(1801-1887): The Measurement of Consciousness

Fechner, Helmholtz, Wundt, and Galton all receive from Boring the designation of "father of experimental psychology." Fechner is so honored because he founded psychophysics. In so doing, he made the mind subject to both mathematical and experimental methods of investigation. Kant, earlier, had rejected both methods, saying that psychology could be neither mathematical nor experimental. Later, Herbart claimed that psychology could at least be mathematical, because mental contents or ideas possessed both force and intensity. They could, therefore, be quantified.

Fechner did not really extend Herbart's theory of quantification of the mind. He was more influenced by the Zeitgeist than by Herbart. The notion of quantification was in the air. Psychology's acceptance of quantitative methods emerged primarily because of the dimension of time. Although Kant had claimed that psychology could not even be mathematical, he did suggest that ideas, since they take time, could therefore be measured. The time for an impulse to travel along one nerve is longer than for impulses traveling along another nerve. Such temporal differences eventually became demonstrated on Helmholtz's hip chronoscope.

Although Fechner did not make time a factor in his investigations, the idea of degrees, of quantity, of more or less, were notions clearly present in the psychology of both Herbart and Helmholtz. Kant had said that both extensionality and time existed as innate categories or faculties of the mind. Therefore, the mind was able to conceive of variations involving space, time, and quantity. Only one more step was then required, for someone to measure how much time elapsed in mental or neural events and to measure the degree to which one sensation was greater or lesser than another.

The first real breakthrough in quantifying the mind was made by physiologists, early in the nineteenth century, looking for ways in which the mind coded differences in physical sensation. Weber explored variations in the touch sensations, and he noticed that differences there were quantitative as well as qualitative. Subsequent studies revealed that when the muscle sense was employed, much finer discriminations in touch were observed than when mere passive surface pressure was used alone. Weber noted, further, that when weights of different magnitudes were lifted, the perceived differences among weights were not constant, even though the physical differences among the weights themselves were constant. A pattern of the psychological judgments did exist, but when the physical weights increased geometrically, the pattern of sensations increased arithmetically. When the weights were increased in the order of 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64, the mind judged a just noticeable difference (j.n.d.)# increase, a difference of equal magnitudes each time a judgment was made. That is, the mental judgment which corresponded was in the order of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Opposition to mental quantification.

During the nineteenth century, the view that the mind could be quantified was strongly opposed. Subsequently, interest in spiritualism, the belief in the relationship between psychic events and physical events, reached unparalleled heights. Fechner, not unlike many prominent philosophers and scientists of the day, had been converted to spiritualism. A wave of spiritualism emerged after 1848. Events such as that of the Fox family of Hyerville, New York, discovering certain rappings, noises, knocks, and other phenomena in their home which defied explanation, gave impetus to the movement. A large number of spiritualsts and mediums began to appear. Thus, another pseudo-psychology, following close upon interest in phrenology and hypnotism, captured public attention. These are called "pseudo-psychologies" because they are belief systems based on intuitions rather than upon objective fact.

But spiritualism threatened to eradicate psychology. Psychology, or any science, progresses by examining the uniformities in nature. Spiritualism simply ignored the basic assumption of "uniformities in mental process (Baldwin, 1913, p . 59) . " Thus, in the absence of order and patterns, inexplicable phenomena remain unexplained, and the science of psychology disappears. On the other hand, the emergence of a strict materialism at the same time equally threatened to dissolve the new science. Any materialism which reduces all psychic phenomena to processes of the nervous system simply makes psychological explanations unnecessary. One need only to study the brain directly.

Thus, spiritualism, the belief in a special kind of force, and physicalism, the belief in magnetism and gravity, both received simultaneous support. If spirit was merely a sixth kind of force, then it must exist as did the other forces; and if it exists, then it must be measurable. But how could one study, let along measure the spirit? Fechner hoped to resolve this dilemma. He did so by claiming that the mind and the body are equal and parallel parts of one underlying reality . This is the dualistic theory of psychophysical parallelism. Fechner's unique brand of psychoparallelism assumed that the mind and body were established by God to operate in coordinate ways. If they were coordinated, though not necessarily interactive, the study of one would lead to an understanding of the other. As Ribot phrased it: "The problem is to measure the second by measuring the first (Ribot, 1886, p. 162." This is what Fechner accomplished. His solution to the problem remains the reason for his place among the eminents in psychology.

