Stimulus Properties of Drugs

  • Alan Poling
Part of the Applied Clinical Psychology book series


A physical stimulus is any change in the environment that can be quantified through empirical means, whereas a functional stimulus is a physical stimulus that demonstrably affects behavior. Chapter 3 provided an overview of operant and respondent conditioning and emphasized that the functional properties of a physical stimulus are not immutable but depend critically upon prior and current circumstances. Electric shock, for example, may affect behavior by acting as a positive reinforcer, a negative reinforcer, an unconditional stimulus, or a discriminative stimulus. Given this, the behavioral effects of electrical stimulation are (a) complex, (b) situation-specific, and (c) amenable to analysis in terms of operant and respondent conditioning.


Conditional Stimulus Unconditional Stimulus Discriminative Stimulus Stimulus Property Placebo Response 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Poling
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA

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