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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 physiological basis of sensation

The physiological basis of sensation

(p.69) 6 The physiological basis of sensation
The Measurement of Sensation

Donald Laming

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the hypothesis that the power law transform is realized in elementary neural function. It begins by examining studies that have looked for power law relationships between stimulus magnitude and the frequency of discharge in primary neural response. Physiological responses do not correlate well with magnitude estimates, and the electrophysiological data tell us nothing. The idea that sensation is related in some simple manner to physiological function meets further difficulty in the variability of independent estimates of the power law exponent, chiefly for 1000 Hz tones; and there are some participants who do not give power law estimates, but veridical estimates instead. Finally, there are sensory illusions that are intelligible only on the basis that perception is differentially coupled to the stimulus. Differential coupling precludes any direct relationship with sensation.

Keywords:   differential coupling, neural function, power law, power law exponent, sensory illusions, variability, veridical estimates

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