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.

The form of the experiment was suggested by the results of earlier experiments with lines.  It will be remembered that the express testimony of the subjects, confirmed by fair inference from the tabulated record, was to the effect that lines show, in ideation as in perception, both greater energy and clearer definition than surfaces.  By lines are meant, of course, not mathematical lines, but narrow surfaces whose longer boundaries are closely parallel.  To bring the superior suggestiveness of the line to a direct test was the object of this series.  And the table fully substantiates the former conclusion.  For the outline figure we have a general average of 41.08 seconds per minute, as against 28.10 seconds for the full-faced figure.

The notes here may be quoted as corroborative of previous statements.  “I notice,” says one, “a tendency of the color in the full-faced figure to spread over the background”—­a remark which bears out what has been said of the relative vagueness of the subjective processes excited by a broad homogeneous surface.  To this may be added:  “The full-faced figures became finally less distinct than the linear, and faded from the outside in;” “the areal (full-faced) figure gradually faded away, while the linear remained.”  Another comment runs:  “I feel the left (full-faced) striving to come into consciousness, but failing to arrive.  Don’t see it; feel it; and yet the feeling is connected with the eyes.”  This comment, made, of course, after the close of an observation, may serve as evidence of processes subsidiary to ideation, and may be compared, in respect of the motor factors which the ‘striving’ implies, with the preparatory stage which Binet found to be an inseparable and essential part of any given (vocal) motor reaction.[8]

   [8] Binet, A. et Henri, V.:  op. citat.

Series No.  XII.—­Both the figures of each pair in this series were linear, and presented the same extent of surface (granite-gray) with the same length of line.  In other words, both figures were constituted of the same elements, and in both the corresponding lines ran in the same direction; but the lines in the one were connected so as to form a figure with a continuous boundary, while the lines of the other were disconnected, i.e., did not inclose a space.  The total length of line in each object was twenty centimeters, the breadth of the lines five millimeters.  Both figures were arranged symmetrically with respect to a perpendicular axis.

[Illustration:  FIG. 6.]


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