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Title: An Introduction to Psychology - Translated from the Second German Edition
Author: Wundt, Wilhelm Max
Language: English
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Professor of Philosophy in the University Of Leipsic

Translated from the Second German Edition by
Rudolf Pintner, M. A. (Edin.), Ph. D., (Leipsic)

Publication of the
"Pädagogische Literatur Gesellschaft Neue Bahnen"

London: George Allen & Unwin, Ltd.
Ruskin House, 40 Museum St. W. C. I.

Published 1912--Reprint 1920


It is not the intention of this introduction to psychology to discuss
the scientific or philosophical conceptions of psychology, or even
to make a survey of the investigations and their results. What this
little book attempts is rather to introduce the reader to the principal
thoughts underlying present-day experimental psychology, leaving out
many facts and methods which would be necessary for a thorough study
of the subject. To omit all mention of experimental methods and their
results is at the present day impossible. Yet we only need to consider
a comparatively small number of results of the first importance in
order to comprehend the basal principles of the new psychology. To
characterise the methods of this psychology it would be impossible to
omit all reference to experiments, but we can and will omit reference
to the more or less complicated instruments on which the carrying out
of such experiments depends. I must refer the reader who wishes a
fuller account of the new psychology to my _Outlines of Psychology_,
which also contains the necessary bibliography of the subject.

                                                         W. WUNDT.
Leipsic, June 1911.


The present volume is a popular introduction to the Wundtian
psychology. It is a shorter and simpler sketch than the same author's
_Outlines of Psychology_, and it should prove invaluable to the
English-speaking student who wishes to gain some conception of the
subject before entering upon a deeper study of the same. Its popularity
in Germany has been phenomenal.

In translating the work the translator has, as far as possible, used
the same English terms as those employed in the translations of Wundt
by Judd and Titchener.

He is greatly indebted to Mr. Robert Wilson, M.A., B. Sc., for his
advice and help in reading over the manuscript before going to press.

                                                     RUDOLF PINTNER.
Edinburgh, May 1912.


          CHAPTER I


          Psychology as a description of processes of
          consciousness--The metronome--The rhythmical
          disposition of consciousness--The scope of
          consciousness--The threshold of consciousness--The
          fixation-point and field of consciousness--The focus
          of attention--The scope of attention--Apprehension and

          CHAPTER II


          Psychical elements and compounds--Sensation and
          idea--Memory images and perceptions--Quality and
          intensity of sensations--Feelings--Difference
          between sensation and feeling--The three pairs
          of feelings--The affective process--Emotions and
          moods--Volitional processes--Motives--Instinctive,
          voluntary, and discriminative actions--The qualities
          of feelings--Feeling and apperception

          CHAPTER III


          Associations and apperceptions--The fusion  of tones
          into clangs--Spatial and temporal perception
          --Assimilation and dissimilation--Direct and reproduced
          forms of the same--Complications--The recognition and
          cognition of objects--Successive association--The
          so-called "feeling of familiarity"--Secondary ideas
          --The affective processes in recognition--The so-called
          states of consciousness in forgetting, remembering, &c.
          --Memory associations

          CHAPTER IV


          General characteristics of apperceptive combinations
          as compared to associations--The aggregate idea and
          its analysis--Concrete and abstract thought--Speech
          and thought--Understanding and imagination--Examples
          of primitive forms of speech in the language of
          primitive races--Development of apperceptive
          combinations out of associative ones--Inadequacy
          of the method of introspection in dealing with the
          psychological problems of thought--Psychology of
          language and race

          CHAPTER V


          The relation between psychical and natural laws--The
          psycho-physical individual--The question as to the
          universal validity of the laws--The principle of
          creative resultants--The principle of heterogony of
          ends--The principle of conditioning relations--The
          principle of intensifying contrasts--The psychological
          and physical standpoints--Relation between physical
          and psychical values--Physical and psychical
          elements--The nature of the soul--Mythological
          views--The "substance" hypothesis--The principle of
          the actuality of mind




If psychologists are asked, what the business of psychology is,
they generally make some such answer as follows, if they belong
to the empirical school: that this science has to investigate the
facts of consciousness, its combinations and relations, so that it
may ultimately discover the laws which govern these relations and

Now although this definition seems quite perfect, it is really to
some extent a vicious circle. For if we ask further, what is this
consciousness which psychology investigates? the answer will be, "It
consists of the sum total of facts of which we are conscious." In spite
of this, our definition is the simplest, and therefore for the present
it will be well for us to keep to it. All objects of experience have
this peculiarity, namely, that we cannot really define them but only
point to them, and if they are of a complex nature analyse them into
their separate qualities. Such an analysis we call a description. We
will therefore best be able to answer more accurately the question as
to the nature of psychology by describing as exactly as possible all
the separate qualities of that consciousness, the content of which
psychological investigation has to deal with.

