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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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A reinterpretation of sensory discrimination—the χ2 model

A reinterpretation of sensory discrimination—the χ2 model

(p.42) 4 A reinterpretation of sensory discrimination—the χ2 model
The Measurement of Sensation

Donald Laming

Oxford University Press

The logarithm of a χ2 variable is approximately normal. For the number of degrees of freedom needed to model threshold discriminations between separate stimuli, the approximation is very good. So, the normal model of Chapter 3 can be replaced with a χ2 model of equal precision in which the variable is linear with respect to stimulus magnitude. More to the point, the χ2 model can accommodate the detection of increments added to a uniform background field, the normal model cannot. The χ2 model assumes a differential coupling to the physical stimulus, a coupling that is readily realized in the elementary organization of the receptive fields of sensory neurones. Weber's Law follows directly from differential coupling to the physical stimulus. Exit Fechner's Law.

Keywords:   χ2 model, differential coupling, Fechner's Law, increment detection, normal model, receptive fields, Weber's law

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