trigger mechanism

noun
a physiological or psychological process caused by a stimulus and resulting in a usually severe reaction.
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Example sentences
When the long spring trap is used, the end of the spring should be rotated
  toward the trigger mechanism so the jaws will lie flat.
Before using, remember to clean the wax from the trigger mechanism so it won't
  trip too easily.
So, the exact trigger mechanism for earthquakes is not fully understood.
So if you think of it as a kind of trigger mechanism, these are in place unless
  the joint committee acts to trigger them off.
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