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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
Having shown that epicatechin and the thermal stimulus when applied separately enhance LTM formation, we asked whether a combination of epicatechin + thermal stress (Fig.
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.
AI represents the antinociception index tail flick test; latency is the time that the animal takes to initiate a response after the experimental treatment; baseline is the latency period in the control; the noxious thermal stimulus was stopped after 6 s.
did not, however, alter latency of reaction to the thermal stimulus, as demonstrated by the hot-plate test.
Measuring antinociceptive effects by application of a noxious thermal stimulus is a method that involves cutaneous nociceptive thermal receptors, polymodal receptors, (32) and afferent A[delta] and C fibers that transmit nociceptive information to different areas of the midbrain and forebrain via ascending spinal pathways.
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 (39.5 [+ or -] 8.0 s) followed by a prolonged tachycardia (188.2 [+ or -] 10.7 s).
Foot withdrawal response to a thermal stimulus was determined 1 hour before (baseline) and 1.5, 3, and 6 hours after treatment administration.
Agitation-sedation scores and foot withdrawal response to a thermal stimulus were determined 30 to 60 minutes before (baseline), and 0.5, 1.5, 3, and 6 hours after treatment.