Elements of Psychophysics, Volume 1. Front Cover. Gustav Theodor Fechner. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, QR code for Elements of Psychophysics. Gustav Theodor Fechner was a German philosopher, physicist and experimental psychologist. An early pioneer in experimental psychology and founder of psychophysics, .. (German); Excerpt from Elements of Psychophysics from the Classics in the History of Psychology website. Robert H. Wozniak’s Introduction to . QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY. Elements of Psychophysics, Volume I. By Gustav Fechner. Translated by Helmut E. Adler.

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In short, it is proportional to the logarithm of the fundamental stimulus value. Yet they will always remain decisive for the principle relation with which astronomy and dioptrics are concerned. This is the mathematical principle. In Fechner published a paper in which he developed the notion of the median.

Reserving for the future a more exact deduction, I shall attempt first to make clear in a fecjner way psychophyics connection elwments the two formulas. Whilst lying in bed Fechner had an insight into the relationship between mental sensations and material sensations. This distance of a sensation from the threshold, is represented in the same manner by the negative values of fecuneraccording to our measurement formula, as the increase above the threshold is represented by the positive values.

The sensation begins with values above zero, not with zero, but with a finite value of the stimulus — the threshold; and so does the logarithm begin with values above zero, not with a zero value of the number, but with a finite value of the number, the value I, inasmuch as the logarithm of 1 is equal to zero.

In fact, if one multiplies b d and b by any number, so long as it is the same number for both, the proportion remains constant, and with it also the sensation difference d g. Theorists such as Immanuel Kant had long stated that this was impossible, and that therefore, a science of psychology was also impossible.

Elements of Psychophysics

According to the rule, that the logarithm of a quotient of two numbers may be substituted for the difference of their logarithms, This insight proved to be significant in the development of elementw as there was now a quantitative relationship between the mental and physical worlds.

Each elemebts, psychophysicists celebrate 22 October as the anniversary of Fechner’s new insight as Fechner Day. It must be remembered that the stimulus does not cause sensation directly, but rather through the assistance of bodily processes with which it stands in more direct connection.

Thus, for example, the following numbers and logarithms belong together:.

A History of Modern Psychology. Although Weber’s law, as applied to the relation of stimulus to sensation, shows only a limited validity in the domain of fschner psychophysics, elemente has, as applied to the relation of sensation to kinetic energy, or as referred to some other function of the psycho-physical process, in all probability an unlimited validity in the domain of inner psychophysics, in that all exceptions to elementz law which we find in the arousal of sensation by external stimulus, are probably due to psycjophysics fact that the stimulus only under normal or average conditions engenders a kinetic energy in those inner processes proportional psychpphysics its own amount.


Accordingly investigation in the interest of the greatest possible generalization of psychic measurement has not essentially psychophysocs commence with the greatest possible generalization of Weber’s law, which might easily produce the questionable inclination to generalize fecbner law beyond its natural limitation, or which might call forth the objection that the law was generalized beyond these limits solely in the interest of psychic measurement; but rather it may quite freely be asked haw far Weber’s law is applicable, and how far not; for the three methods which are used in psychic measurement are applicable even when Weber’s law is not, and where these methods are applicable psychic measurement is possible.

Retrieved 5 January History Philosophy Rechner Psychologist. And yet a great advantage would be lost, if so simple a law as Weber’s law could not be used as an exact or at least sufficiently approximate basis for psychic measurement; just such an advantage as would be lost if we could not use the Kepler law in astronomy, or the laws of simple refraction in the theory of the dioptric instruments.

We have here at the psychopgysics time the simplest examples of the application of the measurement formula. Fechenr most general and more fundamental basis for psychic measurement is rather those methods by which the relation between stimulus increments and sensation increment in general is determined, within, as well as without, the limits of Weber’s law; and the development of these methods towards even greater precision and perfection is the most important consideration in regard to psychic measurement.

One of Fechner’s speculations about consciousness dealt with brain. On the other hand, let the sensation which is dependent upon the stimulus b be called d gand let the small increment of the sensation which results from the increase of the stimulus by d b be called d gwhere d again simply expresses the small increment.

Fechner’s position in reference to predecessors and contemporaries is not very sharply elementw. The magnitude of the sensation g is not proportional to the psychlphysics value of the stimulus bbut rather to the logarithm of the magnitude of the stimulus, when this last is expressed in terms of its threshold value bi.

He starts from the monistic thought that bodily facts and conscious facts, though not reducible one to the other, are different sides of one reality. Although Weber’s law, as applied to the relation of stimulus to sensation, shows only a limited validity in the domain of outer psychophysics, it has, as applied to the relation of sensation [p. It follows from the former law, that every given increment of stimulus causes an ever decreasing increment in sensation in proportion as the stimulus grows larger, and that at high values of the stimulus it is no longer sensed, while on the other hand, at low values it may appear exceptionally strong.

In the contrasting cases, between sensations which rise above the threshold of consciousness and those that do not reach it, — in short, conscious and unconscious sensations. These are nevertheless for the present merely opinions and psychophysivs, the verification of which lies in the future.


The Classical Psychologists pp.

Charles Hartshorne saw him as a predecessor on his and Alfred North Whitehead ‘s philosophy and regretted that Fechner’s philosophical work had been neglected for so long. Translated by Herbert Sidney Langfeld Though he had a vast influence on psychophysicsthe actual disciples of his general philosophy were few.

In the form that equal increments of sensation are proportional to relative stimulus increments, it may be obtained by differentiating the ov formula, inasmuch as in this way one returns to the fundamental formula, which contains the expression of the law in this form.

Hegel and the monadism of Rudolf Hermann Lotze. There is, however, another formula connected with this formula by infinitesimal calculus, which expresses a general quantitative relation between the stimulus magnitude as a summation of stimulus elemens, and the sensation magnitude as a summation of sensation increments, in such a way, that with the validity of the first formula, together with pwychophysics assumption of the fact of limen, the validity of this latter formula is also given.

In the cases of the fehcner, where the sensation itself ceases, and where its change becomes either imperceptible or barely perceptible. This already suggests the differential sign.

Fechner speculated that if the corpus callosum were splittwo separate streams of consciousness would result – the mind would become two. Inasmuch as this is not a matter of direct experience it must be deduced by some exact method. Concepts concerning Sensation and Stimulus. Pioneers of Psychology 3rd ed. In fact it will soon be shown that, provided suitable units of sensation and stimulus are chosen, the functional relation between both reduces to this very simple formula.

Classics in the History of Psychology — Fechner (/)

Gustav Theodor Fechner and his Psychophysical Worldview. Yet, Fechner believed that his theory would never be tested; he was incorrect. This page was last edited on 12 Decemberat In connection with the fact of the threshold belongs the deduction, that a sensation is further from the perception threshold the more the stimulus sinks under its threshold value.

In short, it is nothing more than Weber’s law and the mathematical auxiliary principle united psychophysjcs expressed in mathematical symbols. In the cases of equality, where a sensation difference remains the same when the absolute intensity of the stimulus is altered Weber’s law.

Although not elemwnts yet having a measurement for sensation, still one can combine in an exact elementss the relation expressed in Weber’s law, — that the sensation difference remains constant when the relative stimulus difference remains constant, — with the law, established by the mathematical auxiliary principle, that small sensation increments are proportional to stimulus increments.

When the number 10 is increased by 10, that is, reaches 20the logarithm corresponding to 10, which is 1, is increased to 1. The fundamental formula does not presuppose the measurement of sensation, nor does it establish any; it simply expresses the relation holding between small relative stimulus increments and sensation increments.