Weber and Fechner - Bethel University

Weber and Fechner - Bethel University

Weber and Fechner Psychophysics Gustave Fechner (1801-1887) Son of a Lutheran pastor Studied medicine, then his interests turned to physics 1834: appointed professor at Leipzig University --becomes interested in studying sensation.

Is known for his study of AFTERIMAGES Afterimages Examples of some of the illusions with which Fechner worked. Looking into the sun Vision problems from looking at the sun through colored glasses Depression.

Struggle between the prevalent scientific "mechanistic" view of the world (nightview) and his own view that the world is alive and conscious as well (dayview) Dr Mises and Dr Fechner Fechner wrote under the pseudonym of Dr Mises to express his "dayview" and satirize the "nightview" For example, in The Little Book of Life after Death Dr Mises speeks of human existence as occurring in 3 stages:

Sleep in mother's womb Alternating between sleep and awake (+ glimpses of stage 3) Becoming a part of the Supreme spirit. Connecting body and mind Fechner's view is one of DOUBLE

ASPECTISM He wanted to be able to demonstrate a connection between body and mind, so scientific people could accept the existence of mind. He saw Weber's law that connects sensation and perception as doing this. Webers law Highlights the fact that SENSATION (body-linked) and PERCEPTION (mind

linked) progress in two different and distinct ways And are linked one to the other by a mathematical equation Hence, body and mind are both distinct and connected. Weber's Law: the jnd (S2-S1)/S1 = K, where S2-S1= jnd Let us suppose that we are working w/ the perception of differences in weight, and the measure is paperclips. Let us suppose

that: S1=2, S2=4, then K=1 How many paperclips do you need to feel they were heavier than 4 paperclips? Etc Sensation-Perception data Sensation (S) (geometric scale)

2 4 8 16 32 64 128 Perception (P) (arithmetic scale)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 P=log S in base (K+1) jnd Sensation-Perception graph 140 120

100 80 S P 60 40 20 0 1 2 3 4

5 6 7 Weber's function, mind and body

S= sensation = sensory organ = body P= perception = mind Hence:the mind and the body are different and separate, follow different laws And: The mind and the body are connected by a mathematical relationship. Thus: The mind can be studied scientifically. Psychology can be a science. Psychophysics

The study of the relation between the body and the mind, in matters of sensation and perception. Fechner is the founder of this branch of psychology. 1860, the date of publication of Elements of Psychophysics is sometimes suggested as the birth date of psychology as a science. Esthetics What makes something beautiful? Is it a question of proportions? Fechner is one of the first people also to

address the question experimentally. The end

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