Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Reaction-Time and Attention in the Hypnotic State [Reprinted from Mind. a Quarterly review of Psychology and Philosophy. No. XXX, Offrpint]
Stanley, G.
abnormal state of some kind cannot be disputed. So, too, 
when A. B. can and does reduce his reaction-time as in Table I. 
at thé first sitting, and can gaze at a large sunny window with 
dilated pupils for 13 minutes without winking, and produce 
the other self-consistent and uniform results given above, we 
consider the test of the reality of an abnormal state of some 
kind to be better than the unflinching endurance of torture 
which we know to be possible with a strong will, or even 
than the testimony of the best men or the most respectable 
The general phenomena of Attention are familiar to all 
both subjectively and in its more common physical effects. 
It is well known that the reproduction of anything similar 
to an expected object facilitates our perception of it,, as in 
the oft-mentioned facts that we recognise a new word quicker 
if told what language it is in, or a very dimly remembered 
face if told where we have met it before. Expectation de¬ 
velops many and often unsuspected aids in apprehension, 
while the new or unexpected always meets more or less 
opposition or delay in reaching consciousness. Since the 
suggestive dissertation of Herbart1 in 1822, attention has 
come to play a very important rôh with psychologists, with 
whom it has had much to do in undermining the theory of 
faculties, until, as is known, with Wundt it may be called 
the central psychic category. Though not, as several writers 
have lately asserted, entirely identical with apperception, 
which Steinthal and Lazarus make no less central in folk- 
psychology, it has many elements in common with it. Thus 
in the literature of philology and physiology, as well as in 
insanity, popular delusions, and education, it has come to 
occupy an important place. Br. G. Buccola has lately 
shown2 * that cultured people react more quickly than the un¬ 
cultured, and that the personal equation of idiots and the 
insane (who can rarely be hypnotised) is greatly prolonged. 
This latter he thinks due to distraction or defective power of 
voluntary attention, and he believes that only men of more or 
less mental power can be hypnotised. Dr. Beard,8 who has 
1 De Attentions mensura eausiscjue primariis, in Werke, vii. 75. 
2 “ La clnrata del discernimento e della determinazione volitiva,” in 
Rivista di Filos. scientif., i., 2, p. 19. 
3 See Nature and Phenomena of Trance, by G. M. Beard, M.D. (G. P. 
Putnam’s Sons, N.Y.) On p. 31 is a list of tire author’s many publications 
on this subject. See also Muscle-Reading by same author, 1882. For fur¬ 
ther notices of the more important literature, on this subject see Appendix 
to Prof. Oh. Bäumler’s Der sogenannte animalische Magnetismus oder Hypno¬ 
tismus, Leipzig; 1881. Also a still fuller list in G. P. Möbius, Ueber den 
Hypnotismus, Leipzig, 1881.


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