For this purpose let us make use of a little instrument to help
us--an instrument well known to all who have studied music, i.e. the
metronome. It is really nothing more than a clockwork with an upright
standing pendulum, on which a sliding weight is attached, so that
beats may follow each other at equal intervals in greater or less
rapidity. If the weight is fixed at the upper end of the pendulum,
the beats follow each other at an interval of two seconds; if at the
lower end, the interval is shortened to about a third of a second.
Between these limits every different length of beat can be produced.
We can, however, increase these limits considerably by taking off the
sliding weight altogether. Now the lower limit falls to a quarter of
a second. Similarly we can obtain any longer time we choose with a
sufficient degree of accuracy, if we have some one to help us. Instead
of letting the pendulum swing of its own accord, the assistant moves
it backwards and forwards with his hand, measuring off the longer
interval fixed upon, by means of a watch, that marks the seconds. This
instrument is not only very useful for teaching singing and music,
but it is also a psychological apparatus of the simplest kind. In
psychology, as we shall see, we can use it for so many purposes that we
are almost justified in saying that with its help we can demonstrate
the most important part of the psychology of consciousness. In order
to be able to do this the instrument must satisfy one requirement,
which every instrument does not possess. The strength of the beats
must be sufficiently uniform, so that even to the most attentive
listener differences in the intensity of the successive beats may not
be noticed. To test an instrument in this respect, we proceed thus.
We subjectively emphasise the one beat and then the other, as the two
following rows of notes show:--


This diagram represents the separate beats by notes, and the accent
shows those beats that are subjectively emphasised. Row A shows an
ascending beat, and row B a descending one. Now if it happens that we
can at will hear into the beats of the metronome an ascending or a
descending beat (A or B), i.e. we can hear one and the same beat now
emphasised and now unemphasised, then we may regard the instrument as
suitable for all the psychological experiments to be described in the
following pages.

Although the experiment described was only meant to serve as a
test for the metronome, yet we can derive from it a remarkable
psychological result. For we notice in this experiment that it is
really extraordinarily difficult to hear the beats in absolutely the
same intensity, or, to put it in other words, to hear unrhythmically.
Again and again we recur to the ascending or descending beat. We
can express this phenomenon in this sentence: Our consciousness is
rhythmically disposed. The reason of this scarcely lies in a specific
quality, peculiar to consciousness alone, but it clearly stands in
the closest relationship to our whole psycho-physical organisation.
Consciousness is rhythmically disposed, because the whole organism is
rhythmically disposed. The movements of the heart, of breathing, of
walking, take place rhythmically. In a normal state we certainly are
not aware of the pulsations of the heart, but we do feel the movements
of breathing, and they act upon us as very weak stimuli. Above all,
the movements of walking form a very clear and recognisable background
to our consciousness. Now our means of locomotion are in a certain
sense natural pendulums, the movements of which generally follow with
a certain regularity, as with the pendulum of the metronome. Therefore
whenever we receive impressions in consciousness at similar stated
intervals, we arrange them in a rhythmical form similar to that of
our own outward movements. The special form of rhythm, ascending or
descending, is within certain limits left to our own free choice,
just as with the movements of locomotion, which may take the form of
walking, of running, of jumping, and lastly of all different kinds
of dances. Our consciousness is not a thing separated from our whole
physical and mental being, but a collection of the contents that are
most important for the mental side of this being.

