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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

References

Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 23rd ed. F.A. Davis Company; 2017. www.tabers.com/tabersonline/. Accessed January 26, 2017.

Review Date 1/26/2017

Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.