Physics of psychophysics: Stevens and Weber-Fechner laws are transfer functions of excitable media

Mauro Copelli, Antônio C. Roque, Rodrigo F. Oliveira, Osame Kinouchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sensory arrays made of coupled excitable elements can improve both their input sensitivity and dynamic range due to collective nonlinear wave properties. This mechanism is studied in a neural network of electrically coupled (e.g., via gap junctions) elements subject to a Poisson signal process. The network response interpolates between a Weber-Fechner logarithmic law, and a Stevens power law depending on the relative refractory period of the cell. Therefore, these nonlinear transformations of the input level could be performed in the sensory periphery simply due to a basic property: the transfer function of excitable media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics
Volume65
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 26 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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