Absolute Threshold (Encyclopedia of Psychology)
The minimal amount of energy necessary to stimulate the sensory receptors.
The method of testing for the absolute threshold is similar for different sensory systems. Thus, the tester can briefly present a light or a sound (or any other kind of stimulus) at different, low intensities until the observer is unable to detect the presence of the stimulus. In such a task, the person may undergo thousands of trials before the researcher can determine the threshold.
While the absolute threshold is a useful concept, it does not exist in reality. That is, on one occasion, an individual might be unable to detect a certain faint light...
|EXAMPLES OF ABSOLUTE THRESHOLDS|
|Sense||Example of threshold|
|Vision||The amount of light present if someone held up a single candle 30 mi (48 km) away from us, if our eyes were used to the dark. If a person in front of you held up a candle and began backing up at the rate of one foot (30 cm) per second, that person would have to back up for 44 hours before the flame became invisible.|
(The entire section is 422 words.)
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