Weber's Law.

Fechner built upon the work of Weber who had first discovered that the perceived increase in sensation differs from the corresponding increase in the stimulus. Each subsequent detectable increase in sensation, such that the individual detects a just noticeable difference, occurs only when a positively accelerated increase occurs in the stimulus. That is, in order for one to perceive equal increments of sensation, the physical stimulus must increase geometrically, or at an increasing rate. Weber's law was stated as k = dR/R.

If the spirit or mind could not be measured directly, perhaps an indirect means could be found. The solution was to follow the physicists, and measure the changes in physical stimuli, then to plot these variations against corresponding changes in judgment. For example, the light from one candle might illuminate a room; several candles would make the room brighter; more candles would make it still brighter. But how much brighter? This was a psychological problem. Keep adding candles and record the number you must add each time until the subject cries "I see a difference." In a large cathedral a very large number of candles would have to be added before an increase in available light is perceived. But as you continue to increase the number of candles, the increase in the sense "brightness" does not proceed at the same rate. As a matter of fact, the sensation of "brighter" proceeds at a slower rate. The physical stimulus, or the number of candles, must increase disproportionately as the psychological sensation correspondingly increases. Or, put another way, "the excitation must grow in geometrical progression (such as 1, 2, 4, 28,...or, 1, 3, 9, etc.) in order that the sensation may grow in arithmetical progression (such as 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) [Ribot, 1886, p. 165]."

Weber discovered that the just noticeable difference was a certain constant ratio of itself. To experience a change in sensation which was "just noticeable," where the sensed increase is just one step, as from 1 to 2 or from 3 to 4 or from 13 to 14, then the stimulus would have to be increased by a constant fraction of itself. The operating ratio might be that of 1/10, which means that for one increase in psychological sensation the physical stimulus would have to be increased by the fraction 1/10, or 1 amount for every 10 parts of the original stimulus. For example, if there were twenty candles burning, then in order for a discriminable difference to occur, a just noticeable difference, one tenth of twenty, or two more candles, would have to be added. But two additional candles will not be noticed if the original number of candles is increased to 100. That is, 102 candles will look no brighter than 100 candles did. A difference can be detected only if the increase is a constant ratio (e.g. 1/10) rather than a constant number. Therefore, if there were 100 candles, then 1/10 of 100 or 10 additional candles would be needed to produce a detectable difference. The necessary increase is a constant fraction, not a constant number. This is Weber's Law. The law states that the j.n.d. is a constant ratio between the incremental difference and the stimulus value itself.

Fechner's Law.

Fechner took Weber's law and generalized upon it. Weber had originally discovered that the increase necessary for the detection of a just noticeable difference was a constant fraction. This fraction would be the same for all values in one sense modality but it would vary among different sense modalities and for different kinds of judgments. Fechner formulated the general equation, thus permitting the prediction of a sensation. The sensation was thus a function of (or dependent upon) the fraction (or constant) times the log of the stimulus. The famous formula known as Fechner's Law was S = k log R. S and R stand for German words, where S is sensation (not stimulus) and R is "rinem," stimulus (not response). Any given sensation could be predicted as equivalent to the constant (k, or the Weber fraction determined empirically for that sense modality), times the logarithm of the particular stimulus in question. Therefore, a stimulus of 100 has a log of 10; if the constant were 1/10, then the sensation would be 1. This could then be compared to another stimulus of 110 where the sensation would be 2. Growing out of this work was the concept of the limen or "threshold," which referred to that point where the mind became conscious of a sensation. There were two kinds of threshold. The absolute threshold was that point where a stimulus could just become barely detectable, the borderline between sensing and not sensing something. The relative threshold was the difference between two stimuli, that difference where the mind could just barely detect a difference, though both stimuli were independently sensed. To establish the absolute threshold, one is asked the question, "Do you hear the sound or don't you hear it?" To establish the relative threshold, the question asked was, "For these two stimuli, both of which you can hear, is one louder than the other?" These questions, of course, were asked of all kinds of sense modalities, and for all characteristics within sense modalities, e.g., intensity, saturation of color, timbre, etc., and filled volumes of research reports in early psychological publications.

