Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Titel:
Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Laboratory Practice, Vol. II: Quantitative Experiments, part 1: Student's Manual
Person:
Titchener, Edward B.
PURL:
https://digitalesammlungen.uni-weimar.de/viewer/image/lit16066/10/
vi Prefatory Note : Suggestions to Students 
taken, the whole set of results is thrown into quantitative form. 
On the average, we can still hear a tone of so-and-so many vibra¬ 
tions ; on the average, we can distinguish two weights if they dif¬ 
fer by such-and-such an amount. The question which the quan¬ 
titative experiment answers is, therefore, some variant of the 
question ‘How much?’ Notice, however, that this is not the 
question asked of consciousness. That question is always the one 
or other of the two just mentioned : Present or absent ? and 
Same or different ? Here, then, is a second difference between 
the qualitative and the quantitative experiment. The former, 
aiming at description, comes to an end when introspection has 
made its report ; the latter, aiming at measurement, subjects 
the results of introspection to mathematical treatment. The ex¬ 
periments are complementary, each sacrificing something and 
each gaining something. The qualitative experiment shows us 
all the detail and variety of the mental life, and in so doing for¬ 
bids us to pack its results into formulae ; the quantitative experi¬ 
ment furnishes us with certain uniformities of the mental life, 
neatly and summarily expressed, but for that very reason must 
pass unnoticed many things that a qualitatively directed intro¬ 
spection would bring to light. 
The Quantitative Experiment in Practice.— In general, the 
rules for the conduct of a quantitative experiment are the same 
as those fora qualitative experiment (vol. I., xiii. f.). There are, 
however, in practice, certain well-marked differences between the 
two types of experiment. 
(i) In the first place, the quantitative experiment demands 
much more ‘ outside ’ preparatory work than does the qualitative. 
Most, if not all, of the reading done in preparation for the ex¬ 
periments of vol. I. could be done within the laboratory. This 
is not the case with the experiments that you are now to perform. 
The quantitative experiment sums up, in a single representative 
value, the results of a large number of observations. It is clear, 
then, that the conditions of observation must be the same 
throughout : otherwise the results will not be comparable. The 
observations must be arranged, distributed, timed, spaced, varied, 
repeated, upon a definite plan ; and the plan itself must be laid 
out with a view to the object and materials of the particular ex-
        

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