Friday, 3 June 2016


Superstimuli are stimuli that are larger than life. They are typically exaggerations of a particular natural stimulus. The stimulus involved could be attractive, aversive, or it could evoke other reactions - such as hunger, fear or jealousy.

Superstimulii are typically ways in which organisms manipulate other organisms. Extra-strong stimuli evoke powerful reactions - sometimes against their owner's will and best interests. This makes them useful for those who seek to manipulate others.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so without further ado, here are some superstimulii:

Superstimuli can arise in organic or cultural evolution. In the organic realm, flowers present superstimuli to insects - including genitalia mimicry, powerful scents and super-sweet nectar. Cultural evolution has led to super-sweet chocolate gateau, super satisfying donuts, super-smelly perfumes, and all manner of exaggeration of female ornaments. Pornography makes extensive use of sexual superstimuli.

Superstimuli are often used in marketing and advertising. The Daisy advertisement used a fear superstimulus relating to the end of the world for political ends. Environmental activists regularly invite people to help to save the planet. Highly attractive female models are used to sell many products.

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