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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 ?
When another stimulus appears that shares at least one of those features, the original response may occur as an extended tact-it is extended to the new stimulus based on stimulus generalization.
In conclusion, this study advances the literature on PCIT by addressing a critical but little-researched topic: stimulus generalization of parents' skills.
The first difference is that Durand (1999) and Durand and Carr (1991) used a multiple exemplars (Stokes & Baer, 1977) approach to training, which can be an effective procedure for promoting stimulus generalization.
Stimulus generalization traditionally is assessed through visual examination of the gradients.
The perspective-taking and stimulus generalization programs were automated, while the response generalization questions were presented by the experimenter to each participant through a conversational context.
The interventions that lead to stimulus control and stimulus generalization are obviously important.
A model of stimulus generalization for Pavlovian conditioning.
Clearly, it is not stimulus generalization, since stimulus generalization requires a physical property that should control the corresponding generalization class.
Stimulus generalization and representation in adaptive network models of category learning.
For example, stimulus generalization is required for a client who has learned relaxation skills in the presence of the therapist (training with an initial stimulus) to then perform these skills at a stressful office meeting (learned response performed under a novel stimulus).
the process by which value transfer takes place could be a form of stimulus generalization that depends on the simultaneous presentation of the two stimuli (spatial/ temporal generalization), rather than on (or in addition to) the similarity of their other physical properties.