A physiological concept: sensory nerve endings are each adapted to detect a certain type of stimulus (their respective `adequate stimuli'), but may be activated by a different stimulus entirely, providing it be of sufficient intensity. For example, this explains why one sees stars when one is punched in the eye (mechanical stimulus -> visual sensation).
- Sherwood, L. Human Physiology; West: Minneapolis, 2nd ed.; 1993, 152.
- Norrsell, U. et al. Brain Research Bulletin 1999, 48(5), 457-65.
Review article: `Cutaneous sensory spots and the "law of specific nerve energies": history and development of ideas.'