Absolute Threshold and Differential Threshold
Our five physiological senses have unknowingly fooled us – on a regular basis, no less – to the benefit of marketers and manufacturers. By exploring the psychological and physiological concepts of human perception, companies are discerning the differences of absolute and differential thresholds and applying it to marketing their products and effectively influencing consumer’s buying decisions. Once a product’s thresholds are distinguished, companies apply the results to marketing principles in manipulating consumer’s perceptions so that the reality of their product purchases are never fully realized. In order to educate consumer’s future purchasing decisions, this paper explores absolute threshold, differential threshold (or j.n.d.), their causal relationship with human perception and marketing applications, along with examples of these sensory principles. Absolute threshold is the minimum point at which individuals experience or detect a stimulus. As a human sensory perception, absolute threshold encompasses the minimum observed detection of “something”. Whether circumstantial due to individual differences or testing environment, its definition is considered imprecise because of the variability in its measurement. Not all people are created equal therefore; absolute threshold has been more accurately defined as the minimum point at which a stimulus can be detected 50 % of the time. Consequently, as the limit of exposure to the stimuli increases, absolute threshold decreases. Consider a road trip in which you first notice a street sign; this is your point of absolute threshold. After considerable exposure to street signs, signs become less noticeable thereby absolute threshold decreases. Where absolute threshold measures the point in which a stimulus is detected, the differential threshold is the “just noticeable difference” (j.n.d.) detectable change of intensity in the stimuli. A distinction...
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