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.

Now, the movement hypothesis does not, it seems to me, sufficiently explain all the fluctuations in the illusion.  My experiments with the tactual illusion justify the belief that the movement theory is even less adequate to explain all of the variations there, unless the movement hypothesis is given a wider and richer interpretation than is ordinarily given to it.  In the explanation of the tactual illusion which I have here been studying two other important factors must be taken into consideration.  These I shall call, for the sake of convenience, the aesthetic factor and the time factor.  These factors should not, however, be regarded as independent of the factor of movement.  That term should be made wide enough to include these within its meaning.  The importance of the time factor in the illusion for passive touch I have already briefly mentioned.  I have also, in several places in the course of my experiments, called attention to the importance of the aesthetic element in our space judgments.  I wish now to consider these two factors more in detail.

The foregoing discussion has pointed to the view that the space-perceiving and the localizing functions of the skin have a deep-lying common origin in the motor sensations.  My experiments show that, even in the highly differentiated form in which we find them in their ordinary functioning, they plainly reveal their common origin.  A formula, then, for expressing the judgments of distance by means of the resting skin might be put in this way.  Let P and P’ represent any two points on the skin, and let L and L’ represent the local signs of these points, and M and M’ the muscle sensations which give rise to these local signs.  Then M-M’ will represent the distance between P and P’, whether that distance be judged directly in terms of the localizing function of the skin or in terms of its space-perceiving function.  This would be the formula for a normal judgment.  In an illusory judgment, the temporal and aesthetic factors enter as disturbing elements.  Now, the point which I insist on here is that the judgments of the extent of the voluntary movements, represented in the formula by M and M’, do not depend alone on the sensations from the moving parts or other sensations of objective origin, as Dresslar would say, nor alone on the intention or impulse or innervation as Loeb and others claim, but on the sum of all the sensory elements that enter, both those of external and those of internal origin.  And, furthermore, these sensations of external origin are important in judgments of space, only in so far as they are referred to sensations of internal origin.  Delabarre says, “Movements are judged equal when their sensory elements are judged equal.  These sensory elements need not all have their source in the moving parts.  All sensations which are added from other parts of the body and which are not recognized as coming from these distant sources, are

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