This volume contains the proceedings of the "Conference on Ratio Scaling of Psychological Magnitudes" held at the Sheraton Inn and Conference Center on the campus of Syracuse University, 31 July to 2 August 1989. The conference was held to honor the memory of S.S. Stevens, a pioneer in the scaling of sensory magnitudes and the originator of the method of magnitude estimation. It was fitting and proper that his wife, Mrs. Geraldine Stevens, the Honorary Chairperson of the Conference, gave the opening remarks. Geraldine Stevens "Small Oral History" of the founding and growth of the Psycho-acoustic laboratory at Harvard University, reproduced in the following section, provided a fitting beginning to this conference. Mrs. Stevens reflected that she could "only wish Smitty could have been here with you today to share the fun, hear about your progress, and add his point of view."
The Conference brought together, for the first time, 20 authorities on the procedures of ratio scaling, among them psychophysicists, physiologists, and theoreticians. The purpose of the Conference was to reassess whether or not psychological magnitudes can be measured, and whether the judgments of psychological magnitudes constitute the basis for the construction of a ratio scale. An ancillary topic was whether any single method could stand out as a potential standard technique for measuring psychological magnitudes. To these ends, most of the participants focused on the issue as it applied to the study of sensory systems. The organizers of the Conference, as well as all the participants, felt that the topics discussed were both timely and important, because this field of psychology, and the sensory sciences in particular, suffers greatly from the lack of a uniform testing procedure to assess suprathreshold sensations. Whereas the discussions were at times quite lively, animated, and occasionally confrontational, they too were congenial and thoughtful and, all in all, led to a consensus on many issues relevant to psychophysical scaling methodology.
The oral history presented by Geraldine Stevens alluded to the support that the armed forces (i.e., Army Air Forces and the Office of Naval Research) gave to Smitty Stevens and his colleagues to ensure that their work would continue unabated. We also wish to thank the Armstrong Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory at Wright--Patterson Air Force Base and Mrs. Joanne Covo for their generous support that made the conference and this volume possible.
In addition to all the participants and invited guests, we also wish to thank the other members of the organizing committee, Drs. Ronald Ver