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.

We are now in a position to answer specifically the problem of this investigation.  The results show:  (1) that those five subjects who recall objects better than nouns (involving images) when each occurs alone, also recall objects better than nouns when each is recalled by means of an unfamiliar verbal symbol with which it has been coupled; (2) that the same is true of verbs and movements; (3) that these facts also receive confirmation on the negative side, viz.:  the one subject who does not recall objects and movements better than nouns and verbs (involving images) when they are used alone, also does not recall them better when they are recalled by means of foreign symbols with which they have been coupled.


The problem proposed at the outset of the investigation having been answered, two minor questions remain:  (1) as to images, (2) indirect associations.

1.  All the subjects were good visualizers.  The images became clear usually during the first of the three presentations, i.e., in 1-3 secs., and persisted until the next couplet appeared.  In the second and third presentations the same images recurred, rarely a new one appeared.

An interesting side light is thrown on M.’s memory by his work in another experiment in which he was a subject.  This experiment required that the subject look at an object for 10 secs. and then after the disappearance of its after-image manipulate the memory image.  M. showed unusually persistent after-images.  The memory images which followed were unusually clear in details and also persistent.  They were moreover retained for weeks, as was shown by his surprising ability to recall the details of an image long past, and separated from the present one by many subsequent images.  His memory was capacious rather than selective.  His eyesight was tested and found to be normal for the range of the apparatus.  Possibly his age (55 yrs.) is significant, although one of the two subjects who showed the greatest preference for objects and movements, Mo., was only six yrs. younger.  The ages of the other subjects were S. 36 yrs., Hu. 23 yrs., B. 25 yrs., Ho. 27 yrs.

That some if not all of the subjects did not have objective images in many of the noun and verb couplets if they were left to their own initiative to obtain them is evident from the image records in the A set, in which the presence of the objective images was optional but the record obligatory.  The same subject might have in one noun or verb series no visual images and in another he might have one for every couplet of the series.  After the completion of the A set, the effect of the presence of the objective images in series of 10 nouns alone, or 10 objects alone after two days’ interval, was tested.  This was merely a repetition of similar work by Kirkpatrick after three days’ interval, and yielded similar results.  As a matter of fact some of the subjects were unable wholly to exclude the objective images, but were compelled to admit and then suppress them as far as possible, so that it is really a question of degree of prominence and duration of the images.

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