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What’s Halfway Between 1 and 9? Kids and Scientists Say 3

October 26, 2012


“It’s likely that we love logarithmic shapes so much because logarithms are hardwired into our sensory pathways. Stevens’ power law explains that we perceive logarithmic increases in light, sound and heat (among lots of other stimuli) as if they were linear increases. For example, as heat rises along a tightening logarithmic curve — say, from 80º to 84º to 86º to 87º — our sense of touch is growing correspondingly more sensitive to each increase, causing us to perceive smaller and smaller changes as if they were equal. In short, we might describe that logarithmic temperature change as a linear rise from 80º to 84º to 88º to 92º.”


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