Psychophysics: The Fundamentals

By George A. Gescheider | Go to book overview

14
Some Fundamental Issues in Psychophysical Scaling

In this final chapter, a few controversial issues in scaling that have led to advances in psychophysical methodology and theory are considered. Some of the questions raised in this chapter have yet to be answered. For example, is the power law an accurate description of the relationship between stimulus and sensation and, if so, is the physiological correlate of the power law to be found in the rules by which sensory receptors transduce environmental stimulation into neural activity? What is the explanation for the finding that different scaling procedures produce different psychological scales? What are the best ways to scale psychological experiences that vary simultaneously along several psychological dimensions at the same time? What are the integrating principles in psychophysics that make fundamental connections between the diverse experimental findings and theories of psychophysics?


INTERPRETATIONS OF THE POWER LAW

There is little doubt that the power function represents the best description of the relationship between an observer's magnitude estimation judgments and stimulus intensity. However, there is more than one possible interpretation of this finding.


Sensory Transducer Theory

One interpretation of the power law is that it reflects the operation of sensory mechanisms as they transduce stimulus energy into neural activity. S. S. Stevens ( 1970, 1971b) has proposed that, because the neural output of

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Psychophysics: The Fundamentals
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments x
  • 1- Psychophysical Measurement Of Thresholds: Differential Sensitivity 1
  • 2- Psychophysical Measurement Of Thresholds: Absolute Sensitivity 16
  • 3- The Classical Psychophysical Methods 45
  • 4- Classical Psychophysical Theory 73
  • 5- The Theory of Signal Detection 105
  • 6- Further Considerations of Tsd 125
  • 7- Procedures of Tsd 142
  • 8- Some Applications of Tsd 166
  • 9- The Measurement of Sensory Attributes And Discrimination Scales 183
  • 10- Partition Scales 207
  • 11- Psychophysical Ratio Scaling 231
  • 12- Evaluation of Ratio Scaling Methods 264
  • 13- The Psychophysical Law 296
  • 14- Some Fundamental Issues In Psychophysical Scaling 327
  • Conclusion 369
  • Appendix 371
  • Glossary 392
  • References 408
  • Author Index 425
  • Subject Index 431
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