As a general response to the Hulk, people say that it's just general (extreme) stress that brings out the Hulk.

However, over time Dr. Banner has come to control the Hulk. Eg. In "The Incredible Hulk" he claimed he "might be able to aim it", but by the end of the movie, was able to bring it out on command. This is the same in the Avengers.

From my (basic) understanding of the human psychology, a person cannot willingly bring himself under that much emotional stress at will.

So my question is: What is the trigger for the Hulk, and how does Dr. Banner bring out the Hulk at will?

  • Are you asking about the Hulk's portrayal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe specifically? That would make this question easier to answer.
    – user
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 16:21
  • @user No, my question does extend to the comic universe as well. I have read a few issues where the Hulk has had "conscious" thoughts.
    – Ben
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 16:26
  • 5
    In "The Avengers" film - Banner reveals that the secret is "I'm always angry" - thus, it isn't a triggering of the Hulk so much as Banner actively repressing it. Only when he is mentally / physically compromised is it uncontrolled (ie - on the Helicarrier)
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 16:31
  • Banner has been in India studying mental control. I'm guessing he's learned to make himself angry/quell his anger as needed.
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 16:33
  • relevant: scifi.stackexchange.com/q/187446/58193
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Jun 10, 2021 at 11:56

2 Answers 2


Hulk's trigger is his heart rate, there are several indications of this:

  • When the Bruce Banner is struggling to not become the Hulk in the factory in The Incredible Hulk, he keeps looking at his heart rate monitor
  • When you are under emotional stress, your heart rate increases
  • It is possible (people in the real world have done it) to control your heart rate to some degree with enough mental discipline
  • It is plausible that the gamma radiation would trigger when enough energy is given to the body (which happens when your heart rate increases)

In The Incredible Hulk, he becomes Hulk when his heart rate breaks 200 bpm. He also trains in yoga to control his stress, which eventually allows him to release The Hulk at will.

  • 2
    That's basically what my answer said...
    – Anonymous
    Commented Jun 15, 2021 at 17:52
  • 3
    @Anonymous I think the 200 is the main part
    – user128845
    Commented Jun 15, 2021 at 17:54
  • and his training with that guy (whats his name?)
    – user128845
    Commented Jun 15, 2021 at 17:55

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