We can obtain a further result from the experiment with the metronome
described above, if we change the length of the ascending or descending
row of beats. In our diagram each row, A and B, contains sixteen
separate beats, or, taking one rise and fall together, eight double
beats. If we listen attentively to a row of beats of this length
when the metronome is going at a medium rapidity of, say, 1 to 1 1/2
seconds, and then after a short pause repeat a row of exactly the same
length, we recognise immediately the identity of the two. In the same
way a difference will be immediately noticed, if the second row is only
by one beat longer or shorter than the first. It is immaterial whether
we beat in ascending or descending rhythm. Now it is obvious that such
an immediate recognition of the identity of two successive rows is only
possible if each of them is in consciousness as a whole. It is not at
all necessary for both of them to be in consciousness at the same time.
We can see at once that consciousness must grasp them as wholes, if
we consider for one moment an analogous case, e.g. the recognition of
a complex visual image. If we look, for example, at a regular hexagon
for a short time, and then cast another glance at the same figure, we
recognise at once that both images are identical. Such a recognition
is impossible if we divide the figure up into several parts and show
these parts separately. Just as the two visual images appeared in
consciousness as wholes, so must each of our rows of beats appear as a
whole, if the second is to call up a similar impression to the first.
The difference consists in this, that the hexagon was perceived in all
its parts at once, whereas the beats followed each other in succession.
Just because they follow in this way, such a row of beats possesses
this advantage, that we can thereby determine precisely how far we
can extend such a row so that it is still possible to grasp it in
consciousness as a whole. It has been proved by such experiments that
sixteen successive beats, alternately rising and falling, or so-called
2/8 time, is the maximum for such a row, in order that all the separate
elements may still find room in our consciousness. We may therefore
consider such a row as a measure for the scope of consciousness under
these given conditions. At the same time it appears that this measure
is, between certain limits, independent of the rapidity of succession
of the beats. A grasping together of the row as a whole becomes,
however, impossible, when the beats follow each other so slowly that
no rhythm may be heard, or when the rapidity is so great that the 2/8
time is lost, and the mind tries to group the beats together in a more
complicated rhythm. The former limit lies at about 2 1/2 seconds, and
the latter at 1 second.

When we take the longest row of beats that can be grasped together as
one whole in consciousness under the given conditions and call this the
scope of consciousness, it is of course obvious that we do not mean
by this expression the total content of consciousness that is present
at one given moment. We mean only to denote the maximum scope of one
single complex whole. Let us picture consciousness for a moment as a
plane surface of a limited extension. Then our scope of consciousness
is one diameter of this surface, and not the whole extent. There may at
the same time be many other elements of consciousness scattered about
beside the ones we are just measuring. They can, however, in general be
left out of account, since in a case such as ours consciousness will
be directed to the content that is being measured, and the elements
outside of this will be unclear, fluctuating, and isolated.

The scope of consciousness, in accordance with our definition, is a
relatively constant value, if we keep to a special time, e.g. the 2/8
time. It does not change with a different rapidity of beat within the
above-mentioned limits. A change in the time, however, exercises great
influence. Such a change is to some extent dependent upon our will. We
can hear into our uniform row of beats not only a simple 2/8 time, but
a more complicated rhythm, e.g. the following 4/4 time:--

[Illustration: letter diagram; cardboard with point in the middle.]

Such a row arises if we let different intensities of accent enter, say
the strongest at the beginning of the row, a medium one in the middle,
and a weak one in the middle of each of the two halves of the whole
row, as in the diagram above. The strongest emphasis is denoted by
three accents, the medium one by two, and the weak ones by one. This
transition to more complicated rhythms is to a great degree dependent
upon the rapidity of the beat, as well as upon our will. With long
intervals it is very difficult to go beyond the simple 2/8 time. With
short ones a certain exertion is necessary to withstand the impulse of
transition to more complicated rhythms. When listening unconcernedly
to the beats of the metronome when the interval between the beats is
1/2 second or less, the above-described 4/4 time generally appears.
This groups together eight beats into one unity, whereas the 2/8 time
only embraces two beats. Now if we measure the scope of consciousness
for such a complicated row of beats, we find that five bars of 4/4
time can be grouped together and grasped as a whole; and if this row
is repeated after a short interval, it can be recognised as identical
with the preceding row. Here, then, we have forty beats as the scope
of consciousness for this complicated rhythm, whereas with the most
simple rhythmical arrangement we had only sixteen beats. This scope of
forty seems to be the greatest we can attain by any means. We can, it
is true, voluntarily call forth more complicated rhythmic arrangements,
e.g. 6/4 time. But such an increase in the number of beats in the
rhythmic arrangement demands a certain exertion, and the length of the
row that can be grouped together as one whole does not increase, but

