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The Measurement of Sensation$
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Donald Laming

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198523420

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198523420.001.0001

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The origins of a controversy

The origins of a controversy

(p.1) 1 The origins of a controversy
The Measurement of Sensation

Donald Laming

Oxford University Press

Since 1957, there has been a vigorous controversy about how to measure sensation — not the physical stimulus, but how that stimulus ‘feels’, subjectively, to the individual. The controversy has been fought out between Fechner's Law, that sensation increases as the logarithm of stimulus magnitude, and Stevens' Power Law, that sensation increases as a power function. This chapter explains where those two proposals came from, and introduces some other ideas derived from dimensional analysis in the physical sciences that will be explored in subsequent chapters.

Keywords:   dimensional analysis, Fechner's Law, Stevens' Power Law, sensation

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