Auditory and Vestibular SystemsPsychophysical laws revealed by electric hearingZeng, Fan-Gang1,3; Shannon, Robert V.2Author Information 1Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences and Center for Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 2House Ear Institute, 2100 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90057, USA. 3Corresponding Author: Fan-Gang Zeng ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: We thank Lynne Bernstein, Z.J. He, Brian Moore, Bert Schlauch, Neal Viemeister, Alena Wilson, and Joe Zwislocki for comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript. This work was supported by NIH (DC02267 and DC92100). Received 30 March 1999; accepted 28 April 1999 NeuroReport: June 23rd, 1999 - Volume 10 - Issue 9 - p 1931-1935 Buy Abstract PSYCHOPHYSICAL laws relate the intensity of a physical stimulus to its perceived magnitude. G.T. Fechner hypothesized 150 years ago that the psychophysical law can be derived by measuring intensity discrimination, but modern scientists favor a direct magnitude estimation approach and are still divided on whether and how intensity discrimination is related to sensation magnitude. This controversy is partially due to the uncertainty of the role of the sensory organ in the psychophysical law. Here we bypass the auditory sensory organ with electric stimulation of the human auditory nerve and find a close coupling between intensity discrimination and loudness functions in electric hearing. Our results support Fechner's hypothesis in principle but not the exact relationship from which he derived his logarithmic law. © 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.