In these experiments a further remarkable quality of consciousness
appears, which is closely connected to the rhythmical disposition of
consciousness. The three degrees of emphasis, which the diagram of
4/4 time shows, form a maximum of differentiation which cannot be
surpassed. Counting the unaccented beat as well, we arrive at a scale
of intensity of four grades as the highest limit in the gradation
of the intensity of impressions. This value clearly determines the
rhythmical arrangement of the whole row, and with it the comprehension
of this in consciousness, just as on the contrary the rhythm of the
beats determines the number of gradations in intensity, which are
necessary in the arrangement of the row of beats as supports for the
comprehension by consciousness. Both factors therefore stand in close
relationship to each other. The rhythmical disposition of consciousness
demands certain limits for the number of grades of emphasis, and these
on their part demand that specific rhythmical disposition which is
peculiar to the human consciousness.

The more extensive the rows of beats become, which we join together
in the experiments described, the more clearly does another important
phenomenon of consciousness appear. If we pay attention to the relation
between a beat, perceived in a certain given moment, and one that has
immediately preceded it, and if we further compare this latter with
a beat further back in the row that is being grouped together as a
whole, differences of a certain kind between all these impressions
appear. They are quite different from the variations in intensity and
emphasis. To describe them we do best to make use of expressions,
which were first of all formed in all languages to describe the
perception of visual impressions, where the same differences also
appear and are relatively independent of differences in the intensity
of light. These expressions are "clearness" and "distinctness." Their
meanings almost coincide, but still they differ inasmuch as they
denote different sides of the faculty of perception. "Clearness"
refers more to the special constitution of the impression itself;
"distinctness" to the relation of the impression to other impressions
from which it seems to stand out. Let us transfer these conceptions
in a generalised sense to the content of consciousness. One row of
beats clearly shows in each of its separate elements the most varying
degrees of clearness and distinctness. They all in a regular manner
bear upon the beat that is affecting consciousness at the moment.
This beat is the one that is most clear and most distinct. The ones
immediately preceding are most like this one, whereas those that lie
further back lose more and more in clearness. If the beat furthest
away lies so far back that the impression has absolutely disappeared,
then we speak in a picturesque way of a sinking beneath the threshold
of consciousness. For the opposite process we have at once the picture
of a rising above the threshold. In a similar sense for that gradual
approach to the threshold of consciousness, which we notice in our
experiments in the beats that lie further back, we use the expression
"a darkening," and for the reverse process "a brightening" of the
content of consciousness. With the use of these expressions we can
formulate in the following manner the condition necessary for the
comprehension of a whole consisting of many parts, e.g. a row of beats:
a comprehension as a whole is possible as long as no part sinks beneath
the threshold of consciousness. For the most obvious differences in
the clearness and distinctness of the content of consciousness, we
generally use two other expressions, which, like our former ones of
darkening and brightening, illustrate the meaning. We say that that
element of consciousness, which is mostly clearly apprehended, lies in
the fixation-point of consciousness, and that all the rest belongs to
the field of consciousness. In our metronome experiments, therefore,
the beat, that is at the moment affecting consciousness, lies in this
subjective fixation-point, whereas the preceding beats, the further
back they stretch, the more do they belong merely to this subjective
field. This latter we may picture to ourselves as a region surrounding
the fixation-point, which becomes gradually darker towards the
periphery and at last is bounded by the threshold of consciousness.

In this last figure of speech we have already suggested that the
so-called fixation-point of consciousness denotes in general only
the ideal middle point of a central region, within which several
impressions can be clearly and distinctly apprehended. So in one row
of beats the beat heard at a certain moment would lie within the
fixation-point; yet the immediately preceding beats are still clear
and distinct enough, in order to be included within the same narrow
region, which contrasts with the more extensive field by reason of
its greater clearness. The psychological process agrees also in this
respect with the expressions we have borrowed from the sense of sight,
where we have a single point of the field of vision as fixation-point,
around which a great number of impressions may be clearly perceived.
Only because of this are we able to apprehend a larger image in a
single moment, e.g. to read a word. For this central part of the field
of our consciousness, which immediately surrounds the subjective
fixation-point, the practical necessity of language has already coined
a word, which has been accepted by psychology. We call that psychical
process, which is operative in the clear perception of a narrow region
of the content of consciousness, attention. When impressions, or any
other content, at a certain moment are remarkable for their special
clearness in comparison to the other elements in consciousness, we say
that they lie within the focus of attention. Keeping to our former
figure, we imagine this as the central region that surrounds the
subjective fixation-point, and it is cut off by a more or less clearly
defined boundary-line from the larger and darker field that surrounds
it. And this immediately gives rise to a new experimental problem,
which forms an important supplement to the above-described measurement
of the whole scope of consciousness. The problem consists in answering
the question that immediately arises, How big is this narrower scope of