Certain methods were invented for the purpose of conducting research on these questions of the threshold levels. One method was the method of limits, in which the stimulus was increased until the subject said he could hear it, and then decreased until it was no longer reported as being heard. The method of right and wrong cases was used in establishing a difference limen, where two stimuli were presented and the question asked was, "Are these two the same? Right or wrong?" The method of average error (or reproduction) required subjects to actually manipulate one of the stimuli until it appeared to match the comparison stimulus. After numerous trials on any of these methods, the limen could be established. These methods later became the standard methods for constructing psychological tests of intelligence, personality, and interest. Subjects were asked to make judgments about statements or images -- which were then compared to quantified data based on judgments made by the standardization group.

It was possible for Fechner to state the relationship between mind and body in mathematical terms. And although he arrived at precise mathematical formulations, Fechner was aware that his quantification of mental processes was only an indirect measurement. Numbers could be assigned to different awarenesses. But this was all based upon the comparisons of different stimuli and Weber's fractional law. Although modern methods of measurement are based on Fechner's work, so are they also indirect measures. In an attempt to quantify intelligence, attitudes, emotions, etc., the psychologist must construct his numbering scales on comparisons across persons. In other words, he was able to propose a law or a formula which permitted the prediction of psychological phenomena from known physical phenomena. This was a great step forward. And Fechner actually believed that he had changed the course of history; he had proved that mind and body were irrevocably linked. Fechner was not shy about his accomplishments, nor was he limited to mathematical approaches. In fact, his work was cloaked in a certain mysticism and had a missionary zeal.

Nevertheless, psychology had become not only quantitative, but it had developed the potential for an experimental science as well. It was just one more step for a Wundt to begin the systematic investigation, under controlled laboratory conditions.

WILHELM WUNDT (1832-1920)
Noted for establishing, in 1879, the first psychology laboratory.

Wundt, like many other psychologists, grew up in the shadow of the church, where his father was a Lutheran pastor near Manheim, Germany, along the Rhine. Reared in the reserved and quiet environment of a protestant parsonage, Wundt was encouraged to reflect upon metaphysical questions and on the past, tradition, and the mind rather than upon such materialistic matters as the body. A facility with words and an understanding of their origins was encouraged. Although several children were born to the family, all died early, and Wundt was left the only child, and in a way, an "only child." The family moved several times but his entire education was obtained, close to his birthplace, at the gymnasium and then the University of Heidelberg, where he was awarded the Ph.D. in medicine in 1856.

Many psychologists began their careers as medical students. Wundt was not unusual in this regard. Through his medical training he developed an interest in physiology, which he taught at the University of Heidelberg, serving for two years there as an assistant to Helmholtz. In 1875, Wundt was called to Leipzig as a professor of philosophy. Leipzig was a stronghold of Herbartian psychology where, according to Hall (1912, p. 311), the quantitative philosophical climate was instrumental in bringing Wundt there. Boring, however, says that it was Zollner, not the scientifically minded Herbartians at Leipzig, who arranged for Wundt to share a divided chair. They were probably not aware that they were getting an avid experimentalist in the bargain. Wundt was a "superb academic lecturer..." and he was the "...first professor in experiment before his class (Hall, 1912, p. 313)."

Wundt defined psychology as the study of consciousness, the study of immediate, not just inner experience. The distinction between inner and outer experiences were artificial, he thought. Experience could be described and understood by asking subjects to examine the contents of their own minds and to make self reports on their observations. These self observations were called introspective** reports. Although these reports were obviously not subject to independent verification by additional investigators, they were considered empirical methods and thus scientific. In the context of the times, this was the first time that philosophers had attempted to arrive at answers to philosophical questions by using systematic methods of investigation in preference to mere speculation. Wundt thought that science progresses as a function of its methods of investigation. New methods produce new findings. Wundt believed that in psychology, the methods used are introspection, statistics, and experimentation (Hall, 1912, p. 321).

In the early stages of his work, Wundt systematically followed the British empiricists notion that mental elements were compounded from simple sensations and ideas. Later, Wundt introduced his tridimensional theory of feelings. Sensationism alone could not adequately explain mental phenomenon. He concluded that feelings were always a part of mental processes and that they systematically accompanied assocations whenever the mind focused on a sensation or an idea. Every sensation has associated with it some feeling quality. This notion was central to Wundt's thinking after 1900, and later incorporated into his theory of feelings.

