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Stimulus

A stimulus is anything that can trigger a physical or behavioral change. The plural of stimulus is stimuli.

Stimuli can be external or internal.

An example of external stimuli:

  • Your body responding to a medicine

An example of internal stimuli:

  • Your vital signs changing due to a change in the body

Stimuli include:

  • Irritants
  • Sights
  • Smells
  • Sounds
  • Temperature changes

Update Date 1/31/2015

Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.