Friday, June 11, 2021

Blog Post: Elicited Behaviors

Hello, my name's Bella. For my first blog post, I'm going to be focusing on elicited behaviors. Elicit is defined as "to draw forth or bring out," (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). The textbook defines an elicited behavior as "a behavior that is drawn out by a preceding stimulus," (Powell, Honey, Symbaluk, 2016). You have definitely produced and seen elicited behaviors before. It's a behavior that is a response to your environment. Say for example you go into your attic. You go up there very rarely, so everything is covered in dust. Suddenly, you start sneezing. This is a response to your environment. These responses are involuntary, meaning we have no control over them. This can include physical reactions such as sneezing or salivating, but also emotional reactions such as feeling dejected after getting turned down by someone.

One of the most basic forms of elicited behaviors are reflexes. A reflex is defined as "any of a number of automatic, unlearned, relatively fixed responses to stimuli that do not require conscious effort and that often involve a faster response than might be possible if a conscious evaluation of the input were required," (APA Dictionary, n.d.). Many reflexes are closely tied to survival. Food consumption leads to reflexes including salivation and secretion of digestive juices in the stomach (Powell, Honey, Symbaluk, 2016). This proves that reflexes can be both visible and invisible. Another type of reflex is visiting a doctor's office. During your check-up, the doctor strikes at your knee with a hammer, and reflexively your leg sticks out. This is an elicited behavior! 

Picture below: when a baby is born, it comes "prepackaged" with lots of reflexes (Powell, Honey, Symbaluk, 2016). One of these takes place when breast feeding. When the baby takes the nipple in its mouth, it instinctively begins to suck. Baby's who are fed through a bottle, like the one below, have the same instincts due to the bottle's nipple-like shape. 

(Grill, n.d.)


APA Dictionary. (n.d.). Citation. In dictionary. Retrieved 11 June, 2021. from

Grill, J. (n.d.). Caucasian baby girl drinking bottle [Stock photo]. Getty Images. 

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Citation. In dictionary. Retrieved 11 June, 2021. from

Powell, R. A., Honey, P. L., Symbaluk, D. G. (2016). Introduction to Learning and Behavior (5th edition). Cengage Learning. 


  1. Great post. Most people don't think about how babies are born with innate reflexes. It is so interesting how babies know what to do to survive once they are born.

  2. Hi Isabella! From an EMT perspective we use these natural reflexes all the time when assessing babies. Because they cannot speak to assess neurological function we will test that these functions are working properly by placing our finger below their foot or on their hand to see if they grab my finger.