Wundt argued that the mind was actual and active rather than substantitive and passive. The mind, as process rather than as object, followed certain lawful forms of development. A general and major mental law of the mind, according to Wundt was called "psychic causality." The mind cannot be understood as a series of causes and effects but rather as a sequence of naturally occurring events. One of Wundt's mental laws is the law of psychic resultants, sometimes called "creative synthesis." This description of the development of ideas in the mind is a law very similar to that of mental chemistry of John Stuart Mill. Although Wundt's psychological system is frequently cited by critics as being but little more than a mental chemistry, it was much more than a materialistic or mechanistic association of ideas.

How does the mind construct these new forms, called psychic resultants? They are formed by either: l) associations, or 2) apperceptive combinations. Associations are formed in a more passive and involuntary fashion, while the apperceptive combinations result from more active and rational processes. First, let us examine the associations.


There are four kinds of mental associations -- fusions, assimilations, complications, and memorial associations. Fusions are the result of sensations blended together, in which the identity of each individual sensation is obliterated. Independence of a particular sensation can be reinstated by apperception -- the focusing of o aspect of the blend. One example of a fusion is that of a musical clang where a number of overtones combine producing a particular timbre of sound. The sound, perceived as a singular whole, is superimposed upon independent parts.

Secondly, mental associations are produced by assimilation. Either similar elements or contrasting elements may produce a new form through assimilation. An optical illusion such as in the Mueller-Lyer is such an example. A particular line may assimilate either similar lines or contrasting lines, and may thereby produce illusions of either extension or shortening, respectively.

Thirdly, associations may occur when several sense modalities blend in what is known as complications. The sight and the sound of a breaking wave or the holding of a screaming child is a complication (Hernstein, p. 400). Fourthly, associations may occur through memorial associations, illustrated most dramatically by the work of Ebbinghaus, where meaning is the connecting link.

These psychic resultants which are formed through association are purely passive events, according to Wundt. The active forms of psychic resultants occur when new mental contents emerge through active process of the mind, through what he called apperception.


Apperceptive combinations, the second kind of psychic resultants, were phenomena similar to that produced by J. S. Mill's "mental chemistry." Apperceptive combinations, however, more than the emergence of a new whole, referred to a focus of the mind in a logical and meaningful direction. The mind gradually grows in consciousness to an awareness of one aspect of the stimulus field. A focus gradually emerges. Accompanying this focus is a "feeling" component -- a feeling of activity. It is as if the mind were engaging, emerging, growing, focusing, coming to grips with something. This feeling is the sign, the index, the representative, thus indicating apperception. The mind seems to be going somewhere, the apperceptions are logical connections among words or ideas; the associations are passive and illogical. A poem describing a wooded glen leads to a meaningful whole; a word salad by an insane person is a mere collection of sounds (Wundt, 1912, p. 124).

Let us take other examples. In the case of the Mueller-Lyer illusion, a simultaneous association of the elements therein contained produces an immediate experience of an illusion. There is no moving towards nor growing into the illusion. The blend is immediate; the perception is passive. If, however, one focuses on the illusion rather than on any other elements of the surrounding visual field (e.g. a book, the blackboard, the concatenation of stimuli in the room), then an awareness gradually emerges that the fixated figure is distinct and separate in the field. All at once I am aware of this figure is "preferred" over all other figures in the field. This is apperception.

It is the will which gives rise to an apperception, to a focusing of the mind (Hall, 1912, p. 404). Apperception tends to be voluntary. First, it begins as an expectation or a feeling of strain or excitement; the feelings may be either pleasurable or unpleasurable. Second, muscle tension arises in the affected sense organs. Third, there emerges a feeling of fulfillment, satisfaction, relaxation, or contentment. Finally, a feeling of activity arises again at the end (Wundt, 1902). Wundt's analysis of the role of emotion in the mental life is probably the first such systematic attempt to introduce such a concept. He proposed a tri-dimensional theory of emotion in which there were three kinds of emotions: pleasantness-unpleasantness, strain-relaxation, and excitement-calm. These feeling dimensions have been the subject of current investigations among contemporary researchers in the field of emotions.

