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staircase method


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A psychophysical method introduced in 1962 by the US cognitive scientist Tom Norman Cornsweet (born 1929) in which, for absolute thresholds, a variable stimulus is presented repeatedly and is adjusted upwards whenever it is not perceived and downwards whenever it is perceived, and for difference thresholds a variable stimulus is adjusted to increase its absolute difference from a standard stimulus whenever the difference is not discriminated or is adjusted to decrease its absolute difference from the standard stimulus whenever the difference is discriminated. Also called the up-and-down method. Compare method of average error, method of constant stimuli, method of limits.

Subjects: Psychology.


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