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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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Stevens' Power Law

Stevens' Power Law

(p.55) 5 Stevens' Power Law
The Measurement of Sensation

Donald Laming

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces Stevens' direct methods of magnitude estimation, magnitude production, and cross-modality matching. It summarizes Stevens' estimates of exponent values for twenty-four different stimulus continua; the extension of Stevens' ideas to non-metric continua and to inverse attributes; and compatibility studies showing that the different direct methods applied to the same continua yield mutually compatible estimates of the exponents. The chapter ends with three interpretations of these findings that are explored in subsequent chapters: (i) as a purely operational characterization; (ii) as a definitive measure of sensation; and (iii) a belief that the power law transform is realized in elementary neural function.

Keywords:   cross-modality matching, definitive measure, exponent estimates, inverse attributes, magnitude estimation, magnitude production, neural function, non-metric continua, operational characterization

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