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1. any drug, agent, electrical impulse, or other factor able to cause a response in an organism
2. an object or event that is apprehended by the senses
3. Med a former name for stimulant



something that excites to action and motivates behavior. The concept of stimulus is characteristic primarily of those trends in psychology that base behavior analysis on the stimulus-response correlation (classical psychophysics and especially behaviorism, as well as neobehaviorism). The term “stimulus” is also retained in some psychological concepts that in essence supersede the stimulus-response correlation. Thus, for example, in the Würzburg school, a task or an awareness of a goal is considered to be a stimulus. In this case, the term “stimulus” is almost metaphorical. Even further from the term’s original meaning is the treatment it receives in the cultural and historical conceptions of L. S. Vygotskii, who established a functional difference between stimulus objects, at which action is directed, and stimulus means, by which action is accomplished. According to Vygotskii, signs serve as stimulus means.

In sociopsychological studies a distinction is sometimes made between motives as internal excitations and stimuli as external excitations to action (see Chelovek i ego rabota [collection], 1967, pp. 38–39).



(control systems)
A signal that affects the controlled variable in a control system.
An agent that produces a temporary change in physiological activity in an organism or in any of its parts.
References in periodicals archive ?
Pavlovian-instrumental transfer of the discriminative stimulus effects of nicotine and ethanol in rats.
hopes that the question will generate an intraverbal response of "A discriminative stimulus is .
Learning about a discriminative stimulus that was a consistent predictor of the relationship between an instrumental response and an outcome was found to be context dependent when training was conducted within a context that was informative to solve an alternative discrimination (group I), but not when training was conducted within a non-informative context (group NI).
A trial was coded as correct if the child displayed the target response, or a similar appropriate response, within 5 seconds of the discriminative stimulus (see Table 3 for an outline of the operational definitions).
a reinforcement rich time-in, a conspicuous discriminative stimulus, targeting low-intensity inappropriate behaviors) and empirical support.
Percentage of correct responses in the last training trial for the target discriminative stimulus (X) were 87.
From the standpoint of stimulus control, it appears the presence of discriminative stimulus (groups 2,3,4) resulted in greater allocation of corresponding trained response sequence that which competed against the allocation of untrained response.
DESCRIPTORS: functional analysis, functional communication training, discriminative stimulus, concurrent schedules, problem behavior, mands
Instead of all features of a complex discriminative stimulus controlling a verbal operant, only one or two features of that stimulus may initially control the response--resulting in overly discriminated responses.
Both procedures are similar in implementation: the presentation of the discriminative stimulus, paired with the delivery of an instructional cue with a specified delay to the controlling prompt.
So sometimes, the partner is a discriminative stimulus for reinforcement, but at other times--even under the most favorable conditions--is a partial punisher.