refers to the variation in strength of drive as a function of the organism's proximity to an aversive stimulus. For example, a rat's withdrawal behavior increases in intensity as it nears a feared stimulus (e.g., an electric shock). The avoidance gradient appears steeper than the approach gradient.

AVOIDANCE GRADIENT: "An avoidance gradient refers to increases in the organism's drive as it approaches feared or aversive stimuli - increased fright as a person gets closer to a spider."
Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "AVOIDANCE GRADIENT," in PsychologyDictionary.org, April 7, 2013, https://psychologydictionary.org/avoidance-gradient/ (accessed September 17, 2021).