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A unit for comparing the intensity of any two power levels, given by the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the two levels. Hence a ratio of 10 : 1 corresponds to 1 bel and a ratio of 100 : 1 to 2 bels. For sound measurements, the more common unit is the decibel, which is equal to one-tenth of a bel. [Named after the Scottish-born US scientist Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922), inventor of the telephone]

Subjects: Psychology.

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