The bulletin of mathematical biophysics

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 1–13 | Cite as

A neural mechanism for discrimination: II. Discrimination of weights

  • A. S. Householder


A theoretical central mechanism for the discrimination of intensities as previously developed, together with plausible assumptions concerning the receptors, are employed for the derivation of the discriminable difference between lifted weights as a function of the smaller of these weights. The function so derived depends upon three parameters, one parameter being the weight of the supporting member. Some empirical data are compared with the theoretical predictions, and a few remarks are added to describe the physiological significance of the parameters.


Stimulus Intensity Neural Mechanism Inhibitory Neuron Difference Limen Mathematical Biophysics 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adrian, E. D. 1932.The mechanism of nervous action. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  2. Erlanger, Joseph and Herbert S. Gasser, 1937.Electrical Signs of nervous activity. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  3. von Frey, M. 1913. “Studien über den Kraftsinn”,Zeit. für Biol.,63, 129–54.Google Scholar
  4. Holway, Alfred H. and Leo M. Hurvich, 1937. “On the discrimination of minimal differences in weight: I. A theory of differential sensitivity.”Jour. Psych.,4, 309–332.Google Scholar
  5. Holway, Alfred H., Janet E. Smith and Michael J. Zigler. 1937. “On the discrimination of minimal differences in weight: II. Number of available elements as variant.”Jour. Exper. Psycho.,20, 371–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Holway, Alfred H. and Carroll C. Pratt. 1936. “The Weber-ratio for intensitive discrimination.”Psych. Rev.,43, 322–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Householder, A. S., 1939. “A neural mechanism for discrimination.”Psychometrika,4, 45–58.MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Landahl, H. D., 1938. “A contribution to the mathematical biophysics of psychophysical discrimination”,Psychometrika,3, 107–125.MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Landahl, H. D., 1939. “Contributions to the mathematical biophysics of the central nervous system”.Bull. Math. Biophysics,1, 95–118.Google Scholar
  10. Landahl, H. D. 1940. “Discrimination between temporally separated stimuli.”Bull. Math. Biophysics,2, 00.Google Scholar
  11. Matthews, Bryan H. C. 1933. “Nerve endings in mammalian muscle”.Jour. Physiol.,78, 1–53.Google Scholar
  12. Oberlin, Kermit W. 1934.Sensitivity to lifted weights over a wide range of the stimulus. Harvard Ph.D. Thesis, Harvard University.Google Scholar
  13. Piéron, Henri. 1933. “Les bases sensorielles de la connaissance”.Act. Sci. et Ind.,377, 7–21. Paris. Hermann et cie.Google Scholar
  14. Rashevsky, N. 1938 a.Mathematical Biophysics. Chicago. The University of Chicago Press.MATHGoogle Scholar
  15. Rashevsky, N. 1938 b. “Contribution to the mathematical biophysics of visual perception with special reference to the theory of aesthetic values of geometrical patterns”.Psychometrika,3, 253–272.MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Thurstone, L. L. 1927. “Psychophysical analysis”.Am. Jour. Psych.,38, 368–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychometric Corporation 1940

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. S. Householder
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations