Internal Stimulus: Definition & Explanation

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  • 0:01 Need Recognition
  • 0:55 Internal vs. External Stimulus
  • 2:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rodney Michael

Rodney has taught university accounting classes and has a doctorate in accounting.

In this lesson, we will define internal stimulus and explain how it relates to buyer behavior. We will further clarify the definition with specific examples.

Need Recognition

Imagine you are sleeping, and you wake-up at one a.m. feeling restless and hungry. You wander down to the kitchen and look through the refrigerator and cupboards, but nothing looks good. You realize what you really feel like eating is pizza, so you wander over to where you keep your take-out menus and notice your favorite pizza place is still delivering. Just thinking about that crusty, cheesy goodness makes you even hungrier, so you immediately call them up and place an order.

In this example, your decision to buy the pizza was based upon your internal feelings of hunger and the emotional responses that made that particular type of food sound good. In marketing terms, an internal stimulus created a need recognition that triggered a purchase. Let's take a closer look at the buying decision process.

Internal vs. External Stimulus

The model for a buying decision process has been around since the early 1900s and exists in different versions. In this lesson, we are concerned only with the first step, or need recognition. Essentially, this is when you realize that you want something. That realization is triggered by either an internal or an external stimulus. In the pizza example, the purchase was triggered by an internal stimulus. You were hungry and felt the need for food. An internal stimulus is based upon something that you feel such as hunger, thirst, love, or pain. It comes from within a person.

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