Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1 eBook

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Series No.  XIV.—­In this series full-faced figures (granite-gray) similar in character to those made use of in former experiments, were employed.  The objects were suspended by black silk threads, but while one of them remained stationary during the exposure the other was lowered through a distance of six and one half centimeters and was then drawn up again.  The object moved was first that on the right hand, then that on the left.  As the two objects in each case were exactly alike, the comparative effect of motion and rest in the object upon the persistence in consciousness of the corresponding image was obtained.  The result shows a distinct preponderance in favor of the moved object, which has an average of 37.39 seconds per minute as against 28.88 seconds for the stationary object.  The averages for the pairs, as seen at the foot of the columns, all run the same way, and only one exception to the general tendency appears among the individual averages.

TABLE XIV.

1           2           3           4           5      Indiv.  Av. 
S     M     S     M     S     M     S     M     S     M    S      M
I. 22.5  28.5  25    30.5  24.5  28    28    27.5  25.5  31   25.1   29.6
II. 47.5  55    53    42    48.5  53.5  34.5  39.5  49    52   46.5   48.4
III.  3    18     7.5   8.5   0     7.5   0     3.5   0     4    2.1    8.3
IV. 45    45    33.5  51.5  11    50.5  11    50     8    52.5  21.7  49.9
V. 54.5  51    53.5  54.5  49    51    30.5  38.5  56    55    48.7  50.0
VI. 21    32.5  26    33    29.5  37.5  30    35    30    36    27.3  34.8
VII. 48    55    56.5  49    41.5  54.5  44.5  53    35.5  54    45.2  53.1
VIII. 10.5  20.5  20.5  25     6    33    12.5  29.5  19    18    13.7  25.2
IX. 37.5  43.5  34.5  45    36    47.5  30    47.5  29    48.5  33.4  46.4
X. 13    39.5  18    34    19    33.5  19    33    10.5  44    15.9  36.8
XI. 17.5  43.5  47.5  32    27.5  36    46    16.5  52    16    38.1  28.8

      29.09 39.27 34.14 36.82 26.59 39.55 26.00 33.95 28.59 37.36 28.88 37.39

   S:  Refers to figure left stationary. 
   M:  Refers to figure that was moved during exposure.

   General average:  S, 28.88 sec.; M, 37.39 sec.

The effectiveness of a bright light or of a moving object in arresting attention in external perception is well understood.  And the general testimony of the subjects in this experiment shows that it required some effort, during the exposure, to give an equal share of attention to the moving and the resting object.  Table IV., however, which contains the record of the observations in the white-gray series, shows that we cannot carry over, unmodified, into the field of ideation all the laws that obtain in the field of perception.  The result of the experiment, accordingly, could not be predicted with certainty.  But the course of ideation, in this case, seems to follow the same general tendency as the course of perception:  the resting

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