The notion of stimulus find its root in the Latin word stimulus, one of whose curious meanings is sting . This word describes the chemical, physical or mechanical factor that manages to generate a functional reaction in an organism . The term also allows mention to the enthusiasm to develop a certain action or work and gives name to the iron-tipped rod used by boyeros to drive or keep the oxen.
In general, it can be said that a stimulus is something that has a impact or influence on a system . In the case of living beings, the stimulus is that which gives rise to a response or a reaction of the body.
The notion of stimulus is linked to the verb to stimulate , which means provoking the concretion of something or starting an activity, labor, operation or function . For example, a economic stimulus It constitutes an extra motivation for those who work; a sound stimulus , such as firing a firearm, can signal the beginning of a competition .
Psychology talks about conditioned and unconditioned stimulus , associated with two types of responses, also conditioned and unconditioned. Numerous studies by the Russian physiologist and psychologist Iván Petróvich Pavlov, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, explain these in detail concept With the help of canine volunteers. In short, we understand unconditioned stimulus to the one who generates in the subject an innate response, usually called reflex. On the other hand, a conditional stimulus expects a specific result, which the body would not know how to give before receiving the corresponding instructions.
Speaking specifically about Pavlov's investigations, the experiment of dogs and food. Like human beings, by placing food in their mouths, animals begin the process of salivation, which is an unconditioned or reflexive response to an unconditioned stimulus. But the Russian psychologist noticed that the dogs began to salivate before eating, just by understanding that their guardian was preparing their food. Starting from this situation, curious for him, he decided to perform a test in which he rang a bell every time he gave food to a dog, getting it to associate both events. Once this relationship was achieved, the dog salivated at the mere clink.
These studies apply to the communication between people, and establish that if there is no stimulus, there will be no answer . The resulting linear model of human communication, which was developed by Harold D. Laswell, proposes a formula that chains five questions to analyze the interaction in the language : Who / says what / by which channel / to whom / with what effect? Given that languages require extensive and arduous learning and that differences in interpretation lead to an infinite number of social and cultural problems, it is understandable that these investigations are so important for life in society.
In the plane of the statistics , the model stimulus-response It aims to establish a mathematical function to reflect the link between the stimulus and the expected value in the response. In other words, we seek to find the necessary stimuli to obtain each type of result, thus allowing us to repeat a certain response whenever we wish.