Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 757 pages of information about Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1.

Since the experiment just described was performed without laboratory facilities, Calkins[2] repeated it with 50 college women, substituting lantern pictures for objects.  She obtained in recall, after two days, the averages 4.82 words, 7.45 pictures.  The figures, however, are the number of objects or words remembered out of ten, not necessarily correctly placed.  Kirkpatrick’s corresponding figures for college women were 3.22 words, 5.44 objects.  The two experiments substantially agree, Calkins’ higher averages being probably due to the shortening of the interval to two days.

   [2] Calkins, M.W.:  PSYCHOLOGICAL, REVIEW, 1898, Vol.  V., p.

Assuming, thus, that objects are better remembered than names in deferred recall, the question arises whether this holds true when the objects and names are coupled with strange and arbitrary symbols—­a question which is clearly of great practical interest from the educational point of view, as it is involved in the pedagogical problem whether a person seeking to acquire the vocabulary of a foreign language ought to connect the foreign words with the familiar words or with the objects themselves.  And the further question arises:  what are the facts in the case of movements instead of objects, and correspondingly in that of verbs instead of nouns.  Both questions are the problems of the following investigation.

As foreign symbols, either the two-figure numbers were used or nonsense-words of regularly varying length.  As familiar material, nouns, objects, verbs and movements were used.  The words were always concrete, not abstract, by which it is meant that their meaning was capable of demonstration to the senses.  With the exception of a few later specified series they were monosyllabic words.  The nouns might denote objects of any size perceptible to the eye; the objects, however, were all of such a size that they could be shown through a 14x12 cm. aperture and still leave a margin.  Their size was therefore limited.

Concerning the verbs and movements it is evident that, while still being concrete, they might be simple or complicated activities consuming little or much time, and further, might be movements of parts of the body merely, or movements employing other objects as well.  In this experiment complicated activities were avoided even in the verb series.  Simple activities which could be easily and quickly imaged or made were better for the purpose in view.


The A set contained sixteen series, A^{1}, A^{2}, A^{3}, etc., to A^{16}.  They were divided as follows: 

   Numbers and nouns:  A^{1}, A^{5}, A^{9}, A^{13}. 
   Numbers and objects:  A^{2}, A^{6}, A^{10}, A^{14}. 
   Numbers and verbs:  A^{3}, A^{7}, A^{11}, A^{15}. 
   Numbers and movements:  A^{4}, A^{8}, A^{12}, A^{16}.

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