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.
from that of 1_a_ and 2_a_, though the apex of each angle was turned to that of the other in each of the three cases.  “The two angles,” says another subject, speaking of 4_a_, “appeared antagonistic to each other.”  It will be observed that they are less acute than the other angles referred to, and the confluent lines of each figure are far less distinctly directed towards the corresponding lines of the opposing figure, so that the attention, so far as it is determined in direction by the lines, would be less likely to be carried over from the one image to the other.

On the other hand, when the angles were turned away from each other the legs of the angles in the two figures compared were brought into closer relation, so that in 2_b_, for instance, the average is even higher than in 2_a_.  Similarly the average in 3_b_, an obtuse angle, is higher than in 3_a_.  The notes show that in such cases the contrasted angles tended to close up and coalesce into a single figure with a continuous boundary.  “The ends (2_b_) came together and formed a diamond.”  “When the angles were turned away from each other the lines had an occasional tendency to close up.”  “There was a tendency to unite the two images (4_a_) into a triangle.”  “The two figures seemed to tug each other, and the images were in fact a little closer than the objects (4_a_).”  “The images (4_a_) formed a triangle.”  So with regard to the figures in 5_a_.  “When both were in the field there seemed to be a pulling of the left over to the right, though no apparent displacement.”  “The two figures formed a square.”

The lowest average—­and it is much lower than any other average in the table—­is that of 5_b_, in which the contrasted objects have neither angles nor incomplete lines directed to any common point between the objects.  In view of the notes, the tabulated record of these two figures (5_b_) is very significant, and strikingly confirms, by its negative testimony, what 1_a_ and 2_b_ have to teach us by their positive testimony.  The averages are, in the three cases just cited:  1_a_, 35.11 seconds; 2_b_,33.11 seconds; 5_b_, 15 seconds per minute.

On the whole, then, the power of the line to arrest, direct, and keep the attention, through the greater energy and definiteness of the processes which it excites, and thereby to increase the chances of the recurrence and persistence of its idea in consciousness, is confirmed by the results of this series.  The greatest directive force seems to lie in the sharply acute angle.  Two such angles, pointing one towards the other, tend very strongly to carry the attention across the gap which separates them. (And it should be borne in mind that the distance between the objects exposed was 25 cm.) But the power of two incomplete lines, similarly situated, is not greatly inferior.

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