Rhythmical rows of beats, because of the arrangement of the successive
impressions in them, were excellently suited to determine the total
scope of consciousness. But because of this very same quality they can
give us little help in solving our second problem. For it is obvious
that just that connection between the focus of attention and the wider
field of consciousness, that the rhythm of a row of beats causes--this
connection makes a clear boundary between these two regions impossible.
We notice clearly enough that along with the beat that is directly
affecting consciousness a few of the preceding ones also fall within
the focus of attention, but how many remains uncertain. The sense
of sight obviously offers us more favourable conditions. We must,
however, first of all note the fact that the physiological conditions
of vision in themselves limit the apprehension of an extended object,
not taking into account the psychological boundary of clear perception.
The keenest differentiation of impressions is limited to the so-called
region of clearest vision, which surrounds the fixation-point. The
reader can test this for himself by fixating the middle letter "_o_"
in the following diagram of letters from a distance of about 20-25 cm,
while keeping one eye closed.

We can in this position, by directing our attention alone to the
outlying parts of the field of vision, still recognise letters, which
lie at the sides of our figure, as, for example, the _h_ at the top
or the _i_ at the right-hand side. To carry out this experiment a
little practice in fixation is required, since in natural vision we
are always inclined to direct our line of vision to that point, to
which our attention is turned. If, however, we practise letting our
attention wander over the different parts of the field of vision while
keeping the same fixation-point, it will soon be clear to us that the
fixation-point of attention and the fixation-point of the field of
vision are by no means identical. They can by practice be separated,
and the attention can be directed to a point in indirect vision, i.e. a
point lying to this or to that side of the line of vision. From this we
see that clear perception in the psychological sense and clear vision
in the physiological sense do not necessarily coincide. For example,
if we fixate the middle letter _o_, and at the same time direct our
attention to the "_n_" at the right-hand side, we also perceive clearly
the letters that surround _n_, i.e. _f g s i_, whereas the letters
around _o_, i.e. _h t i n_, seem to retreat into the darker field of
consciousness. This diagram of letters has been printed so large, that
when we look at it from a distance of 20-25 cm. it almost corresponds
in scope to the region of clearest vision, taking as a measure for
this the recognisability of letters of the size of those printed
in this book. We see, therefore, at once from the above-described
observations, that the scope of the focus of attention and the region
of clearest vision in the physiological sense differ widely from each
other. The latter, under the conditions of observation we have chosen,
comprises a far wider field than the former. In our figure there are
95 letters: If it were possible simultaneously clearly to perceive in
the psychological sense all the objects clearly seen physiologically,
then we should be able by fixating the point _o_ to perceive all these
letters. This is, however, by no means the case. At one given moment
we can differentiate only a few, which surround the fixation-point of
attention, whether this coincides with the objective fixation-point
of the field of vision, as in ordinary vision, or whether it lies
in any way outside of this point owing to a severance of the two

Although these observations as to the simultaneous recognition of
haphazardly arranged simple objects, e.g. letters, point decisively to
a fairly narrow limitation of the scope of attention, still we cannot
give an exact numerical answer by this method as to the size of this
scope, as we could by means of our metronome experiments in regard to
the scope of consciousness. Still, without any great change and without
any complicated apparatus, we can make these visual experiments suffice
to answer our question. Our immediate results will, of course, only be
valid under the special conditions we set up. For this purpose a great
number of such diagrams, with letters arranged in the same manner,
must be constructed. The position of the letters in each diagram must
be different. Then a fairly large square of white cardboard, with a
black point in the middle, is made (as in the figure on p. 19). With
this we cover the diagram chosen for the experiment. The observer, who
previously must not have seen the diagrams, is told to fixate with one
eye the point in the middle, and to keep the other eye closed.

