Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Laboratory Practice, Vol. II: Quantitative Experiments, part 2: Instructor's Manual
Titchener, Edward B.
§ io. The Qualitative RL for Tones 
anxious: for he has no means of knowing how accurate and stable his 
judgment really is,—he has nothing to ‘goby.’ If, then, there is any 
half-way constant or familiar concomitant of his first few judgments (a 
visual pattern, a muscular set, or what not), he almost instinctively takes 
advantage of it, and uses it as a standard of reference in later judgments. 
Brief as this statement is, it may serve to show the naturalness and, if 
one may say so, the reasonableness of the recourse to secondary criteria. 
No abstract statement could do justice to their insidiousness and univer¬ 
sality. The author has known a student to compare distances, on. 
Münsterberg’s apparatus for arm movement, by noting the place at 
which his hand struck his thigh as he dropped it from the finger-carri¬ 
age !—and this was done quite innocently, without suspicion that it was 
wrong or even unusual. Nothing, indeed, seems too far-fetched or im¬ 
probable to serve as secondary criterion of judgment in psychophysical 
method work. The Instructor should collect and classify instances, as 
the experiments proceed. 
E must be very careful always to release the disc by the same move¬ 
ment. Otherwise, the sound of the pluck may be made the criterion of 
As the disc of the lamella swings to and from the ear, air-waves are 
set up, whose impact upon the concha produces distinct sensations of 
pressure and temperature. Some O disregard these accessory sensa¬ 
tions ; others are distracted by them ; still others make use of them, 
often unwittingly, as secondary criteria of judgment. The author has 
made experiments, on a single practised O, to determine the effect (a) of 
interposing a thin Bristol-board screen between ear and disc, and (b) of 
allowing the lamella to play past (instead of into) the opening of the 
auditory meatus. In both cases, the RL was shifted only i v. : in (b) it 
lay one v. higher, in (a)—curiously enough—one v. lower, than in the 
regular experiments. The particular results must be regarded as ac¬ 
cidental : but the fact seems to be established that such a change of 
experimental conditions does not materially affect the position of the 
limen. It would be worth while to make comparative tests in some 
An objective source of error in the lamella, under the prescribed con¬ 
ditions of usage, is that the initial amplitude of vibration increases as 
the rate of vibration decreases. Zwaardemaker suggests a numerical 
correction of the results (op. cit., 21). It would also be possible to reg¬ 
ulate the amount of pull from test to test, say, by means of a vertical rod 
hinged to the table. But the author doubts if either procedure is worth 
while. For one thing, the difference in amplitude is insignificant over 
the critical portion of the scale, which (in the author’s experience) rarely


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