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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 ?
To confirm the effects of mental workload and thermal stimulus, we selected the following three parameters as physiological parameters (Table 3).
Mackey said the lack of amygdala activation could be explained by the fact that participants were first introduced to the noxious thermal stimulus during prescan thresholding, and thus it wasn't novel when experienced in the scanner.
Agitation-sedation scores and foot withdrawal response to a thermal stimulus were determined 30 to 60 minutes before (baseline), and 0.
Animals were selected previously from those presenting a latency to the thermal stimulus equal to or less than 20 sec; and the cut off point was set at 40 sec.
The typical cardiac response of lobsters to a 1-min application of a thermal stimulus, either warmer (n = 19) or colder (n = 17) than the holding temperature of 15[degrees]C, consisted of a short bradycardia (39.