Stimulus Discrimination Psychology Definition & Examples

Stimulus discrimination is the act of discriminating between stimuli based on their ability to produce a desired response. This can manifest itself in a number of ways, including but not limited to the preferential treatment of stimuli that are associated with positive outcomes, familiar surroundings, and desirable characteristics.

Examples of stimulus discrimination can be found in many different areas of life, including but not limited to the workplace, the educational system, and the consumer marketplace. In the workplace, for example, employees may be more likely to be motivated and productive when their work environment is tailored to match their personal preferences and preferences regarding task completion time. In the educational system, teachers may be more likely to reward students for academic success if the classroom environment is tailored to mirror the students’ personal preferences. And in the consumer marketplace, shoppers may be more likely to choose products that are associated with positive outcomes if those products are presented in a way that is familiar to them.

Stimulus discrimination is a complex and subtle phenomenon, and it can be difficult to identify and quantify. However, the prevalence of stimulus discrimination is likely to continue to grow as the world becomes increasingly complex and technology continues to evolve. Accordingly, it is important for employers, educators, and shoppers alike to be aware of the potential effects of stimulus discrimination and to take appropriate steps to avoid it.

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