Hidden constraints in classical conclusions: loudness inferred from bounded Fechnerian integration will return initial stipulations about loudness-difference size only for linear loudness

In Audio Engineering Society 149th Convention. New York, NY, USA: pp. 1-15 (2020)
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Abstract

A major question in sensory science is how a sensation of magnitude F (such as loudness) depends upon a sensory stimulus of physical intensity I (such as a sound-pressure-wave of root-mean-square sound-pressure-level). An empirical just-noticeable sensation difference (∆F)_j at F_j specifies a just-noticeable intensity difference (∆I)_j at I_j. Classically, intensity differences accumulate from a stimulus-detection threshold I_th up to a desired intensity I. The corresponding sensation differences likewise accumulate up to F(I) from F(I_th ), the non-zero sensation (as suggested by hearing studies) at I_th. Consequently, sensation growth F(I) can be obtained through classic Fechnerian integration, in which some empirically-based relation for the Weber Fraction, ∆I⁄I, is combined with either Fechner’s Law ∆F=B or Ekman’s Law (∆F⁄F)=g. The number of steps in I is equated to the number of steps in F; an infinite series ensues, whose higher-order terms are traditionally ignored (Fechnerian integration). But also, remarkably, so are the integration bounds I_th and F(I_th ). Here, we depart from orthodoxy by including those bounds. Bounded Fechnerian integration is first used to derive hypothetical sensation-growth equations for which the differential ∆F(I)=F(I+∆I)-F(I) does indeed return either Fechner’s Law or Ekman’s Law respectively. One relation emerges: linear growth of sensation F with intensity I. Subsequently, 24 sensation-growth equations F(I) that the author had derived using bounded Fechnerian integration (12 equations for the Weber Fraction (∆I⁄I), each combined with either Fechner’s Law or with Ekman’s Law) are scrutinized for whether their differentials F(I+∆I)-F(I) return the respective Fechner’s Law or Ekman’s Law, particularly in the previously-unexamined limits (∆I⁄I)≪1 and (∆I⁄I)→0. Classic claims made by Luce and Edwards (1958) are then examined, viz., that three popular forms of the Weber Fraction, when combined with Fechner’s Law, produce sensation-magnitude equations that subsequently return the selfsame Fechner’s Law. When sensation-growth equations are derived here using bounded Fechnerian integration, Luce and Edwards (1958) prove to be wrong.

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