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.

   [22] Henri, V., ‘Ueber d.  Raumwahrnehmungen d.  Tastsinnes,’
   Berlin, 1898, S. 190.

I think that all such objections to the genetic space theories are avoided by formulating a theory in the manner in which I have just stated.  When one says that there must be an outer activity producing a displacement of sensation, and then an inner activity retaining that sensation, it is plain that the singing of a series of tones ascending and then descending would not be a case in point.

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The experiments comprised in this investigation were made during the year 1900-1901 and the early part of the year 1901-1902.  They were planned as the beginning of an attempt at the analysis of the estimation of time intervals defined by tactual stimulations.  The only published work in this quarter of the field so far is that of Vierordt,[1] who investigated only the constant error of time judgment, using both auditory and tactual stimulations, and that of Meumann,[2] who in his last published contribution to the literature of the time sense gives the results of his experiments with ‘filled’ and ‘empty’ tactual intervals.  The stimuli employed by Meumann were, however, not purely tactual, but electrical.

   [1] Vierordt:  ‘Der Zeitsinn,’ Tuebingen, 1868.

   [2] Meumann, E.:  ’Beitraege zur Psychologie des
   Zeitbewusstseins,’ III., Phil.  Studien, XII., S. 195-204.

The limitation of time intervals by tactual stimulations offers, however, a rich field of variations, which promise assistance in the analytical problem of the psychology of time.  The variations may be those of locality, area, intensity, rigidity, form, consecutiveness, and so on, in addition to the old comparisons of filled and empty intervals, intervals of varying length, and intervals separated by a pause and those not so separated.

To begin with, we have selected the conditions which are mechanically the simplest, namely, the comparison of two empty time intervals, both given objectively with no pause between them.  We have employed the most easily accessible dermal areas, namely, that of the fingers of one or both hands, and introduced the mechanically simplest variations, namely, in locality stimulated and intensity of stimulation.

It was known from the results of nearly all who have studied the time sense experimentally, that there is in general a constant error of over- or underestimation of time intervals of moderate length, and from the results of Meumann,[3] that variations in intensity of limiting stimulation influenced the estimation decidedly, but apparently according to no exact law.  The problem first at hand was then to see if variations introduced in tactual stimulations produce any regularity of effect, and if they throw any new light on the phenomena of the constant error.

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