Kenneth Norwich:

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(Copyright © 2000 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

The aim of this formula-intense book is to discover the general psychophysical equations of sensations from which well-known empirical laws (such as Weber's, Fechner's and Stevens') can be derived more or less trivially.

The result of this theoretical investigation is the "entropic theory of perception": a perceptual variable (such as the intensity of a stimulus) is proportional to the information entropy.

In other words, the brain responds in proportion to the entropy of a stimulus.

Along the way, Norwich provides competent primers on neurology, thermodynamics and information theory.

His equations show that percepts evolve in a way opposite to the evolution of the universe. Just like the universe began in a "Big Bang" that had minimal entropy and is evolving towards higher and higher entropy, a percept starts as a state of high informational entropy and evolves towards a state of minimal entropy.

This apparent contradiction (that "knowledge" seems to proceed in a time direction opposite to the rest of the universe) is resolved in the last chapter, a philosophical vision that merges George Berkeley's idealism, Relativity and the Anthropic Principle. Because the perceiver determines (to an extent) the world that s/he perceives, Norwich thinks that his equation is a mathematical representation of Berkeley's philosophy.

TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi