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in physiology, the spread of excitation or inhibition in the central nervous system. Irradiation plays an important part in cerebrocortical activity. The irradiation of excitation is manifested most distinctly after strong stimulation, when nerve centers usually not involved in a reflex response are drawn into the process. For example, moderate pain inflicted on the skin of an animal’s foot causes the paw to flex in the talocalcaneal joint. Increasing the force of stimulation causes the leg to flex in the knee and hip joints. In studying the effect of an inhibitory conditioned stimulus, I. P. Pavlov showed that inhibition can also spread (irradiate) in the cells of the cerebral cortex.
the apparent enlargement of the dimensions of white (light) objects against a black (dark) background (given the comparatively great brightness of the white object) or, conversely, the apparent diminution of the dimensions of black objects against a white background. (The first instance is called positive irradiation; the second, negative.)
As a result of irradiation, a thin black thread or wire observed against a bright flame seems to be interrupted in that segment, and the bright crescent of the new moon seems to have a larger diameter than the ash-gray disk of the moon seen simultaneously with it. The degree of irradiation increases when the brightness of the light background or object increases. Irradiation is caused by optical defects of the eye (spherical and chromatic aberrations), diffraction phenomena in the eye, and imperfect fixation of the eye on the objects observed.