Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Related to stimulus: unconditioned stimulus, stimuli


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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
Stimulus equivalence experiments have shown that unrelated stimulus pairs produce a larger N400 component than related stimulus pairs, even when the related pairs are not directly trained and only related through symmetry and transitivity/equivalence (Barnes-Holmes et al., 2005; Bortoloti et al, 2014; Haimson et al., 2009; Tabullo et al, 2015a, 2015b).
The fEMG data were integrated in 50 ms intervals during the first 1000 ms after stimulus onset.
B', counterbalanced for the difficult conditions), and the retention interval between the exposure trial to the familiar stimulus and the test (1 hour or 24hours, for the groups Difficult-1h and Easy-1h, and the groups Difficult-24h and Easy-24h, respectively).
Ilmoniemi, "The effect of stimulus parameters on TMS-EEG muscle artifacts," Brain Stimulation, vol.
If there was an error in identity trials with visual stimuli, the participant would then take the BB and/or CC Identity Training, which programmed a block of two trials with each training stimulus and provided differential consequences for correct and incorrect responses (the same as those further described to the AB and AC Training).
4 Keep repeating steps 1-3 until the presentation of the stimulus at that distance consistently causes your dog to look at you with a happy smile and a "Yay!
Successfully employed with many consumer populations (e.g., students with intellectual disabilities and autism) and settings (e.g., residential settings, schools), the PS procedures appear to be less time-consuming and more highly predictive than assessment procedures that involve presentation of each stimulus in isolation (i.e., non-choice based procedures [Hagopian et al., 2004]).
So deficits measure total stimulus. These were huge -- $5.8 trillion from 2009 to 2013 -- and vastly exceeded the stimulus packages alone.
In Branch's case, the Paxton campaign pointed to several publicly traded companies in which Branch or family members have owned stock and that, according to a federal database, also received money under the stimulus program, such as eBay, Paccar Inc.