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.
material stimuli1 or physical contact. Although Gr, Schneider 
has distinctly asserted that the psychological cause of hyp¬ 
notism must be found in attention, Dr. Gr. M. Beard of New 
York has urged this theory more radically and consistently 
than any one since Braid, in 1877 and in a number of publi¬ 
cations since. On the other hand, the opinion has been ex¬ 
pressed in nearly all of the many recent studies of Beaction- 
time or the Personal Equation, that the most effective way of 
reducing this was by a strong concentration of attention upon 
the expected stimulus and the intended reaction. Although 
fatigue, practice, and strength of the stimulus are co-factors 
in determining reaction-time, it is thought that by opening 
certain nerve-tracts or by preparatory innervation of the 
-reacting muscles, the attention acts as a special agent in 
this acceleration.2 Thus it had long seemed desirable to 
submit the Hypnotic to the test of the physiological theory 
of attention. To this end the first object with A. B. was 
to determine the simple reaction-times in the normal and 
hr the abnormal state respectively. 
For this purpose the following arrangement of apparatus 
was found serviceable. The primary electric current was 
made to pass through a Halske hammer in such a way -as 
to be interrupted whenever the finger of the operator broke 
the contact with the platinum-point of the screw, by pressing 
down the spring which held the lever against it. The 
breaking of this primary circuit released a steel rod vib¬ 
rating 107 times per second, which had been drawn and 
held in a slightly bent position by a magnet in the same 
circuit, and at the same instant gave a distinct shock to 
the left forefinger of the hypnotic subject through a second¬ 
ary or alternative circuit (NebenseMiesmng/ He was directed 
to press the lever of a relay key with his right forefinger 
(which closed the primary current and arrested the vibration 
of the rod-by drawing it firmly to the magnet again), as soon 
as possible after feeling the shock in the left forefinger, having 
been placed in another room that he might not hear the 
click of the operator’s key and react from a quicker perceived 
auditory impression. Thus the time during which the rod 
was vibrating would represent the reaction-time desired. To 
record these vibrations a tinsel pen was fastened to the end 
of the rod and allowed to play .upon the surface of a hori- 
1 See Note-entitled “ Bedeut, .German Researches on Hypnotism,” by the 
writer (-Mind XXI. 98), for digest.and literature of these researches up to 
the date of writing. - 
i Cf. inter alia, Wundt, Gr-unch.der Physiol. Fsyehotogie, 31@ Aufl. ii. 226, 
and- Hermann,:Bcmdb.-4er Phÿsiôkgïe, -ii. 286,,-Hrf


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