Weber’s Law

Weber’s Law states that the ratio of the increment threshold to the background intensity is a constant. So when you are in a noisy environment you must shout to be heard while a whisper works in a quiet room. And when you measure increment thresholds on various intensity backgrounds, the thresholds increase in proportion to the background.

If you lift up and hold a weight of 2.0 kg, you will notice that it takes some effort. If you add to this weight another 0.05 kg and lift, you may not notice any difference between the apparent or subjective weight between the 2.0 kg and the 2.1 kg weights. If you keep adding weight, you may find that you will only notice the difference when the additional weight is equal to 0.2 kg. The increment threshold for detecting the difference from a 2.0 kg weight is 0.2 kg. The just noticeable difference (jnd) is 0.2 kg.


Now start with a 5.0 kg weight. If you add weight to this, you will find that the just noticeable difference is 0.5 kg. It takes 0.5 kg added to the 5.0 kg weight for you to notice an apparent difference.


For the weight of magnitude, I, of 2.0 kg, the increment threshold for detecting a difference was a I (pronounces, delta I) of 0.2 kg.


For the weight of magnitude, I = 5.0 kg, the increment threshold I = 0.5 kg.


The ratio of I/I for both instances (0.2/2.0 = 0.5/5.0 = 0.1) is the same. This is Weber’s Law.


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