Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 678 pages of information about Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1.


A careful study of the illusion yields the following points: 

1.  If the two sectors of the disc are unequal in arc, the bands are unequal in width, and the narrower bands correspond in color to the larger sector.  Equal sectors give equally broad bands.

2.  The faster the rod moves, the broader become the bands, but not in like proportions; broad bands widen relatively more than narrow ones; equal bands widen equally.  As the bands widen out it necessarily follows that the alternate bands come to be farther apart.

3.  The width of the bands increases if the speed of the revolving disc decreases, but varies directly, as was before noted, with the speed of the pendulating rod.

4.  Adjacent bands are not sharply separated from each other, the transition from one color to the other being gradual.  The sharpest definition is obtained when the rod is very narrow.  It is appropriate to name the regions where one band shades over into the next ‘transition-bands.’  These transition-bands, then, partake of the colors of both the sectors on the disc.  It is extremely difficult to distinguish in observation between vagueness of the illusion due to feebleness in the after-image depending on faint illumination, dark-colored discs or lack of the desirable difference in luminosity between the sectors (cf. p. 171) and the indefiniteness which is due to broad transition-bands existing between the (relatively) pure-color bands.  Thus much, however, seems certain (Jastrow and Moorehouse have reported the same, op. cit., p. 203):  the wider the rod, the wider the transition-bands.  It is to be noticed, moreover, that, for rather swift movements of the rod, the bands are more sharply defined if this movement is contrary to that of the disc than if it is in like direction with that of the disc.  That is, the transition-bands are broader when rod and disc move in the same, than when in opposite directions.

5.  The total number of bands seen (the two colors being alternately arranged and with transition-bands between) at any one time is approximately constant, howsoever the widths of the sectors and the width and rate of the rod may vary.  But the number of bands is inversely proportional, as Jastrow and Moorehouse have shown (see above, p. 169), to the time of rotation of the disc; that is, the faster the disc, the more bands.  Wherefore, if the bands are broad (No. 2), they extend over a large part of the disc; but if narrow, they cover only a small strip lying immediately behind the rod.

6.  The colors of the bands approximate those of the two sectors; the transition-bands present the adjacent ‘pure colors’ merging into each other.  But all the bands are modified in favor of the color of the moving rod.  If, now, the rod is itself the same in color as one of the sectors, the bands which should have been of the other color are not to be distinguished from the fused color of the disc when no rod moves before it.

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Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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