Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Psychophysics
Welcome to Fechner Day 2018
The first Fechner Day I was able to participate in was the meeting in 1987 organised by Mimi and Bob Teghtsoonian in the forests of New Hampshire. We, at the time rather young scientists, were not only enthusiastic about the overwhelming Indian Summer. We were especially attracted by the friendly reception and acceptance by the established scientists and were impressed by the informal but very intensive exchange of scientific ideas. An atmosphere that has been preserved to these days.
When, inspired by these experiences, we decided to invite to Fechner Day 1990 in Würzburg, the oldest psychological institute after Leipzig, we started very early in advance to get permissions for colleagues from the Eastern Bloc countries to participate. Among other requirements, I had to go to the Foreigners' Registration Office to sign a commitment letter to provide a living for colleagues who might decide to not return to their home country and to stay in the West.
When the meeting finally took place, the Cold War was over. The wall between the two parts of Germany had fallen and the colleagues could travel unhindered to Fechner Day. Never before have I been so happy to have invested effort in, in retrospect, superfluous activities. Thanks to the support of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Bavarian Ministry of Research, Fechner Day 1990 was held in a very optimistic mood.
The political developments at that time promoted the emergence of the university hosting this year ́s Fechner Day. During the Cold War, Lüneburg was situated close to the Iron Curtain and surrounded by several barracks. The military was the most important economic influence for the region. With perestroika, the soldiers left. As a compensation, Lüneburg got a university and the already existing university of applied sciences was considerably expanded. Both were merged in 2005 and one of Lüneburg's largest barracks was converted into a spacious and now very friendly university campus. Due to this conversion, the increasing number of students also stimulated and influenced the social and cultural life in the town. There is hardly any other historic town in Germany as lively and as full of ideas as Lüneburg. We believe that this atmosphere will inspire the Fechner Day 2018 as well.
Scientific impulses are once again guaranteed by the contributions of the members. This year's contributions cover almost the entire field of research in our discipline. Some contributions are committed to the traditional task of psychophysics of developing new measurement systems and experimental methods for psychological research, while others look into the theoretical founding of existing ones. Studies from basic and applied research in various fields of perception and general psychology prove that psychophysical methods are invaluable for science and were not invented “just to pester first-year students”.
Leading scientists, involved in the development and implementation of ultra- modern technologies at the interface between brain and technical devices, will point out current challenges for psychophysical research and the need for suitable psychophysical measures and measuring procedures. By doing so, they will demonstrate once again that the oldest psychological discipline will probably not be on the red list of dying out sciences for a long time to come. In Walter Boland's observations, psychophysical processes can be discovered in the communication of plants.
Fechner Day 2018 is generously supported by the DFG, the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony, the Leuphana University and the Faculty of Business and Economics. We are very grateful for their support which obliges us to do our best to provide the ground for a successful conference.
Preparing and holding a conference is teamwork. I am happy that interested and committed students joined the organising team and accompany the conference.
My very special thanks go to Lara Ludwigs and Malizia Kupper who made Fechner Day their own concern. Without their highly professional commitment, Fechner Day 2018 would and could not be held at the Leuphana University in Lüneburg.
We hope that we will succeed in creating the framework for an interesting conference. And, we hope that we are able to create the friendly, socially relaxed, stimulating and supporting atmosphere when presenting facts and discussing controversial thoughts, as it is characteristic of all previous Fechner Days.
Lüneburg, 20th August 2018 Friedrich Müller