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.
cax, stone (Caxton); teg, bib (get bib); laj, girl (large girl); xug, pond (noise heard from a pond); gan, mud (gander mud).

For both of these reasons nonsense words were the material used as foreign symbols in the B set.

The nonsense words were composed in the following manner.  From a box containing four of each of the vowels and two of each of the consonants the letters were chosen by chance for a four-letter, a five-letter, and a six-letter word in turn.  The letters were then returned to the box, mixed, and three more words were composed.  At the completion of a set of twelve any which were not readily pronounceable or were words or noticeably suggested words were rejected and others composed in their places.

The series of the B set were four couplets long.  Each series contained one three-letter, one four-letter, one five-letter, and one six-letter nonsense word.  The position in the series occupied by each kind was constantly varied.  In all other respects the same principles were followed in constructing the B set as were observed in the A set with the following substitutions: 

No two foreign symbols of a series and no two terms of a couplet contained the same sounded vowel in accented syllables.

The rule for the avoidance of alliteration, rhyme, and assonance was extended to the foreign symbols, and to the two terms of a couplet.

The English pronounciation was used in the nonsense words.  The subjects were not informed what the nonsense words were.  They were called foreign words.

Free body movements were used in the movement series as in the A set.  Rarely an object was involved, e.g., the table on which the subject wrote.  The movements were demonstrated to the subject in advance of learning, as in the A set.

The following are typical B series: 

  B2.  Nonsense words and objects.

quaro       rudv           xem            lihkez
lid         cent           starch         thorn

  B3.  Nonsense words and verbs.

dalbva      fomso          bloi           kyvi
poke        limp           hug            eat

  B4.  Nonsense words and movements.

ohv         wecolu         uxpa           haymj
gnash       cross          frown          twist

The time conditions for presenting a series remained practically the same.  In learning, the series was shown three times as before.  The interval between learning and testing was shortened to 4 seconds, and in the test the post-term interval of A^{13-16} retained (6 secs.).  This allowed the subject 9 secs. for recalling and writing each term.  The only important change was an extension of the number of tests from two to four.  The third test was one week after the second, and the fourth one week after the third.  In these tests the familiar word was always the term required, as in A^{1-4}, on account of the difficulty of dealing statistically with the nonsense words.  The intervals for testing permanence in the B set may be most easily understood by giving the time record of one subject.

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