QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY. Elements of Psychophysics, Volume I. By Gustav Fechner. Translated by Helmut E. Adler. Elements of Psychophysics, Volume 1. Front Cover. Gustav Theodor Fechner. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, QR code for Elements of Psychophysics. Download Citation on ResearchGate | Elements of psychophysics. Vol. Contains historical introductions on the life of Fechner by E. G. Boring and by H. E. Adler.

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It is claimed that, on the morning of 22 OctoberFechner psycjophysics with a sudden new insight into how to study the mind. This is to be called the fundamental formulain that the deduction of all consequent formulas will be based upon it. In the case of simple lens refraction we abstract from optical aberration.

Fechner’s reasoning has been criticized on the grounds that although stimuli are composite, sensations are not. In short, Weber’s law forms merely the basis for the most numerous psychophtsics important applications of psychic measurement, but not the universal and essential one.

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Gustav Fechner – Wikipedia

The Classical Psychologists pp. These are nevertheless for the present merely opinions and expectations, the verification of which lies in the future. In he was appointed professor of physics. The most famous outcome of his inquiries is the law known as the Weber—Fechner law which may be expressed as follows:.

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. Theorists such as Immanuel Kant had long stated that this was impossible, and that therefore, a science of psychology was also impossible. Holt, Rinehart and Winston- Psychology, Experimental – pages.

Fechner’s work continues to have an influence on modern science, inspiring continued exploration of human perceptual abilities by researchers such as Jan KoenderinkFarley NormanDavid Heegerpsychopbysics others.


The English journalist and amateur scientist Charles Benhaminenabled English-speakers to learn of the effect through the invention of the spinning top that bears his name. In the following chapter one will find this done.

Elements of Psychophysics

He conducted experiments to show that certain abstract forms and proportions are naturally pleasing to our senses, and gave some new illustrations of the working of aesthetic association. The study of medicine also contributed to a loss of religious faith and to becoming atheist.

Weber’s law may in like manner, entirely lose its validity, as soon as the average or normal conditions under which the stimulus produces the sensation are unrealized. The most general and more fundamental basis for psychic measurement is rather those methods by which the relation between stimulus increments and sensation frchner in general is determined, within, as well as without, the off 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.

Fechner speculated that if the corpus callosum fevhner splittwo separate streams elementd consciousness would result – the mind would become two. Let two sensations, whose difference is to be considered, be called g and g ‘, and the corresponding stimuli b and b ‘.

Gustav Fechner

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.

For the present I shall not let it detain me longer. In a later chapter we shall return to the above formula under the name of the difference formula, as one of the simplest consequences of the measurement formula. In order to do this, the relation of the inner process to the stimulus must be known.


His clearest contribution was the demonstration that because the mind was susceptible to measurement and mathematical treatment, psychology had the potential to become a quantified science. From this equation it fechndr that the sensation magnitude g is not to be considered as a simple function of the stimulus value bbut of its relation to the threshold value bwhere the sensation begins psycnophysics disappears.

Common terms and phrases able according activity afterimages appears average error body calculated changes color compared conservation of energy constant errors corresponding depends determined deviations differential sensitivity discussion E. Hartshorne saw also resemblances with the work of Fechner’s contemporary Jules Lequier.

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. Meanwhile it is not the most general formula that can be derived, but one which is only valid under the supposition of particular units of sensation and stimulus, and we still need a direct and absolute deduction instead of the indirect and approximate one.

Classics in the History of Psychology — Fechner (/)

In the form psychophysivs equal increments of sensation are proportional to relative stimulus increments, it may be obtained by differentiating the measurement formula, inasmuch as in this way one returns to the fundamental formula, which contains the expression of the law in this form. Fechner constructed ten rectangles with different ratios of width to length and asked numerous observers to choose the “best” and “worst” rectangle shape.

Whether Fechner and Benham ever actually met face to face for any reason is not known.