Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Laboratory Practice, Vol. II: Quantitative Experiments, part 2: Instructor's Manual
Titchener, Edward B.
§ 37* The Three Types of Simple Reaction 357 
(4) The psychological period : the • analysis of the action conscious¬ 
The first definite expression of the psychological attitude towards the 
reaction experiment occurs, so far as the author can discover, in Kiilpe’s 
Grundriss, 1893, 421. “Die Reactionen sind . . . nichts Anderes als 
exacte Typen dessen, was man in der Psychologie des gewöhnlichen 
Lebens als Handlungen bezeichnet.....Dadurch erhalten die Reac¬ 
tionen eine weit über ihre blosse Dauer hinausreichende Bedeutung.”1 
Wundt gives it emphatic endorsement in P. S., x., 1894,498, as the right 
attitude to assume in all reaction work ; and again in Logik, ii., 2, 1895, 
226 ; P. P., iii., 1903, 305, 383, 452. The author attempted in 1896 a 
detailed comparison of the various types of action and the various forms 
of the reaction experiment : Outline of Psych., 1896, ch. xiv., esp. 333 i 
cf. Primer of Psych., 1898, 179 ff., 258 ft. 
It must be understood that these periods are roughly dated, and 
that they are periods in the history of the reaction experiment as 
considered from the psychological point of view. Thus, astro¬ 
nomical work on the personal equation by no means ceased with 
1865. And again: Cattell and Dolley, in 1896, are still interested 
in the determination of the velocity of the nervous impulse, and 
Alechsieff, in 1900, in the question of transit observations. Yet 
again : the beginnings of the psychological period might possibly 
be set back to Wundt’s systematic exposition of 1874, or to the 
discovery of Orschansky and L. Lange (1887, 1888). In the 
rough, however, the periods seem to the author to be distinguish¬ 
able as successive shifts of interest from one aspect of the experi¬ 
ment to another. 
At present, the reaction experiment has a twofold value,— 
psychophysical and psychological. As we shall see later, psycho¬ 
logical analysis is a more crying need, just now, than is psycho¬ 
physical determination. Nevertheless, there can be little doubt 
that future psychophysical investigations will play into the hands 
of psychology. It was, e.g., a distinct gain when the use of the 
frequency polygon led Alechsieff to the conclusion (P. S., xvi., 
1 There is no hint of this, e.g., in Lange’s paper of 1888, or in Dwelshauvers’ of 
*891. And although the author has made a careful search for anticipations of 
Kiilpe’s position, he has not found them elsewhere. Fricke’s general remarks 
(Biol. Centralbl., viii., 1889, 67 7 ; ix., 1889, 256, 479) were doubtless inspired by 
Kiilpe (cf. ibid., viii., 678).


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