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psychophysics

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n psychophysics the branch of psychology concerned with quantitative relations between physical stimuli and their psychological effects
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Psychophysics The science of the connection between nerve action and consciousness; the science which treats of the relations of the psychical and physical in their conjoint operation in man; the doctrine of the relation of function or dependence between body and soul.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n psychophysics The science of the relations between stimuli and the sensations which they evoke.
    • n psychophysics Psychophysics was defined by Fechner in 1860 as “an exact science of the functional relations or relations of dependency between body and mind, or more generally between the bodily and mental, the physical and psychical world”; and Wundt, in 1902, declares in the same spirit that psychophysics is to be understood as “an investigation of the relations that may be shown empirically to obtain between the psychical and the physical aspects of vital processes.” It may, however, be questioned whether a definition of this generality can be made useful for scientific purposes. It is, no doubt, implied in such phrases as ‘the psychophysical organism,’ by which we mean the correlated body-mind of actual experience, the ensouled body or the embodied mind, and ‘psychophysical evolution,’ by which we mean the evolution of this correlated body and mind. Nevertheless, a science cannot remain poised between two existing sciences; it must have a positive content of its own. In other words, psychophysics, viewed in this very general way, must soon show a tendency to fall either toward the side of psychology or toward that of biology, and to be subsumed under the one or the other of the sciences whose methods and results it is supposed to relate and combine. It was, perhaps, by an implicit recognition of this danger, reinforced by the desire to hold fast to all that might be tenable in the Fechnerian definition, that the meaning of psychophysics was, until quite recently, narrowed down to that special field of research in which Fechner had shown himself especially active—to the correlation of intensity of external stimulus with intensity of sensation. In this sense we speak of the four classical methods (least differences, right and wrong cases, average error, mean gradations) as ‘the psychophysical methods,’ and of Weber's Law as ‘the psychophysical law.’ It is needless to say that Fechner would never have assented to this restriction; that apart, however, the new definition is so obviously artificial, and the delimitation of subject-matter which it suggests is so obviously accidental, that it has neither logical standing nor prospect of survival. Indeed, it has at no time found acceptance among psychophysical workers: at the very least, the experiments made upon simple and compound reactions, and upon what is still known as the ‘time sense,’ have been also included under psychophysics. Of late years, the term has taken on a better and a broader meaning, a meaning which preserves the spirit if not the letter of Fechner's definition, and which promises to settle down into something like finality. Psychophysics may now be defined as that department of experimental psychology which aims, not at introspective analysis, but rather at the determination of the quantitative norms of the mental life. Thus, the reaction experiment is a psychological experiment if it is made with a view to the introspective analysis of the action-consciousness; it is a psychophysical experiment if its object is the determination of the time-values of certain typical organic reactions. In the former case, it can be performed only by trained students of psychology; in the latter, it may be made a means to the comparison of the capacities of children, the lower races of man, and even the higher animals. So the time-sense experiment is a psychological experiment, if our aim is the discovery of the conscious basis or vehicle of the time-consciousness; a psychophysical experiment, if we wish to establish the norms of temporal discrimination, or to institute comparative studies of the time-discrimination of different ages and races. Psychophysics has fallen to the one side—to the side of psychology: for the establishment of quantitative norms of the mental life must be intrusted to those who have made mind their special study. At the same time, when the norms have once been established, there is no further need of introspection; psychophysics becomes a matter of technique and of external observation; and, in so far, the Fechnerian view is retained. It may be added that the results of psychophysics, while they must be obtained by the experimental psychologist working, at any rate in the first instance, within the psychological laboratory, are of great importance both for anthropology and for medicine; and that the methods, onoe worked out, may be carried a field and thus applied under conditions widely remote from those of their first elaboration. See experimental psychology.
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Psycho-, + physics,

Usage

In literature:

I examined them with reference to eight different psychophysical functions.
"Psychology and Industrial Efficiency" by Hugo Münsterberg
We wish to know what actual psychophysical functionings correspond to this unity in variety.
"Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1" by Various
From such a point of view, the total mental life can be brought into the psychophysical scheme.
"Psychotherapy" by Hugo Münsterberg
This process represents a real infection of ideas, feelings, emotions, or other psychophysical states.
"Introduction to the Science of Sociology" by Robert E. Park
Lowest in the scale is the view of religion which regards it as the result of abnormal physical or psychophysical conditions.
"The Christian Faith Under Modern Searchlights" by William Hallock Johnson
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In science:

This line of inquiry has been termed the ‘inverse problem of design’ by Joseph Goguen (Goguen, 2000) and ‘Information Psychophysics’ by Colin Ware (Ware, 2003).
Human Information Processing with the Personal Memex
Information Psychophysics is one step above Psychophysics, which examines how a sensation becomes a perception; Information Psychophysics concerns presenting the user with the perceptual substrates for comprehension and insight.
Human Information Processing with the Personal Memex
Psychophysical and neurophysiological experiments suggest that the brain performs multichannel spatial frequency and orientation initial analysis of any image formed on the retina and not just texture [6, 11].
Texture synthesis and nonparametric resampling of random fields
Roederer, J. G. 2008 The Physics and Psychophysics of Music: An Introduction 4th ed., Springer, Berlin.
Music in Terms of Science
To accomplish this, the transformations are based on widely accepted graphic arts and psychophysical principles, which are the most precise definition available of what it means to “preserve the appearance” of an image.
Reproduction of Images by Gamut Mapping and Creation of New Test Charts in Prepress Process
This is the regime of a very large body research in the life sciences, including the neurosciences and cognitive sciences, where the cost of collecting data is often very high (e.g., studies of microarray data typically have N1/2 = 1 to 3 ; for psychophysical experiments, N = 20 is a typical sample size).
A frequentist two-sample test based on Bayesian model selection
The Bayesian image retrieval system, PicHunter: theory, implementation, and psychophysical experiments.
Noisy Search with Comparative Feedback
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