Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Laboratory Practice, Vol. II: Quantitative Experiments, part 2: Instructor's Manual
Titchener, Edward B.
§ 34- Right and Wrong Cases : Historical and Critical 305 
(2) Influence of Temporal Position.—Fechner had regarded the time 
error as a constant error, which could be eliminated by reversal in time 
of the experimental procedure. In other words, he had assumed “ dass 
bei hinlänglich kleinen Werthen von D der Einfluss der Zeitlage einem 
Zuwuchse äquivalent sei, der bei den beiden Zeitlagen mit gleichem ab¬ 
soluten Betrage, aber entgegengesetztem Vorzeichen zu D hinzutrete.”1 
Martin and Müller accept this assumption, with the proviso that such a 
time error must be interpreted physiologically (by fatigue or by warming- 
up and facilitation).2 At the same time, the physiologically conditioned 
error is only one of three components in the total influence exerted on 
judgment by temporal position. We have, secondly, a ‘ general tendency 
of judgment,’ resulting from the effect of absolute impression. We have 
seen that the absolute impression made by the variable weight frequently 
(and much more frequently than *hat of the standard) determines our 
judgment of the relation of the two P presented for comparison ; and we 
have seen, further, that this influence is more readily exercised when the 
variable is lifted second than when it is lifted first. We thus acquire a 
tendency to give more r-cases when the standard is lifted first than when 
it is lifted second. This ‘ general tendency of judgment ’ appears in all 
observers.3 We have, thirdly, a ‘typical tendency of judgment,’ re¬ 
sulting from differences of type. If the influence of type is superimposed 
upon an existing general tendency and Fechnerian time error, it “ modi- 
ficirt das Verhalten des Einflusses der Zeitlage im gleichen oder entge¬ 
gengesetzten Sinne wie der Fechnersche Zeitfehler, je nachdem das 
Vorzeichen des Typus mit dem Vorzeichen des Fechnerschen Zeitfehlers 
übereinstimmt oder nicht.”4 Neither the general nor the special tendency 
(Z., xxxvi., 1904, 257, 262) and greys (370, 373). Martin and Müller suspect it in 
various unrecorded instances (U. K., 230 ff. ; M., 122 ff.). It has long been recog¬ 
nised by psychophysicists as a possible source of error in the method of r. and w. 
cases ; the author remembers that it was mennoned ’n the Einführungscursus 
given at l.eipzig by Külpe in 1890. The ‘general tendency of judgment’ may, 
indeed, as we shall see later, be overcome by fitting instructions to O. 
It is to be noted that the ‘ absoluteness ’ of impression shows a certain rela¬ 
tivity : see L. Steffens, Z., xxiii., 1900, 260 ff. ; Müller, M., 125. And it should go 
without saying that, if evidence of the Martin-Müller factors is found in other 
sense departments (e.g., in judgments which do not involve active movement) and 
in the use of other methods, all such instances must be carefully scrutinised for 
their own sakes ; we must not be overhasty in applying the Martin-Müller sche¬ 
mata, This caution may be exemplified by reference to Whipple, A, J., xii., 1901, 
438 ; xiii., 1902, 234, 241, f., 252. 
1 Ibid., 5S ff. ; M., 69 ff. 2 Ibid., 63, 117 ff. ; Pfl. Arch., xlv., 92 ff. 
3 Ibid., 64 ff. ; M., 115. Cf. W. Frankl, Z., xxviii., 1902, I ff. 
4 Ibid., 64, 69 ff., 73 f. ; M., IT 5 f., 127, 137. 


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