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Just Noticeable Difference

  1. Melissa K. Stern,
  2. James H. Johnson

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0481

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Stern, M. K. and Johnson, J. H. 2010. Just Noticeable Difference. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Florida

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


The concept of just noticeable difference (jnd), also known as the difference threshold or difference limen (Latin for threshold), derives from early work in the area of classical psychophysics conducted in the mid-nineteenth century. This work was highlighted by Weber (1795–1878), a German physiologist, whose experimental investigations focused on tactile stimulation and the determination of sensory thresholds. Weber's seminal work in this area was extended and elaborated upon by German philosopher and mathematician Fechner (1801–1878), who coined the term “psychophysics” to refer to this area of experimental psychology and, in 1860, published the first textbook on psychophysics, which laid out the basic goals of this emerging discipline and the scientific methods that were to be employed to advance knowledge in this area (Watson, 1973).


  • perception;
  • psychophysics;
  • Weber's law;
  • judgment