Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 678 pages of information about Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1.

It thus appears that the attention process is in part, at least, a motor process, which in this case follows the direction of the lines, acquiring thereby a momentum which is not at once arrested by a break in the line, but is readily diverted by a change in the direction of the line.  If the lines are so situated that the attention process excited by the one set is carried away from the other set, the one set inhibits the other.  If, on the other hand, the lines in the one set are so situated that they can readily take up the overrunning or unarrested processes excited by the other set, the two figures support each other by becoming in fact one figure.  The great importance of the motor elements of the attention process in ideation, and thus in the persistence of the idea, is evident in either phase of the experiment.


Seconds            Seconds.
1 Figures alike:           Left          30.8     Right        31.9
2   "     unlike:          Simple        27.10    Complex      34.62
3   "       "             Small         24.54    Large        33.30
4   "       "             Gray          25.61    White        29.53
5   "       "             Line          31.91    Angle        38.54
6   "       "             Plain         23.92    Marked       37.48
7   "       "   (colored) 5 seconds     27.75    10 seconds   29.15
8   "       "   (gray)    5 seconds     25.42    10    "      32.12
9   "       "             1st exposure  12.64    2d exposure  36.45
10  "       "             Vertical line 34.94    Hor. line    34.49
11  "       "             Full-faced    28.10    Outline      41.08
12  "       "             Figure        29.26    Int. lines   39.32
13  "       "             Figure        34.03    Vert. lines  36.40
14  "       "             Stationary    28.88    Moved        37.39
15  "       "             Gray          30.90    Colored      37.81
16 (See Table XVI.)

If we put these results into the form of propositions, we find: 

1.  That when the objects are similar surfaces, seen under similar conditions, the chances of the recurrence and persistence of their images are, on the whole, practically equal.

2.  That surfaces bounded by complicated outlines have an advantage in ideation, other things equal, over surfaces bounded by simple outlines.

3.  That as between two objects of unequal area—­color, form, and other conditions being the same—­the larger object has the advantage in the ideational rivalry.

4.  That the image of a white object has a like advantage over the image of a gray object.

5.  That broken or complex lines have in ideation an advantage over straight or simple lines.

6.  That an object with varied content, other conditions remaining the same, has an advantage over an object with homogeneous surface.

7 and 8.  That an increase of the time during which the attention is given to an object increases the chances for the recurrence of its image or idea.

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