Definition: The amount of stimulation necessary for a stimulus to be detected. In practice, this means that the presence or absence of a stimulus is detected correctly half the time over many trails.

Quite Simply...

  • The lowest level of stimulation that any one person can detect.
  • A person's ability to sense a stimulus at it lowest intensity.


  • If I can hear a very high pitched noise, but someone else cannot, then the sound is above my own absolute threshold and below the other person's absolute threshold.
  • When Mr.Wray lightly taps on Mr. Cizek's door, and Mr. Cizek can hear it, the tap crosses his absolute threshold.
  • Being able to taste the dash of dill your grandma has added to her famous mashed potatoes.
  • If a bug is so small that when it lands on you you can't detect it, it is below your absolute threshold. However, if you do detect the bug, it is above your absolute threshold because there was enough stimuli to be detected

Additional Resources

(Picture of what absolute threshold looks like.)