Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Laboratory Practice, Vol. II: Quantitative Experiments, part 2: Instructor's Manual
Titchener, Edward B.
§36. The Technique of the Simple Reaction 339 
remains closed until the stimulus is given : it may be opened, e.g., 
by the swing of a pendulum, the click serving as a sound stimu¬ 
lus. R is the reaction key, which remains open until the move- 
Fig. 44. 
ment of reaction is made. At the beginning of the experiment, 
CKD and CTD are closed. With the breaking of K, T begins to 
record. With the closing of R, by the lift of 0’s finger, the cur¬ 
rent is drawn off into the low-resistance circuit CRD. It is clear 
that K may be replaced by any other form of break stimulator.1 
(2) The chronographic method has been brought to a high de¬ 
gree of accuracy in the Yale laboratory. The reaction records 
consist of tuning-fork curves marked with dots at the moments 
of stimulation and reaction. The ‘ spark method,’ as it is termed, 
is described by C. B. Bliss, Yale Studies, i., 1893, 2 ff. ; see esp. 
the fig. on p. 13. See also Scripture, ibid., 97 ff. ; iv., 1896, 80 f., 
124 ff. ; New Psychology, 83 ff., 135 ff. 
The author has not worked with the spark method, and can therefore 
judge of it only by the printed reports. It seems to be admirably adapted 
to the recording of simple reaction times. For compound times, Bliss 
(op. cit., 8 f.) suggests a modification of the method ; Scripture (N. P., 
155) prefers to substitute the chronoscope for the chronograph. In Yale 
Stud., iv., 124 the spark method is recommended for both simple and 
complex (discrimination and choice) reaction times ; only 10 of the latter, 
however, are to be taken, and the times, under the conditions prescribed, 
would not be of the longest. If, then, the spark method is available only 
1 On other simple tuning-fork arrangements, see vol. i., I. M., 227 ; P. C. Colls,. 
Proc. Phys. Soc., Deer. 1895 (Ann. psych., ii., 1896, 770).


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