Wundtian psychology has frequently been characterized, and by implication criticized, as a static system. Contrary to general impression, however, Wundt conceived of the mind as a working, doing, and feeling mind. The mind is immediately experiencing, not just passively reacting. There is voluntary activity rather than just passive receptance. Apperception or focusing is an example of this voluntary action or volition, and is illustrated by the Donders experiment. In this experiment, five words are presented to the subject in the following order: "Ka, Ke, Ki, Ko, Ku." Whenever the word "Ki" appears, the subject says that word, "Ki." Whenever he focuses on the presented "Ki" he is mentally discriminating among the elements of the five words. He may even vocalize the vowel sound to himself. The response that is/finally made is a voluntary response; the subject first sees the stimulus, then makes a discrimination, and finally responds.

The volitional act of saying "Ki," can be the complete form (sensorial) when the subject apperceives or concentrates on what is sensed, when the sense side of the sensory-motor element is emphasized. Or, the response can be of the shortened form, where the subject really attends to (apperceives) the response side of the sensory-motor element, the muscular reaction of the vocal cords. In an attempt to discover whether there were different kinds of apperception or whether different apperceptions produced different mental resultants, Wundt employed the Donders experiment. In the Donders experiment, the subject was presented with sensorial stimuli and required to make only one reaction. What was measured, however, was the time of a more complex psychological process. A simple discrimination could thus be measured indirectly, by subtracting the shorter time for only the reaction itself from the longer time of the complex total activity.

It was later discovered that different apperceptions may produce different reaction times depending upon what part was apperceived, whether the sensory or the motor component was apperceived. It was discovered that when the subject concentrated on the sensory element, the reaction time was longer. But if he concentrated on the motor element, the reaction time was shorter. Concentration on the sensory input must have necessitated some switching of attention to the motor side in order to make a response and this took time. But when the subject concentrated just on executing the reaction itself, the individual appeared to pre-position himself or pre-program his movements; the reaction then came instantaneously and automatically without involving a mental or conscious component.

The mind, therefore, was not simply a passive receptacle for containing all the contents of consciousness. The special and interesting quality of the mind is the activity at the center. The thrust of the mind is to bring sensations to the center of consciousness for an ever increasing sharper focus. Just as the marksman centers his site, the chemist finely adjusts his microscopic glass, or the musician tunes his instruments, so the mind continues to draw marginal sensations to foveal, central, or sharpest vision (Hall, 1912).

Wundt identified several different kinds of apperceptive functions. There were simple functions and complex functions. The simple apperceptive functions are those which utilize the processes of relating and comparing. The complex apperceptive functions were the resulting products of relating (synthesis) and of comparing (analysis). The two simple functions, relating and comparing, became complex functions in the form of resultants. When one sensation is brought into relation to another, the resultant product is a synthesis. When two or more sensations are compared to each other, the product is an analysis. The psychological acts or activities of the mind have,thereby, the capacity to produce a new content, element, or structure of the mind. (Wundt, 1901, p. 276).

Wundt successfully subjected certain philosophical questions about the operation of the mind to controlled laboratory investigations. The system he constructed to explain the relationship of various psychological components became more weighty than the supporting data. In the end, subsequent psychologists wondered about all the fuss. Wundt's elements of the mind seemed too remote from reality. Some of the younger psychologists, especially persons like Ebbinghaus, began to attack more concrete problems and to stay closer to the source of their data without lapsing into lofty theoretical explanations.

Read Wundt's Outlines of Psychology in the original


Ebbinghaus was among the youngest scholars of this new "content psychology." Born in 1850, he was only ten years old when Fechner published his Elemente. He was not yet 30 years old when Wundt officially began his laboratory. But in a few short years Ebbinghaus made major contributions to psychology. In 1885, he published his famous work on memory,and in 1890 he founded the first scientific journal of general psychology. His contributions were clearly methodological and empirical; they were not theoretical. He devised the "savings score method," an ingenious means for measuring forgetting. He demonstrated that learning was quantitative rather than just qualitative; that it was continuous rather than dichotomous. Many of his findings, produced over 100 years ago, are even today good psychology.

Like Helmholtz's father, Ebbinghaus was a student of both history and philology. He was interested in words at an early age, and this interest led him to make several contributions to psychology which were word oriented. First, he devised ways of divesting words of their meaning in order to study memory while at the same time providing an adequate control for meaningfulness and familiarity of the content of what was learned. He did so by constructing thousands of nonsense syllables, three letter words formed by placing a vowel between any two consonants. By using nonsense syllables he effectively controlled for and thus eliminated or equalized any meanings which might create easier learning of some lists than others. He then proceeded to explore the nature of memory by using these lists of nonsense syllables in repetitive exercises.

