Definition: The tendency of sensory receptor cells to become less responsive to a stimulus that is unchanging.


Quite Simply...


  • Becoming less sensitive to certain stimuli.
  • Your bodies way of become accustomed to something happening often around you.
  • The receptor cells themselves become less responsive to the stimulus.


Examples of Sensory Adaptation..


  • When a swimmer first jumps in to a pool, the water might be freezing cold, but after being in it for awhile, he will get used to the temperature of the water because sensory adaptation allows his receptor cells to become less responsive to the temperature.
  • A lady a lot with piercings does not always feel pain because sensory adaptation allows her to ignore a constant, unchanging stimulation from the sharp piercings..
  • You walk into your house and smell the stinky, full garbage can you forgot to take out. But after a while of being in your house, the smell seems to go away because sensory adaptation allows your receptor cells to become less responsive to the smell.
  • You are chewing a piece of long lasting gum, but after 20 minutes of chewing you don't really taste it anymore because sensory adaptation allows your receptor cells to become less responsive to the minty flavor.

Sensory Adaptation VS Habituation...








Additional Resources



  1. http://www.ehow.com/about_4853547_what-sensory-adaptation.html
  2. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-sensory-adaptation.htm
  3. http://users.ipfw.edu/abbott/120/adaptation.html