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In ethology, a sign stimulus that is contained in a structure, crest, colouring pattern, call, or scent and that evokes an immediate innate response or fixed-action pattern, having evolved specifically as a signal to communicate with conspecifics (1). Not all sign stimuli are releasers: the speckling pattern on some birds' eggs is a sign stimulus for incubation behaviour, but it is believed to have evolved as camouflage. See also innate releasing mechanism, vacuum activity.

Subjects: Psychology.

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