Prothetic sensations are those attributes of sensation that represent the aspect of "how much", or "how intense" - as opposed to the so-called metathetic attributes that account for the aspect of "what" and "where" (Stevens & Galanter 1957a, Stevens 1957a). Prominent examples of prothetic sensations are visual brightness, and auditory loudness. Examples of methatetic attributes are visual contour and auditory pitch.
Since the days of Weber and Fechner, psychophysics was much concerned about the "sensory metrics" of prothetic attributes. The first "psychophysical law", i.e., the Weber-Fechner law, already constructed a relationship between just noticeable differences and sensory scales. That concept was complemented and modified by Stevens (1962a). While maintaining a relationship between JNDs and sensory metrics, Stevens replaced the logarithmic Weber-Fechner law by a power-law.
There are quite a number of interesting aspects in those relationships which deserve to be thoroughly studied .
Author: Ernst Terhardt firstname.lastname@example.org Feb 29, 2000