Avoidance Gradient

The avoidance gradient is a concept in Behaviorism that describes the change in intensity or strength of an organism's drive and response as it nears a fearful or unpleasant stimulus. This concept opposes the approach gradient which describes the change in intensity or drive as an organism approaches a desired or pleasant stimulus like food.

For example, the avoidance gradient could be seen in a rat's increase in anxiety, fear response, and desire to hide as it is exposed to a previous unpleasant stimulus like an electric shock.

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History of Psychology
History of Psychology