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.


Proportional Single Beat 2-Beat Group 4-Beat Group 8-Beat Group
M.V. 1.000 0.969 1.072 0.859

An analysis of the material in successive pairs of two-beat groups revealed a pronounced rhythm in the values of the mean variations of the first and second members of the pair respectively, the fixity of the second group being much greater than that of the first, the mean variation having a ratio for all subjects of 0.801:1.000.  The interpretation of this rhythmical variation, as in the preceding reaction series, must be speculative in the absence of quantitative measurement of intensive changes, but is still not left in doubt.  The rhythmic material is combined in larger syntheses than the groups of two beats, alternately accented and unaccented, which were avowedly in mind.  This secondary grouping appears in at least a measure of four beats, into which the unit group enters as the elementary interval entered into the composition of that unit.  In this larger group the initial period, or element of stress, is characterized by a greater mean variation than the unaccented period which follows it.  There are present in this first interval two factors of instability:  the factor of accent, that element which receives the stress, being in general characterized by a greater mean variation than the unaccented; and the factor of position, the initial member of a rhythmical group, independent of accentuation, being marked by a like excess of mean variation over those which follow it.  The interpretation of the latter fact lies in the direction of a development of uniformity in the motor habit, which is partially interrupted and reestablished with the ending and beginning of each successive group, large or small, in the series of reactions.

Further, when the material is arranged with four unit groups in each series, the same relation is found to hold between the first period composed of two unit groups and the second like period, as obtained within these pairs themselves.  The mean variation of the first period of four beats is greater than that of the second in the case of all subjects but one, with an average ratio for all subjects of 1.000:0.745.  The analysis was not carried further; there is, however, nothing which points to a limitation of the process of synthesis to groups of this magnitude; rather, to judge from the close approximation in definition of the two orders manifested here, there is suggested the probability that it is carried into still higher groupings.

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