Secondly, in 1897 he began the indexing of psychological journals as published in the first volume of his general psychology journal. Thirdly, Ebbinghaus devised, in 1897, the completion test, a new method for intelligence testing. This testing format became a major model for achievement testing and is currently the basis for Skinner's technique of programmed learning.

Ebbinghaus' work on learning revealed important facts about the nature and progression of learning and forgetting. He discovered that learning developed by small increments. He also discovered that forgetting did not proceed in a straight line function. He showed that the greatest amount of forgetting occurred during the early stages after learning and that lesser amounts of forgetting occurred after longer lapses of time. This is what became known as the famous Ebbinghaus "forgetting curve," one of his major contributions which is still reproduced in every introductory psychology text today. This decreasing function of forgetting, a negatively accelerated curve, occurred primarily because of a diminishing amount of material left to learn after a lapse of time. If one could, after a learning session, recall 100% of a particular poem, then the greatest amount of forgetting occurs during the first unit of time which follows.

These results produced a practical problem -- discovering the means by which the rate of forgetting could be retarded. Ebbinghaus conducted a number of studies to explore the nature of retention, a secondary contribution of his work. Overlearning, or continued practice beyond one perfect recitation, proved helpful. Overlearning by as much as 80% tends to decrease forgetting, but beyond this level of overlearning, additional practice yielded only diminishing returns. Memory was, therefore, not a discontinuous phenomenon, but one of degrees. Ebbinghaus borrowed from Fechner those quantitative methods which yielded data describing psychological phenomenon as normal distributions. One learns something poorly, moderately well, or very well; it is not a question of his learning "all of it," or "none of it."

A second finding described the way in which distributed practice over varying time periods produced different results. Practice can be restricted to just one parcel of time (massed learning), or practice could be distributed across several parcels of time (spaced practice). The distribution of practice over several blocks of time generally produced more favorable results.

These and subsequent studies had practical implications for learning and retention. Man forever hopes to capture culture and profit from accumulated experience. One great passion of man is to discover the means for increasing information storage. Ebbinghaus pointed the way. In so doing, he assisted both the scholar and layman in turning bare mental metals into valuable gold. Unfortunately, educational institutions of neither yesterday nor today have acted seriously upon the experimental findings provided by Ebbinghaus, Mueller, Burt and others. The scholastics too frequently offer only lip service to promising new ideas. Ironically, it appears that the instructors rather than the students continue to profit most from those built-in educational conditions that produce long term retention -- overlearning, repetition, and distributed practice. Thus, in spite of the many advantages of the lecture method, it grants the instructor extra dividends and robs the student of those means for producing long term retention. Man's greatest advantage over other forms of life is his singular capacity to abstract and to generalize. But to generalize without retention is not worth that serious effort which is usually involved.

The new psychology was a psychology of content because it attempted to describe and understand the contents of the mind. Because it used laboratory methods in a controlled fashion to explore new relations between physical stimuli, body sensations, and mental representations; it was also an experimental psychology. But it was basically a static psychology. There was little recognition that the human organism developed over time and was shaped by the process of adjusting or adapting to a changing environment. But such a point of view needed a Darwin to identify the structural and anatomical changes produced from thousands of years of selection and adaptation. After Darwin, psychologists turned their attention both to the problems of psychological adjustment and adaptation and to those theories which incorporate the notion of change. In the process, the image of man became more like the animals, or animals were seen as more similar to man. Whichever, or both, the gap existing between animals and humans was gradually diminished, the subject of the next unit.



1. (p. 4). The son of William I, Frederick-William, was to marry the Princess Royal, Victoria, daughter of Queen Victoria of England. Such a match would ally the two strongest countries in Europe. The military strength of Germany was not popular and conscription during the Franco-Prussian War was conspicuously unpopular. There was a "great migration of young men to America to avoid the conscription; forbidden by government, September, 1872 (Hayden's Dictionary of Dates, 1887).

