Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Laboratory Practice, Vol. II: Quantitative Experiments, part 2: Instructor's Manual
Titchener, Edward B.
“ non differentiam rerum, sed rationem differentiae ad magni- 
tudinem rerum inter se comparatarum precipimus ” (172). In 
comparing objects and observing the distinction between them, 
we perceive, not the difference between the objects, but the ratio 
of this difference to the magnitude of the objects compared. “ If 
we are comparing by touch two weights, the one of 30 and the 
other of 29 half-ounces, the difference is not more easily perceived 
than that between weights of 30 and 29 drachms. . . . Since the 
distinction is not perceived more easily in the former case than 
in the latter, it is clear that not the weights of the differences but 
their ratios are perceived. . . Experience has taught us that apt 
and practised O’s sense the difference between weights, if it is 
not less than the thirtieth part of the heavier weight, and that the 
same O s perceive the difference not less easily, if drachms are put 
in the place of half-ounces. 
That which I have set forth with regard to weights com¬ 
pared by touch holds also of lines to be compared by sight. For 
whether you compare longer or shorter lines, you will find that 
the difference is not sensed by most O’s if the second line is less 
by a hundredth part. . . The length in which the distinction 
resides, therefore, although [in the case of lines of 50 and 50.5 
mm.] it is twice as small [as it is in the case of lines of 100 and 
101 mm.], is nevertheless no less easily apprehended, for the 
reason that in both cases the difference of the compared lines is 
■one hundredth of the longer line.1 
“ I have made no experiments upon the comparison of tones 
by the ear. [Delezenne, however, determined the j. n. d. of the 
b of 240 vs.] As this author does not say that this difference is 
discriminated less easily in deeper, more easily in higher tones, 
and as I have never heard that a difference is more easily per¬ 
ceived in higher tones, ... I imagine that in audition also not 
the absolute difference between the vibrations of two tones, but 
the relative, compared with the number of vibrations of the tones, 
is discriminated.2 
“ The observation, confirmed in several departments of sense, 
1 On pp. 142 ff., 172, we read only of experiments with a single standard of 
100 mm. The line of 50 mm. appears for the first time on p. 173. 
2 Tones are first mentioned on p. 172, in a reference to W. Weber and to De¬ 
lezenne : for an account of these experiments, see pp. 235 f. below.


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