The cover is then taken away rapidly for one moment, and then as
rapidly replaced. The rapidity of this procedure must be such that no
movement of the eye, or wandering of the attention over the field of
vision, can take place, as long as the diagram remains uncovered.[1]
Each time we repeat the experiment a new diagram must be chosen,
otherwise the individual momentary impression will supplement the
preceding ones. If we wish to obtain unambiguous results we must choose
conditions which exclude such influences of previous perceptions. Our
question will therefore be limited to this: What is the number of
simple and new impressions in consciousness that the focus of attention
can grasp in one given moment? In reference to this way of stating
the question, an objection to our method of experimenting might be
raised. It might be objected that a letter is not a simple element of
consciousness, and that we ought rather to use simpler objects, e.g.
dots. But since these lack all means of differentiation, the carrying
out of the experiment would be rendered much more difficult, if not
impossible. On the other hand, we must not forget that our familiarity
with letters is of the greatest importance. Because of this a letter of
ordinary print can be perceived as quickly as a single dot--a fact any
one can easily prove for himself by means of observation. Such symbols,
because of their characteristic differences, have this advantage,
that after a momentary impression they can be easily retained in
consciousness, and thus an account of what has been clearly perceived
can be given after the experiment. If we carry out the experiments
in the manner described, it appears that an unpractised observer can
perceive, at most, only 3-4 letters. After a few more experiments this
number increases to 6. Of course, as before mentioned, a new diagram
must be used in every new experiment. This value 6 cannot be increased
by further practice, and it remains the same for different observers.
We are therefore entitled to regard it as a constant for attention for
the human consciousness.

[Footnote 1: To carry out such experiments more exactly and more
uniformly it is best to make use of the simple apparatus called the
tachistoscope. A falling screen exposes the object to sight for a very
short time, which can be accurately measured. Still, if this apparatus
cannot be procured, the procedure described above suffices. Special
practice should be devoted to covering and uncovering the diagram, so
that this may be done as rapidly as possible.]

This determination of the scope of attention is, however, dependent
upon one condition, which is exactly the opposite of that introduced
in measuring the scope of consciousness. This latter was only possible
by using rows of impressions that were bound together into one complex
whole. To measure the scope of attention, on the other hand, we must
isolate the separate impressions from each other, so that they form an
unarranged multiplicity of elements. This is a difference in conditions
which certainly does not only depend upon the fact that in the first
case the sense of hearing and in the second case the sense of sight
was used. We rather conjecture at the very outset that here the chief
influence lay in the psychological conditions, in the first case in
the combination of the elements into a whole, and in the second in the
isolation of the elements. At once the following question naturally
arises: What will happen if we, so to speak, change the rôles of these
two senses, if we let impressions, connected together as wholes, work
upon the sense of sight, and isolated impressions upon the sense of
hearing? In the first case we have simply to combine letters together,
so that they form words or sentences. A letter is nothing more than
an element that has been artificially taken out of such a natural
combination. Now if we carry out with these parts of speech experiments
in the same manner as we have described above, we obtain, in fact, an
absolutely different result. If we show the observer a word such as


he can read it at once, without being prepared for it and without
previous practice. With isolated elements he could at most grasp six,
but here, under exactly the same conditions, the scope is extended to
seventeen or more elements without the slightest difficulty. It is
clear that this is essentially the same phenomenon that we encountered
in our experiments on rhythm with the sense of hearing. The conditions
of combination are, however, in so far different, as the stimuli for
the sense of sight were simultaneous, whereas for the sense of hearing
the whole was made up of simple impressions that followed each other.
And with this another difference is connected. A word can only be
recognised at a momentary glance, if it has been known to us before
as a whole, or with compound words, if their chief parts have been
familiar to us. Therefore a word of an absolutely unknown language
appears as a complex of unarranged letters, and with such a complex
our scope is again limited to six isolated elements. With a rhythmical
row of beats, on the other hand, it is of no consequence what the form
of rhythm is that binds them together, since we can think into such a
row whatever rhythmical arrangement we choose, as long as it conforms
to the general rhythmical disposition of consciousness, i.e. as long
as it does not exceed the maximum of three different accents, as we
have previously shown. At the same time this requirement shows us that
the differences in apprehending a successive and a simultaneous whole,
which appear in our experiments with sight and hearing, are in reality
only apparent differences. A musical time that is adequate to our sense
of rhythm behaves in exactly the same way as a word or sentence that
is adequate to our sense of language. Therefore we may presuppose that
in the reading, as in the rhythm experiments, it is not the whole of
a complex consisting of many elements that is instantaneously grasped
by the attention. Only a limited part of such a word falls within
the scope of attention, and from this part the psychical power of
combination goes over to those other elements that lie in the wider
field of consciousness. In fact there is a well-known phenomenon that
gives a striking proof for this combination of the parts of a word or
sentence grasped by attention with unclearly perceived elements. It
consists in the fact that misprints are so often unnoticed, especially
in rapid reading. This would be impossible if we were forced to
perceive with our attention equally clearly all the separate elements
of a long word or of a sentence in order to be able to read. In fact,
in each separate moment there are only a few elements within the
focus of attention. From these the threads of psychical combination
stretch to the elements unclearly perceived--yes, sometimes even to
the impressions only physiologically seen that lie in the regions of
indirect vision. Just as in hearing a rhythm, the sound impressions
affecting consciousness at the moment are bound to the preceding ones
that have retreated into the darker regions of consciousness, and,
on the other hand, they are preparing the way for further expected
impressions. The chief difference of the two cases lies not so much in
the formal relations of the scope of attention and of consciousness, as
in the constitution of the elements and their combinations.

