Stimulus-response model

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Behavior analysis
SR model
SOR model
SORKC model
SOEVK model
Dynamic self-regulation model
plan analysis

The stimulus-response model or stimulus-response (SR) is a model of behavioral psychology that links stimulus and response in the manner of the black box model . The term stimulus does not refer to a discrete physical event , as in physiology, but to all ( relevant ) internal and external stimuli of a given situation.

Areas of application

In media impact research , the model states that media content is perceived in the same way by all recipients and, as a result, triggers almost identical reactions. The communication content is equated with the direction of the effect. It is one of the earliest models of media impact, which has subsequently been refuted many times (see e.g. thesis of selective attention ) and can be considered obsolete.

In linguistics , the behavioristic stimulus-response model in American structuralism ( Leonard Bloomfield ) served as a model of the meaning of linguistic expressions. The meaning itself is determined as the speech situation in which someone expresses himself and the listener's reaction to it. Since essential parts of it are not observable for the linguist, the meaning is consequently excluded as an object of the linguistic analysis.

By emphasizing the character user through the SR model, Bloomfield prepared the language pragmatics .

The reduction of behavior to a stimulus-response model for animals is criticized, as it does not explain the species-specific spontaneous animal behavior. Against the reduction of human speech behavior to an SR model, it is argued that this behavioristic hypothesis cannot explain how sign connections that have never been heard before can be established or understood. Every “genuine language symbol” cannot be explained with the SR model. This can only be explained by standard verbal associations such as father - mother .

Variants / further developments

Important variants and further developments are the stimulus-response-outcome model of instrumental conditioning , the stimulus-organism-response concept (SOR) and the SORKC model .


  • Hans Hörmann: Opinion and understanding. Basics of psychological semantics . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1976, ISBN 3-518-07450-4 . Contains p. 28ff. a presentation of the behavioristic theory of meaning and the criticism of it.
  • John Lyons: Semantics. Volume I. Beck, Munich 1980. ISBN 3-406-05272-X . Chapter: Behavioral Theories of Meaning and Evaluation of Behavioral Semantics , pp. 138–150.

Web links

Wiktionary: stimulus-response model  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: stimulus-response model  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Leonard Bloomfield: Language . Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York / Chicago / San Francisco / Toronto 1933/1961. Chapter 2: The usage of language .
  2. Psychology of Language . 2nd, revised edition. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg / New York 1977, p. 107. ISBN 3-540-08174-7 .
  3. ^ Joachim Ballweg: Structural Linguistics. In: Lexicon of German Linguistics. 2nd, completely revised and enlarged edition. Edited by Hans Peter Althaus, Helmut Henne, Herbert Ernst Wiegand . Niemeyer, Tübingen 1980, pp. 109-120, reference pp. 116f. ISBN 3-484-10389-2 .
  4. ^ So Ernst, Peter: German Linguistics. Vienna: WUV, 2008 (UTB; 2541), p. 193
  5. So Glück, Helmut (ed.): Metzler Lexikon Sprach. 4th edition. Metzler, Stuttgart - Weimar 2010: Stimulus-response model.