The United States during the 1860's was going through a period of reconstruction under President Grant. In 1872, Horace Greeley, nominated for the presidency by the liberal Republicans, advocated a greater degree of self-government and opposed the increase in more centralized power. The platform also protested against the supremacy of the military over the civil power and the suspension of habeas corpus . . . (Andrews, History of the United States, p. 204).. Since some Prussians objected to the increase in militarization in Germany, it is no wonder that German youths migrated to the United States in 1872. Bismarck did not face opposition from a peace candidate. President Grant, how ever, was opposed by a golden tongued Bryant, an incisive advocate of local autonomy and of peace.

2. (p. 7) Helmholtz was born in Potsdam, Western Prussia, in the city of Frederick the Great. Potsdam was known as the German Versailles. During the middle of the seventeenth century, the Great Elector built palaces there which were later enlarged by Frederick the Great's father, Fredericlc William I, who was something of a tyrant. Young Frederick was required to rise with the guards each morning, demonstrate his physical skill, and become a competent soldier. Any resistance on Frederick's part resulted in being locked in his room, threatened, and beaten. When he ascended the throne, after his father's death, Frederick enlarged Potsdam and transformed the monotonous streets, designed by his father, into grand and glorious public avenues. He made Potsdam one of the show places of Europe. Voltaire was a frequent visitor to Potsdam and the two men sought each other's criticism, exchanging among themselves pieces of their writings.

3. (p. 11) Psychology is often criticized because it does not or cannot quantify its data, that it cannot approximate the same degree of exactness as found in the physical sciences. In this regard, however, Cattell makes an interesting and telling point - that physics is able to quantify everything partly because it has dumped the unquantifiable onto psychology. For example, the phenomenon of color has been left up to the psychologist, as have the secondary qualities of touch, taste, smell, and sound. Cattell states that as a matter of fact, psychology has done more in fifty years for color than physics ever did up to the time of Galileo. (Cattell, 1906, p. 601). .



1. The basic tenet of spiritualism was that:
a. Non material forces cause behavior
b. A God is behind all phenomena
c. Religious devotion increases mental powers
d. All of the above

2. The area of psychophysics includes which of the following?
a. Limen
b. Mental measurement
c. Experimental method
d. All of the above

3. Which is not one of Fechner's fundamental methods of measurement? The method of:
a. Limits
b. Right and wrong cases
c. Differentials
d. Average error

4. Wundt was the son of a:
a. Professor
b. Physician
c. Minister
d. Lawyer

5. The year modern scientific psychology was established was:
a. 1879
b. 1887
c. 1892
d. 1897

6. According to Wundt, the difference between physics and psychology is that psychology deals with:
a. Inner experience
b. Immediate experience
c. Mediate experience
d. Conceptual data

7. Wundt held that psychology is the science of:
a. Experience
b. Experiment
c. Behavior
d. Physiology

8. Wundt asserted that:
a. Association is active, but apperception is passive
b. Both association and apperception are passive
c. Association is passive, but apperception is active
d. Both association and apperception are active

9. Wundt outlined the problem of psychology as the:
a. Analysis of conscious processes into elements
b. Determination of the manner of connection of the elements
c. Determination of the laws of connection
d. All of the above

10. Wundt's "apperception" is:
a. The field of consciousness
b. Passive
c. Attention
d. None of these

11. The functions of apperception were relating and comparing, and the corresponding products of these processes were
a. Synthesis and analysis
b. Fusion and complication
c. Association and apperceptive combination
d. Fusion and assimilation

12. Which of the following is not a factor in Wundt's tri-dimensional theory of feeling?
a. Pleasantness-unpleasantness
b. Hostility-love
c. Strain-relaxation
d. Excitement-calm

13. Which one of the following statements does not characterize Ebbinghaus?
a. He was primarily a psychologist of content
b. His memory experiments were more like mental tests than introspective descriptions
c. His experiments were of secondary importance compared to his attempts at systemization
d. He invented the completion test



1. In Weber's work, it was discovered that there was a point where one could just tell the difference between two stimuli which were very close together in either intensity or frequency. This kind of a threshold was referred to as a ____________________________ threshold.

