Stimulus (psychology) facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

In psychology, a stimulus is an energy change (such as light or sound) which is received by the senses. The usage changes somewhat according to which school of psychology is using it:

  • In classical conditioning and behaviorism, a stimulus is the basis for behavior.
  • In perceptual psychology it is the basis for perception. In this context, a distinction is made between the distal stimulus (the external, perceived object) and the proximal stimulus (the stimulation of sensory organs).
  • In experimental psychology, the term 'stimulus' is used to describe the event or object to which a response is measured. In this case, not everything that is presented to participants is a stimulus. For example, a fixation cross is not said to be a stimulus, because it merely serves to center subject's gaze at the center of the screen. Also, longer events are usually not called 'stimuli', even when a response to such an event is measured.

A stimulus or stimuli might be used to see if a person is in a coma and what type of coma.


Stimulus (psychology) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.