat was significantly higher among cat owners in the first 3 years of life, after this age, the annual increase in the rate of sensitization was 6% lower in the group of cat owners compared with children without a cat. As a result of the different trajectories of cat sensitization between early-life cat owners and individuals without a cat, by adolescence the point prevalence of cat sensitization was numerically higher among children without a cat10 . These results may explain most inconsistencies in previous literature and indicate that apparently contradictory findings of previous studies does not make them incorrect but is a consequence of fundamentally different trajectories of cat sensitization between early-life cat owners and individuals without a cat.10 Thus allergen exposure can confer either an increase in risk, or protection, or will have no effect, depending on the age of the assessment, study design, and the choice of study population.10

    Seven E. Tomek, M. Foster Olive, in, 2018

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