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A tropism (from Greek τροπή, trope, "a turning") is a biological phenomenon, indicating growth or turning movement of a biological organism, in response to an environmental stimulus. In tropisms, this response is dependent on the direction of the stimulus (as opposed to nastic movements which are non-directional responses).

Tropisms are usually named for the stimulus involved (for example, a phototropism is a reaction to light) and may be either positive (towards the stimulus) or negative (away from the stimulus).

Tropisms are typically associated with plants (although not necessarily restricted to them)[1]. Where an organism is capable of directed physical movement (motility), movement or activity in response to a specific stimulus is more likely to be regarded by behaviorists as a taxis (directional response) or a kinesis (non-directional response).

In English, the word tropism is used in sometimes derisive way to indicate an action done without cognitive thought: However, "tropism" in this sense has a proper, although non-scientific, meaning as an innate tendency, natural inclination, or propensity to act in a certain manner.

Types of tropisms

See also

References

  1. The stimulus of light on insects may also be seen as a type of ethological tropism

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