Article ID: CBB000930683

A History of the Concept of the Stimulus and the Role It Played in the Neurosciences (2008)


The term stimulus, as it was used in science from its earliest appearance in the sixteenth century up to the beginning of the nineteenth century, shows a gradual progress in denotation from the physical object designed to produce nervous and muscular excitation to the generically conceived event or object that initiates sensory or motor activity. To this shift corresponds a shift in the understanding of sensory experience. Johannes Muller's law of specific energy of sensory nerves played a major role in the shift, and Hermann von Helmholtz gave the shift its most thorough philosophical explanation.

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Authors & Contributors
Finger, Stanley
Wade, Nicholas J.
Meulders, Michel
Hörz, Herbert
Heidelberger, Michael
Schickore, Jutta
Journal of the History of the Neurosciences
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Perspectives on Science
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
HOST: Journal of History of Science and Technology
MIT Press
Odile Jacob
Fordham University Press
Senses and sensation; perception
Human physiology
Auditory perception
Philosophy of science
Helmholtz, Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von
Müller, Johannes Peter
Ludwig, Carl Friedrich Wilhelm
Brücke, Ernst Wilhelm von
Fechner, Gustav Theodor
Mach, Ernst
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
20th century, early
Central Europe: Germany, Austria, Switzerland
United States
Berlin (Germany)
Great Britain
Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG)

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