Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology

The three-stimulus problem: A further comparison of neural and psychophysical responses in the somesthetic system

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A comparison has been made between neural and subjective responses to electrical pulse stimulation in the peripheral somesthetic system. The stimuli patterns in both cases consisted of 27 different spacing configurations of three electrical pulses, spaced such that in all cases the stimuli were fused into a single sensation without perceptual microstructure and varying only in perceived intensities. The results of this experiment revealed that the psychophysical estimates of intensity were closely dependent upon the sum amplitude of the triple neural response and independent of the total duration and spacing of the stimulus event except as they influenced the neural amplitude. It was possible on the basis of previously measured refractory-period data to predict the results of both he neural and subjective parts of the experiment. The suggestion was also made that this conclusion may be extrapolated to continuing series of neural responses and that, therefore, under more physiological conditions also, temporal spacing has only an indirect effect on information transmission. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved). © 1960 American Psychological Association.


01 Feb 1960


Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology