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Sensory threshold is a theoretical concept used in psychophysics. A stimulus that is less intense than the sensory threshold will not elicit any sensation. The concept can be applied to all senses as in:
Several different sensory thresholds have been defined;
- Absolute threshold: the lowest level at which a stimulus can be detected.
- Recognition threshold: the level at which a stimulus can not only be detected but also recognised.
- Differential threshold the level at which an increase in a detected stimulus can be perceived.
- Terminal threshold: the level beyond which a stimulus is no longer detected.
Aviation use. When related to motion in any of the possible six degrees of freedom (6-DoF), the fact that sensory thresholds exist is why it is essential that aircraft have blind-flying instruments. Sustained flight in cloud is not possible by `seat-of-the-pants' cues alone since errors build up due to aircraft movements below the pilot's sensory threshold, ultimately leading to loss of control.
- In flight simulators with motion platforms, the motion sensory thresholds are utilised in the technique known as `acceleration-onset cueing'. This is where a motion platform, having made the initial acceleration that is sensed by the simulator crew, the platform is re-set to approximately its neutral position by being moved at a rate below the sensory threshold and is then ready to respond to the next acceleration demanded by the simulator computer.
- Dark adaptation threshold
- Detection theory
- Critical flicker fusion threshold
- Odor detection threshold
- Perceptual measures
- Sensory analysis
- Threshold detection
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