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.

The nature of the test in the experiments now to be recorded is the same as the preceding, but a new box was used.  Fig. 2 is the floor plan and side view of this apparatus.  It was 44.5 cm. long, 23.5 cm. wide and 20 cm. deep.  The partition at the exit was 8.5 cm. in length.  Instead of placing this apparatus in the aquarium, as was done in the previous experiments, a tray containing sand and water was used to receive the animals as they escaped from the box.  The angle of inclination was also changed to 7 deg..  For the triangular space in which the animals were started in the preceding tests a rectangular box was substituted, and from this an opening 8 cm. wide by 5 cm. deep gave access to the main compartment of the box.

[Illustration:  FIG. 2.  Floor Plan and Side View of Labyrinth Number 2. E, entrance chamber from which animal was started; C, cloth covering E; M, mirror; T, tray containing sand and water; G, glass plate; P, partition; R, right exit passage; L, left exit passage.  Scale 1/8.]

A large healthy crawfish was selected and subjected to tests in this apparatus in series of ten experiments given in quick succession.  One series a day was given.  After each test the floor was washed; as a result the experiments were separated from one another by a three-minute interval, and each series occupied from thirty minutes to an hour.  Table II. gives in groups of five these series of ten observations each.  The groups, indicated by Roman numerals, run from I. to IX., there being, therefore, 450 experiments in all.  Groups I. and II., or the first 100 experiments, were made without having either of the exit passages closed, in order to see whether the animal would develop a habit of going out by one side or the other.  It did very quickly, as a matter of fact, get into the habit of using the left passage (L.).  The last sixty experiments (Groups I. and II.) show not a single case of escape by the right passage.  The left passage was now closed.  Group III. gives the result.  The time column (i.e., the third column of the table) gives for each series of observations the average time in seconds occupied by the animal in escaping from the box.  It is to be noted that the closing of the Left passage caused an increase in the time from 30.9 seconds for the last series of the second group to 90 seconds for the first series of the third group.  In this there is unmistakable evidence of the influence of the change in conditions.  The animal after a very few experiences under the new conditions began going to the Right in most cases; and after 250 experiences it had ceased to make mistakes.  Group VII. indicates only one mistake in fifty choices.

TABLE II.

HABIT FORMATION AND THE MODIFICATION OF HABITS IN THE CRAWFISH.

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