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September 1970

Psychophysical Scaling by Schizophrenics and NormalsLine Lengths and Music Preferences

Author Affiliations

From the Perception and Cognition Laboratory, Institute for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Research and Training, Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago. Mr. Shears is currently at Hastings State Hospital, Hastings, Minn.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1970;23(3):249-259. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1970.01750030057009

PSYCHOPHYSICAL scaling of objects or events is a process of matching the number system to empirical domains or an associative binding of schematics to empirics. This study was designed to learn how schizophrenic patients sort the lengths of lines and preferences for musical excerpts into classes and order them in asymmetric relations when the constraints imposed are the rules of category sorting and magnitude estimation.1 In category scaling, the subject matches the available categories to the stimuli so that a continuum (line length or music preference) is partitioned into equal subjective intervals, whereas in magnitude scaling the subject matches a number to each stimulus so that the numbers are proportional to the subjective length or preference experienced by him.

The category scale is based upon the traditional Fechner-Thurstonian assumption that the subject's resolving power, the just noticeable difference or variability, is constant in psychological units (Fechner's logarithmic law). The

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