The goal of visual psychophysics is the quantification of perceptual experience—understanding the relationship between the external stimulus, the internal representation, and the overt responses. Scaling is one of the major tools in psychophysics to measure the perceived intensity or magnitude of different physical stimuli or to understand the relationships of different stimuli in perceptual space as a function of physical variation. Scaling allows us to infer the relationship between stimuli from their distances within this space. In this chapter, we illustrate and discuss several of the most powerful and commonly used scaling methods, such as direct scaling, indirect scaling, multidimensional scaling, and their theoretical underpinnings. We anticipate that applications of scaling to brain imaging will provide new methods of constraining theories from both approaches.
Keywords: Internal representation, Psychophysical function, Weber’s law, Fechner’s law, Thurstone scaling, Direct scaling, Indirect scaling, Measurement theory, Multidimensional scaling, Neuropsychophysics
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