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In biology, galvanism is the contraction of a muscle that is stimulated by an electric current. The effect was named by Alessandro Volta after his contemporary, the scientist Luigi Galvani, who investigated the effect of electricity on dissected animals in the 1780s and 1790s. Galvani himself referred to the phenomenon as animal electricity, believing that he had discovered a distinct form of electricity. Volta, on the other hand, claimed that the movements were caused by contact with metals rather than by electricity.

The modern study of galvanic effects is called electrophysiology, the term galvanism being used only in historical contexts. However, people still speak of being 'galvanized into action'.

Compare: Galvanization
See also: Bioelectricity