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).


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  • 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.'