What is the meaning of Orienting response in below passage?

What is it about TV that has such a hold on US? In part, the attraction seems to spring from our biological ‘orienting response.’ First described by Ivan Pavlov in 1927, the orienting response is our instinctive visual or auditory reaction to any sudden or novel stimulus. It is part of our evolutionary heritage, a builtin sensitivity to movement and potential predatory threats.

  • When you come across an unusual phrase, such as this, best google it: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orienting_response Jul 15, 2021 at 22:53
  • I saw the source, Can you explain it in simple speech with an example?
    – Pankaj
    Jul 15, 2021 at 22:54
  • From the internet: example of orienting response? 1. a behavioral response to an altered, novel, or sudden stimulus, such as turning one's head toward an unexpected noise. and In dogs and other animals this includes such signs of attention as pricked-up ears, head turned toward the stimulus, increased muscular tension, and physiological changes detectable with instruments. Jul 15, 2021 at 23:04

2 Answers 2


We have a biologically innate tendency to look in the direction from which noise (or smell or touch) come from. You hear a noise on your left, you look to your left.


“Orienting” means pointing this way or that. (“Orient” means “east”, and before magnetic compasses were available, sunrise — in the east — was used to align buildings, roads, and such.)

The “orienting” response is when you respond to a sound or a light by looking in that direction.

  • "Orienting" also means understanding where you are. Another related word is "Orienteering" which means to find things using a map and a compass which requires both knowing where you are and where you are going.
    – ohwilleke
    Aug 24, 2023 at 3:37
  • 1
    @ohwilleke — “orienting” in that sense is orienting yourself, figuring out which way you are currently pointing and which way you are supposed to be pointing. Aug 24, 2023 at 17:31

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