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Absolute thresholds

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An absolute threshold (also known variously as the detection threshold, objective threshold, absolute limen, Retz limen, sensation threshold, or absolute sensitivity) is a sensory threshold and is the minimum amount of stimulation required for a person's sense organs to detect a stimulus fifty percent of the time. The concept can be applied to all senses as in:

Originally it was thought that there was some absolute levels which reflected human consciousness,, but later signal detection experiments revealed a gradual onset of detection reflecting probabilities of response to a stimulus at different intensities or levels of the target.

Gustav Fechner did much of the early work determining the absolute thresholds for the sensory modalities. He used three main methods:

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