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J Hist Behav Sci. 2009 Winter;45(1):56-65. doi: 10.1002/jhbs.20349.

Early alternative derivations of Fechner's law.

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  • 1Psychology, University of Padova, Padua, Italy.


Historians of psychology, notably Boring, fostered Fechner's idea that Weber's law is the indispensable basis for the derivation of the logarithmic psychophysical law. However, it is shown here that Bernoulli in 1738 and Thurstone in 1931 derived the logarithmic law using principles other than Weber's law and that Fechner and Thurstone based their derivations on the principles originally employed by Bernoulli. It is concluded that awareness of researchers about Bernoulli's and Thurstone's derivations could expand the directions of research on the form of the psychophysical law. (c) 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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