Let us now, equipped with the results of our visual experiments, turn
our attention again to our metronome experiments. The analogy between
the two immediately gives rise to this question: Can we not in our
rhythm experiments arrange the conditions so that we may obtain a
similar isolation of simple impressions, as was necessary in measuring
the scope of attention for the sense of sight? Now in fact such an
isolation of single beats arises at once, as soon as we restrain a
"hearing into" the beats of any kind of accentuation whatever. Even the
simplest rhythm, the 2/8 time, must be avoided. This is not so easy
as it appears to be at the first glance, because of the rhythmical
disposition of our consciousness and of our whole psycho-physical
organisation. Again and again we are inclined to hear into a row of
beats following each other at similar intervals, at least the 2/8 time.
And yet it is possible to conform to this condition, if the metronome
beats do not show any noticeable objective differences. The interval
between the beats must be chosen long enough to check any tendency to
rhythmical grouping, and yet not too long, so that it may still remain
possible to grasp so many beats as one whole. In general an interval of
from 1 1/2-2 1/2 seconds will conform to this requirement. With such
an interval, after a fair amount of practice, it is possible to change
at will from a rhythmical to an unrhythmical or absolutely monotonous
perception of the beats. If this is done, and if in exactly the same
manner as in the rhythm experiments a number of metronome beats is
given, and then after a pause the same or a slightly differing number
is given, the observer can clearly perceive the identity or difference
of the two rows. If in the first test a row of six beats is given (row
A), and in the second a row of nine, it appears in repeating two rows
of the same length, that a precise recognition of identity is present
with row A, whereas with row B this is impossible. Even with seven or
eight beats recognition is very uncertain. We arrive therefore at the
same result as in our optical experiments. Six simple impressions form
the limit for the scope of attention.

[Illustration row A - row B]

Since this value is the same for optical and acoustical, for successive
and simultaneous impressions, it surely denotes some psychical constant
independent of any special sense. And in fact in using different kinds
of impressions we always arrive at the same result. The number six
with very minor variations denotes the maximum of simple impressions
that can be grasped by attention. If we choose syllables of any form,
that are not combined into words, and if we read out a row of such to
an observer, and require him to repeat them, we find that a correct
repetition is possible with a row such as the following:--

                       ap ku no li sa ro

Whereas it is not possible with a row like this:--

                    ra po su am na il ok pu

We notice that even with seven such senseless syllables the repetition
is generally unsuccessful. We may by practice become successful with
seven syllables. This is obviously exactly the same result as we
obtained above with our rows of metronome beats.

There still remains another phenomenon that coincides with this result.
It is the more worthy of note since it belongs to a third sense,
namely the sense of touch, and since it was discovered from practical
considerations quite independent of psychology. There had been many
futile attempts to discover the most useful method of printing for the
blind, before Braille, a French teacher of the blind, about the middle
of last century solved this important practical problem. He himself
had become blind, and was therefore in a better position than others
to make sure of the requirements that were necessary, by means of
experiments upon himself. He came to this result, that, first of all,
groups of distinct points were the only suitable means of establishing
letter-signs that could be easily distinguished, and that, secondly,
not more than six definite points were to be used for one letter. These
points must not spread over an extent greater than that which can be
covered by the sense of touch, if the symbols are to be distinguished
by the fingers of the blind with ease and certainty. He decided for an
arrangement of points as seen in Fig. I., out of which the alphabet for
the blind was arranged:--

[Illustration: Fig. I - II - III.]

