Perception as interacting psychophysical functions. Could the configuring of features replace a specialised receptor?

David Booth, RPJ Freeman, M Konle, Clare Wainwright, Oliver Sharpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper illustrates how perception is achieved through interactions among the psychophysical functions of judged features of an object. The theory is that the perceiver places processed features in a multidimensional space of discriminal processes. Each dimension is scaled in units of discrimination performance. The zero coordinate of each feature is its level in an internal standard (norm) established by previous experience of that category of object in context. Experiments are reported which show that one, two, or three concurrent single-featured objects matched the multiple features of another object in two ways. Either stimulation from the two objects had discrimination distances from norm that added, or the stimulation by one object was processed through a concept describing stimulation by the other object. It follows that, in this case, perception via a receptor for the multi-featured object can be replaced by a point of balance among receptors for each single feature. The object with its own receptor is the gustatory stimulant L-glutamic acid as its monosodium salt. The features that stimulate diverse gustatory receptors of their own are sodium chloride, citric acid, sucrose, and caffeine. A more complex approach to dimensional coding was developed earlier for photoreceptors in colour judgments. The present approach is modality independent, mathematically simple, and economical in experimental data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-529
Number of pages21
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


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