A phenomenon of reducing the perceived quality of the environment by introducing elements excessively stimulating to humans.


Any environment or medium may be polluted by stimuli. For example, a waiting room with multiple screens displaying different TV channels presents an overly stimulative environment.

Defining Characteristics

An environment may be considered polluted by stimuli if the saturation and variance of stimuli is such that an average human psyche is unable to consciously ignore them.

Common Causes

Without doubt the most common and almost sole source of stimuli pollution is advertising, which sports many competing agents aiming to produce the strongest and most memorable stimulus. Other sources worth mentioning may be traffic or places gathering a disproportionate number of sexually appealing people like colleges.

Why Not "Stimulus Pollution"?

By way of example, in the term noise pollution it is implied there needs to be much noise for the environment to be polluted by it. Stimulus in stimulus pollution would, by analogy, imply there needs to be much (of the) stimulus for the environment to be polluted by (that) stimulus, which is not the intention.

The term stimuli in stimuli pollution implies there need be much of (possibly different) stimuli for the environment to be polluted by them.

Discussion on Stimuli Pollution

Apart from the obvious increase in the use of human sexuality to advertise a brand or a product, the advertising industry also specialized and segregated itself. It is increasingly common for advertisers to be completely disconnected from the process the result of which they're bolstering. This phenomenon is not without its visible effect and in my opinion greatly contributes to stimuli pollution.

The effect this creates is the utter separation of product and message. The very same advertisement can be used to promote canned fish and car tires, since it doesn't really matter what they're selling. In all the noise, people would seldom notice a message that actually has anything to say about fish or tires. But most of them being stressed out by the usual busy lifestyle, they'll surely notice a billboard with beautiful young healthy people with big happy smiles doing something playful in nature. By means of color or simple shapes, they'll associate this happy feeling with a brand. This false offer of fulfilling people's needs stimulates them and helps stress them out even more, since they're subconsciously trying to buy canned peace of mind.

Trying to attract people's attention, the commercial industry pushes brands using well known weaknesses of the human psyche and offering it what a typical consumer is likely to be lacking. Lonely? Surely this new cell phone game will help surround you with people. Of course it doesn't matter it's single player. Insecure? You might wanna try this footwear. Unsuccessful? You must be smoking the wrong brand of cigarettes - try ours. You get the idea. But we're not only stimulated by those that are trying to sell us something. Somewhere along the line, we've been taught that quantity beats quality in everything we do, and we need to be entertained without end, while exercising and showing off our power to punch through life without pain or fear. Then people get surprised when they discover they're respected, honored, feared even, but not loved. And it makes such perfect sense. How can you love someone who finds you replaceable?

In fact, it is because of all the stimulative noise in form of attractive pictures, exciting games, parties and such that some people have difficulty noticing simple joys. So the key is not to move to the countryside, but to develop selective hearing, thereby opening up both worlds. At least that's what works for me.

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