—discriminational, adj./di skrim'euh nay"sheuhn/, n.1. an act or instance of discriminating.2. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.3. the power of making fine distinctions; discriminating judgment: She chose the colors with great discrimination.4. Archaic. something that serves to differentiate.[1640-50; < L discrimination- (s. of discriminatio) a distinguishing. See DISCRIMINATE, -ION]Syn. 3. discernment, taste, acumen, perception.
* * *in psychology, the ability to perceive and respond to differences among stimuli. It is considered a more advanced form of learning than generalization (q.v.), the ability to perceive similarities, although animals can be trained to discriminate as well as to generalize.Application of discrimination procedures permits description of the sensory acuities of laboratory animals. For example, if a dog's salivation response was to be conditioned to a red light by pairing it with food, while a green light was intermittently presented always without food, the dog would salivate to red light but not to green. It then might be inferred that the dog discriminated between colours. If, however, the brightness of the green light was varied, a brightness would be discovered to which the dog salivated. No amount of additional discrimination training with red and green lights would lead to differential response. The conclusion would be that the dog is colour-blind (which, in reality, dogs are).
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