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Shocks are excited by impulsive forces and cause discomfort in vehicles. Current standards define means of evaluating shocks and predicting their discomfort, but the methods are based on research with a restricted range of shocks. This experimental study was designed to investigate the discomfort of seated subjects exposed to a wide range of vertical shocks. Shocks were produced from the responses of one degree-of-freedom models, with 16 natural frequencies (from 0.5 to 16 Hz) and four damping ratios (0.05 0.1, 0.2 and 0.4), to a hanning-windowed half-sine force inputs. Each type of shock was presented at five vibration dose values in the range 0.35 ms-1.75 to2.89 ms-1.75. Fifteen subjects used magnitude estimation method to judge the discomfort of all shocks. The exponent in Stevens’ power law, indicating the rate of growth in discomfort with shock magnitude, decreased with increasing fundamental frequency of the shocks. At all magnitudes, the equivalent comfort contours showed greatest sensitivity to shocks having fundamental frequencies in the range 4 to 12.5 Hz. At low magnitudes the variations in discomfort with the shock fundamental frequency were similar to the frequency weighting Wb in BS 6841, but low frequency high magnitudes shocks produced greater discomfort than predicted by this weighting. At some frequencies, for the same unweighted vibration dose value, there were small but significant differences in discomfort caused by shocks having different damping ratios. The rate of increase in discomfort with increasing shock magnitude depends on the fundamental frequency of the shock. In consequence, the frequency-dependence of discomfort produced by vertical shocks depends on shock magnitude. For shocks of low and moderate discomfort, the current methods seem reasonable, but the response to higher magnitude shocks needs further investigation.