Psychological Research

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 189–207 | Cite as

Psychophysical study of Numbers

V. Preferred state theory of matching functions
  • John C. Baird


This paper describes an extension of Preferred State Theory (Baird, 1975) to deal with matching functions produced by such techniques as magnitude and category estimation. It is assumed by this theory that all stimulus attributes are transformed into perceptual states according to the operation of mathematical base systems. Intensities are matched across attributes in terms of the number of preferred states generated by each. The theory provides quantitative explanations for a variety of psychophysical effects, including the prothetic-metathetic distinction, the selective applicability of Fechner's and Stevens' laws, and the success of transitivity tests among exponents.


State Theory Base System Prefer State Stimulus Attribute Perceptual State 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Baird
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA

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