Enhanced re-habituation of the orienting response of the human event-related potential

Neurosci Lett. 2004 Feb 12;356(2):103-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2003.11.025.


Previous studies found the amplitude of the orienting response (OR) of the human event-related potential to decrease with repeated stimulus presentations. This decrease has been suggested to reflect short-term habituation and/or long-term habituation, both of which are learning processes. However, this earlier research failed to provide direct evidence supporting this claim. The present study attempted to show that the OR pattern shares one important feature of habituation: an enhanced response decrement across stimulus-presentation blocks (enhanced re-habituation). Participants received four blocks of 25 auditory stimulus presentations and showed an OR decrement both within (short-term habituation) and across (long-term habituation) blocks. Importantly, the OR decreased more rapidly during later than initial trial blocks, suggesting enhanced re-habituation. The latter result supports the notion that the amplitude decrement reflects an elementary learning process.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology
  • Male
  • Orientation / physiology*