2. Fechner, on gambling (or the moral of fortune):
a. He believed mental and physical values to be related to each other in such a way that a change in the amount of mental fortune varies with the ratio that the change in the physical fortune has to the total fortune of its possessor
b. On the mathematical side it is easy to see why infinite money has the advantage over finite money
c. In gambling with even stakes, one stands to lose more than one gains, for a given loss after the event bears a larger ratio to the reduced total fortune than would the same physical gain to an increased total fortune
d. If you know the dealer, you may also know a croupier
e. Both a and c

3. In Fechner's formula the "k" is that constant (or ratio) determined by the Weber law, which expresses the fractional increase necessary for a just noticeable difference. The "S" refers to the sensation, and the "R" is the ________________________________.

4. Wundt thought that science progresses according to whether the methods of science change. The method which Wundt used was that of having subjects report the sensations which they were having. This method is known as that of ____________________________.

5. The first psychological laboratory was founded by Wundt in Leipzig, Germany in the year ____________________________.

6. According to Wundt, the mind follows certain causal sequences and is thus an active rather than a passive phenomenon. One activity of the mind is the combining together of two or more sensations or ideas to form a new whole. This mental combination is referred to as ________, and is the foundation for any kind of connectionistic psychology.

7. Wundt believed that the mind always had a focal point, that the mind tended to concentrate on one central aspect of consciousness. This tendency of the mind to have a central focus at any one point in time was what Wundt referred to as ____________________________.

8. Ebbinghaus was most noted for his ______________________ which described the manner in which the retention of any newly learned material would drop off most steeply, immediately after the learning had taken place.

9. Ebbinghaus discovered that one could retard the forgetting progress by using one of several different methods, such as ___________________.


8. forgetting curve
5. 1879
2. E
10. 1893
4. introspection
7. apperception
1. relative
6. apperception
3. stimulus
9. overlearning, review



1. Weber's law which shows the relationship between psychological judgment and physical stimulus is:
a. dk/R= R
b. dR/Jn= k
c. dR/k= R
d. dR/R = k

2. "The 'just noticeable difference' in stimulus intensity is a constant fraction of the total intensity at which it is measured." The above state formulation is accredited to:
a. Fechner
b. Weber
c. Wundt
d. Helmholtz

3. The focus of the mind is referred to as:
a. Complication
b. Assimilation
c. Conation
d. Apperception

4. The Donder's experiment was an attempt to measure the time for a psychological phenomenon such as "discrimination" by a process known as:
a. Comparing sensorial to motor apperceptions
b. Focusing
c. Addition
d. Subtraction

5. Two kinds of mental combinations, according to Wundt were:
a. Part-whole
b. Competitive-cooperative
c. Association-apperceptive combinations
d. Fusion-complications

6. Wundt classified the merging of two or more mental phenomena in two ways:
a. Active-passive
b. Part-whole
c. Complication-association
d. Fusion-assimilation

7. Practice that continues after a perfect recall has been scored is called:
a. Reinforcement
b. Overlearning
c. Retention improvement
d. Absorption

8. The basic assumption underlying any science is that there are:
a. Phenomena which can never be explained
b. Uniformities and patterns
c. Materialistic explanations for all phenomena
d. Mathematical formulations for all events

9. Two movements in the nineteenth century competed as explanations for mental or psychological processes. These movements were:
a. Spiritualism and materialism
b. Humanism and materialism
c. Spiritualism and romanticism
d. Materialism and physicalism

10. Wundt believed that science progressed through:
a. Changes in enviromnental conditions
b. Discovery of unique phenomena
c. Changes in methodology
d. Influence of the "right" people.

11. The very first formal psychological laboratory in the world was founded by:
a. Wundt, in Berlin, 1890
b. Helmholtz, in Leipzig, 1860
c. Fechner, in Heidelberg, 1856
d. Wundt, in Leipzig, 1879

12. The principle of physchic/psychic(?) causality of Wundt asserted that:
a. There is an all pervading concept to which everything psychic can be reduced
b. There is a parallel between physical and psychical causality
c. The course and pattern of mind processes follow definite laws of sequence
d. There is quantitative equivalence of cause and effect.

13. According to Wundt, the mind is:
a. Active
b. Passive
c. Substantial
d. Extended

14. "Complications" were considered by Wundt to be:
a. Simultaneous associations between elements of same sense areas
b. Simultaneous associations between elements of different sense areas
c. Successive associations of same sense areas
d. Successive associations of different sense areas


Unit 5 Table of Contents

If you finished all the Progress Checks and the True False questions, then take the:
Unit Test

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