Hahn, John F. Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Last reviewed:January 2019
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- Threshold methods
- Method of limits
- Method of constant stimuli
- Method of adjustment
- Subjective metric methods
- Direct-ratio discrimination methods
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Methods for the quantitative study of the relations between physical stimulus magnitudes and the corresponding magnitudes of sensation. Psychophysical methods are psychological investigative techniques that study the relations of stimuli to the sensations and perceptions that they produce. For example, psychophysical methods could be utilized by investigators to establish the relations between the physical intensity of a light and its perceived brightness, the physical magnitude of a sound and its perceived loudness (Fig. 1), or the concentration of a sugar solution and its observed sweetness. To establish these relations, measurement scales are needed not only for physical magnitudes, but also for subjective magnitudes. Subjective scales, of course, are not obtained directly from observation. They are theoretical models that summarize observed relations between stimuli and responses. See also: Behavioral psychophysics; Perception; Psychology; Sensation
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