Quantitative Estimates of Sensory Events


    THE final report of the committee appointed to consider and report upon the possibility of quantitative estimates of sensory events has appeared (Sections A and J, British Association, Dundee, 1939). This committee was appointed in 1932 after Sections A and J of the British Association had held a joint session dealing with the problem. It has been re-appointed each year since. In 1938 a long interim report was presented containing: (a) a historical statement; a summary of recent experimental work; (b) a statement arguing that sensation intensities are not measurable; (c) various notes on this statement; (d) a statemont arguing that sensation intensities are measurable. A subcommittee was appointed to consider whether the views put forward were really irreconcilable. This subcommittee presented a draft report to the British Association this year. It now seems that agreement is impossible. This is scarcely surprising when there is disagreement as to the meaning of ‘measurement’. If it is postulated that this term must be limited to its applicability in physics, then this would rule out the use of the word in relation to much psychological work. Two extreme views hold the field, and a close examination of these views by a member who holds an intermediate view leads to the conclusion that they cannot be reconciled. The report therefore consists of the views of individual members. The discussion is of value, even apart from the data here presented, as illustrating some of the difficulties inherent in such problems.

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    Quantitative Estimates of Sensory Events. Nature 144, 973 (1939). https://doi.org/10.1038/144973c0

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