CONVENTIONS OF MEASUREMENT IN PSYCHOPHYSICS: VON KRIES ON THE SO-CALLED PSYCHOPHYSICAL LAW

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Authors
  1. Niall, K.K.
Corporate Authors
Defence and Civil Inst of Environmental Medicine, Downsview ONT (CAN)
Abstract
A translation of von Kries's (1882) paper 'On the measurement of intensive magnitudes and on the so-called psychophysical law' is accompanied by a commentary. Von Kries claims that intensive magnitudes are not measurable in themselves, because the establishment of an equivalence between different steps in a scale of intensity does not make any sense without further clarification. Where intensive magnitudes are determined in a domain of natural sciences, he claims this is only a matter of counting, and of the measurement of temporal and spatial magnitudes. Every measurement of intensity should then be reduced to these operations by explicit conventions. Likewise, we can only speak of the measurement of sensations once we have established an arbitrary convention that determines what we will consider equal. The debate whether sensation varies with the logarithm of stimulus intensity, or in direct proportion to stimulus intensity, is then not a difference over matters of fact. Instead it is an empty dispute over words that is rooted in misunderstanding.
Report Number
DCIEM-RP-94-18 — Reprint
Date of publication
01 Mar 1994
Number of Pages
31
Reprinted from
Spatial Vision, vol 9, no 3, 1995, p 275-305
DSTKIM No
96-02909
CANDIS No
278861
Format(s):
Document Image stored on Optical Disk;Hardcopy

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