Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Titel:
Chapter V: Psycho-physical and Anthropometrical Instruments of Precision in the Laboratory of the Bureau of Education
Person:
MacDonald, Arthur
PURL:
https://digitalesammlungen.uni-weimar.de/viewer/image/lit38666/1/
EXPERIMENTAI, STUDY OF CHILDREN. 
1141 
y.—PSYCHO PHYSICAL AND ANTHEOPOMETRICAL INSTRUMENTS OF 
PRECISION IN THE LABORATORY OF THE BUREAU OF EDUCATION. 
INTRODUCTION. 
A thorough study of any human being can not be made without 
instruments of precision. Such an investigation of living man is one 
of the most recent tendencies of science. It is paradoxical that man is 
the last object to be thoroughly studied by man. Instruments of pre¬ 
cision have been employed more extensively, perhaps, in the study of 
the abnormal, as illustrated in criminology,1 but it is time they were 
used in the investigation of normal man.2 
An instrumental method of inquiry is a more exact way of ascertain¬ 
ing the effects of mental, moral, and physical forces upon the body, of 
many of which we are unconscious. The facts thus obtained bear the 
closest relation to new questions in the development and education of 
man. 
LIMITATION OP THE SENSES. 
Science in its efforts to seek the truth has a special difficulty to con¬ 
tend against; it is the defectiveness or limitation of our senses. 
Instruments of precision are for the purpose of correcting these defects 
by increasing the scope of the senses, so that, when truth may be 
found, it may be described more fully and determined more definitely. 
In ancient times there were instruments to measure the weight and 
height, etc., or what is called the static condition. Subsequently 
dynamic movements, electric currents, variations of temperature, etc., 
were studied, but our senses were too slow and confused to determine 
these conditions, so instruments were necessary to measure the very 
small iu time and in motion. 
The Graphic Method. 
The graphic method was employed to translate those changes of the 
activity of forces into the language of the changes themselves, which 
words can not do. Writing consists in signs more or less conventional, 
but the graphic method is natural; it is a universal language, as 
expressed in the line or the curve. 
Descartes inaugurated the graphic expression of ideas. This method 
was then soon used to represent diverse variations, as the comparison 
of economical and social phenomena. Tables were published in Eng¬ 
land, then in France, showing the curves representing successive vari¬ 
ations of population, wealth, agricultural production, etc. Since then 
this method has been enlarged so as to apply to all sorts of things. It 
gives clearness and conciseness to its representations. 
Instruments of precision through the graphic method furnish a mode 
of expression and a means of research. Every science accumulates 
facts and observations and compares them to show the relation of 
1 See “ Education ami Patliosocial Studios,” by author, reprint from Reports of 
the Commissioner of Education, 1889-00 and 1893-94. 
3 See page 991.
        

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