Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Laboratory Practice, Vol. I: Qualitative Experiments, part 2: Instructor's Manual
Titchener, Edward B.
Attention and Action 
maximum to maximum of sensation) was but little variable 
within a given sense-department. His values were ; for sight, 
3.4 sec., for sound, 3.8 sec., and for electrical-cutaneous im¬ 
pressions, 2.5 sec. In view of the results of later observers, 
both the regularity and the smallness of these times call for 
explanation. Wundt (296) accounts for them partly in terms of 
method (the attention adjusts itself more easily and regularly 
to the stimuli), and partly in terms of stimulus intensity (choice 
of just clearly supraliminal values): cf. Marbe, 622, 632. Eck- 
ener (375) suggests the influence of a preconceived theory ; 
Münsterberg (hi), the rhythm of respiration. Lehmann (69) 
points out that his own method (that of the text) favours a con¬ 
tinuous attention-strain, whereas Lange’s method favours a pulsa¬ 
tion of attentions, a succession of tensions and relaxations. The 
two methods are, therefore, directed upon different phenomena. 
Lehmann does not attempt an explanation whether of the extreme 
regularity of Lange’s times or of the times themselves.] 
(c) Regulation of Stimulus. — Helmholtz remarked, in ex¬ 
periments with a Masson disc, that the just noticeable grey 
does not remain constant ; on the contrary, as the experiment 
proceeds, greys become visible which at first were unnoticed 
(Phys. Optik, ist ed., 314 f. ; 2d ed., 391). Pace (391) found 
that the fluctuations of attention, with a constant stimulus, are 
abrupt at the beginning of an experimental series, gradual 
towards its close. It follows from these observations that ex¬ 
periments should be made during which the stimulus remains 
not objectively but subjectively constant. The conditions are 
fulfilled if we employ a Masson disc under such circumstances 
that its two or three outermost ‘grey rings’ are at first imper¬ 
ceptible, and direct O to shift his fixation-point to these rings as 
they become successively visible. 
[Pace (394), working in this way, found a fluctuation period 
of 3.5 sec., with a small m. v. Wundt (296 f.) notices the cor¬ 
respondence of this time with the value obtained by N. Lange. 
The agreement is, indeed, most striking; but Lange’s results 
are not explained by it.] 
(d) Variation of State of the Sense-organ. — Pace (399 f.) 
found that paralysis of the muscles of accommodation by a 1 %


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