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 subject was always asked to choose a rate of delivery which would correspond to his natural rate of reading nonsense verse, and the clicks were always associated with syllables, though not with words.  An effort was made to keep the series as colorless and devoid of content as possible, to eliminate uncertain association.  Beyond suppressed articulation, the subject was not encouraged to mark the rhythm with any part of the body, but a number of involuntary movements of neck, body, hand, or foot were nearly always observed.  Occasionally, when a subject’s expression was doubtful, he was asked to say a nonsense series with the clicks.

The nomenclature to be used in this paper is that of meter, but it is always subject to the reservation that the material is only analogous to series of nonsense syllables.

Records were kept in terms of the intervals on the revolving disc; the time of revolution was also taken, so that the figures may be translated in time intervals if desired.  Thus, 34, 34, 34, 34, 34 represents a series of iambs in which the unaccented click has the length of three, and the accented click the length of four spaces between pegs.  A uniform verse represented by a digit giving the number of feet, followed by digits in parenthesis giving the character of the foot, e.g., 4 (34), is an iambic tetrameter.

For convenience, the verse pause is written independently of the last foot of the verse, e.g., 4 (34) p. 7 represents a tetrameter line having the intervals 34, 34, 34, 37.  The interval of the last accented syllable is counted twice.

Occasionally this is disregarded and vs. p. equals o is written to indicate that the vs. p. is equal to the foot pause.

The results of the experiments may be grouped under three heads: 

1.  Why does a synthesizing factor such as rhyme occur at the end of the verse?

2.  What is the relation between the verse pause and the rhyme?

3.  What is the relation of rhyme to the cyclic movement of the unit group and of the verse?

1.  Why the Synthesizing Factor Occurs at the Close of the Verse.

To determine a possible difference in the sense of rhythm at the beginning and the close of a verse, pauses (’lags’) were introduced into the earlier and later parts of the verse.  These pauses were made barely perceptible, i.e., barely perceptible in any part of the verse.  Usually in iambic verse the barely perceptible lag shows the following proportions to the other pauses: 

  34 35 34 etc., or
  47 48.5 47.

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