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Book Chapter

Psychophysics: Concepts, methods, and frontiers


Spitschan,  M       
Research Group Translational Sensory and Circadian Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Hexley, A., Morimoto, T., & Spitschan, M. (2023). Psychophysics: Concepts, methods, and frontiers. In H. Cooper, M. Coutanche, L. MacMullen, A. Panter, D. Rindskopf, & K. Sher (Eds.), APA handbook of research methods in psychology 1: Foundations, planning, measures, and psychometrics (2. ed., pp. 511-528). Washington, DC, USA: American Psychological Association.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-D9B5-2
Fundamental to the human experience is sensing and perceiving properties of the environment. The set of methods in psychological science that concern the measurement of sensory and perceptual phenomena through behavior is called psychophysics. Psychophysics has a large history, and psychophysical measurements continue to be an integral part of sensory and perception science. Recent developments in stimulus control and how experiments are run have provided innovative impulses in the study of how one see and perceive the world around us. The psychophysical literature is immense. This chapter provides a pragmatic approach to psychophysics. It discusses why psychophysics is useful and presents examples from the published literature of psychophysics "in action". The chapter also examines and discusses the ingredients of a psychophysical experiment: the measure, the stimulus, the observer, the task, the method, and the analysis. Finally, it discusses the current frontiers of psychophysical experimentation.