Thursday, December 22, 2011

Weber's Law

Weber's Law is an interesting Law" observed in various fields. It states that to observe some phenomenon in a background the ratio of the smallest perceptual change in a stimulus that can be observed is given by:

Delta S = k S ( Background)

Namely that there exists some constant k for which on can observe a change from an average Background stimulus level.

For example we as humans if we are used to say 70F room temperature may be able to recognize a 3.5F change, so that k is 20. This "law" may extend over some region with the same k.

Now we can think of using Weber's Law in such diverse areas as Economics, namely what level of improvement in say unemployment would be perceived as goo if the total were 10%. Does it hold at a background of 5%. In global warming what change in F would be ascertainable at a background of say 70F?

Apparently cells function this way at the gene product level as well. See the paper by Ferrell. Worth a thought.