The perceived magnitude of static inspiratory muscle pressure was studied in normal subjects using psychophysical techniques. The sensory magnitude of a range of inspiratory pressures increased as the magnitude of the pressure increased. When the duration of the inspiratory pressure was controlled, the sensory magnitude also increased as duration increased. The relationship can be described by a single psychophysical function, psi = k x P1.234 x t0.62, where psi is perceived magnitude, P is inspiratory pressure, t is duration, and k is a constant. Use of different muscle groups and changes in lung volume altered the perceived magnitude of static inspiratory pressures. When static inspiratory pressures were generated by the abdomen-diaphragm, the perceived magnitude was significantly greater (P less than 0.01) than when they were generated by the rib cage. When lung volume was increased, the perceived magnitude of pressure was reduced. The results show that the perceived magnitude of static inspiratory pressures is affected by the pressure itself, pressure duration, the muscles used, and the lung volume at which the pressure is generated.