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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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Strain energy was used to represent the mechanical stimulus for bone adaptation according to the work of Huiskes et al.
The calculated bone response over the femoral neck volume was spatially variable showing a high mechanical stimulus for bone apposition localized in the very proximal neck (Figure 5).
The value of the mechanical stimulus threshold is not enough to control the stress distribution.
Most interventions for fractures of the distal radius involve immobilising the fracture which subsequently reduces the level of mechanical stimulus. This happens at a time when the maximal rate of new bone formation is required.
The hypothesis that the mechanical stimulus is greater at the higher viscosities in colder waters is not supported by experimental manipulation of viscosity; capture of 2-[micro]m particles was reduced relative to 10-[micro]m particles at greater viscosities (Podolsky, 1994).
A custom multisite test fixture interfaces to the appropriate mechanical stimulus, depending on the nature of the MEMS device being tested.
Researchers deliver a mechanical stimulus to the cell and then measure its response in terms of its resistance or "pullback." With optical microscopy, they determine what proteins are involved in that response, and study the calcium wave that sometimes results using a ratio imaging technique.
Furthermore, the concept of mechanically-enhanced aging assumes that the mechanical stimulus changes the time scale of the relaxation behavior, but not the manner in which the structure relaxes.
She added: "A blunt pen-like instrument was used to measure the touch sensitivity of the animals to a mechanical stimulus.

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