This limitation to six points in certain positions certainly did not
come about by chance. This can clearly be seen from the fact that a
greater number, e.g. an arrangement of nine points as in Fig. III.,
would have greater practical advantages. By means of them it would have
been possible for example to represent the most important punctuation
marks or numbers with separate signs, a thing which is not possible
in Braille's type for the blind. But such complications in the
positions of the points are at once made useless by the fact that it is
impossible clearly to grasp the difference of such a large number of
points. Any one can convince himself of this by immediate observation,
if he arranges more than six similar signs and tries to distinguish by
touch alone. Thus we arrive again at the same limit that our metronome
and optical experiments led us to.

The importance of these results as to the scope of consciousness and of
attention does not lie merely in the fact that we are able to state the
relation of both in values that can be expressed in figures. Above all,
our results give us an important insight into the relations between
those elements that stand in the focus of attention and those that
belong to the wider field of consciousness. In order, then, to denote
clearly the most important results that have come to light in these
experiments, let us use two short expressions for the two processes
of the entrance into consciousness, and of the elevation into the
focus of attention--two expressions that were first of all introduced
by Leibnitz in a similar sense. We shall call the entrance into the
large region of consciousness--apprehension, and the elevation into
the focus of attention--apperception. We shall take no account of
the philosophical meanings, in which Leibnitz uses these expressions
in his theory of monads. We shall use these expressions purely in
their empirical and psychological sense. Accordingly we understand by
apprehension simply the entrance of some content into consciousness--an
entrance that can be in fact proved, and by apperception the grasping
of this by the attention. The apprehended content is that of which
we are more or less darkly aware; it is always, however, above the
threshold of consciousness. The apperceived content is that of which we
are clearly aware, or, keeping to the figure of speech of a threshold,
that which lies above the narrower threshold of attention. We can
further define the relation between these two regions of consciousness.
If the apperception is directed to one isolated element, the rest, the
merely psychically apprehended elements, disappear as if they were
non-existent. On the other hand, if the apperceived content is bound to
certain merely apprehended elements of consciousness, it is combined
into one total apprehension, which is only limited by the threshold
of consciousness itself. In close relationship with this stands the
fact that the scope of apperception is a relatively limited and
constant one, and that the scope of apprehension is not only larger,
but also much more variable. And, as we have clearly seen from our
comparison of simple and complex rhythmical rows, it varies according
to the scope of the psychical complexes that are united together into
one whole. Thereby the difference between the merely apprehended and
the apperceived parts of such a whole by no means disappears. For it
is only a limited part of this latter that lies within the focus of
attention, as has been strikingly shown in reading experiments, where
we can vary single and merely apprehended parts of a word, without
thereby disturbing the comprehension of the total complex. To use a
picture which is itself an example of this phenomenon, we may say that
that wider darkly apprehended content stands in the same relation here
as the chords of the piano accompaniment to the voice of the singer.
Slight variations in the former are mostly unobserved, so long as
the guiding voice is correct in pitch and rhythm. On the other hand,
the impression of the whole would be feeble if the accompaniment was

In this relationship between the apprehended and apperceived content
of consciousness another factor appears, which brings to light the
great importance of the processes of apperception. We started out from
the fact that it was extremely difficult to apprehend with absolute
uniformity a row of identical beats, since we are always inclined to
accentuate certain beats. This phenomenon is clearly connected with a
fundamental characteristic of apperception, which intervenes in all
processes of consciousness. We know, from ordinary life, that we are
not able to direct our attention perfectly steadily and uniformly to
one and the same object. When we attempt to do this, we notice that
a continual change takes place in the apperception of the object
in question. At times the attention turns towards the object most
intensively, and at times its energy flags. Where the conditions remain
uniform, this change gradually becomes regular and periodic. The rise
of such a process is of course materially assisted, if the outside
impressions themselves, to which our attention is directed, possess a
regular periodicity. This is the case in a high degree with a row of
beats. And so it happens that those oscillations of apperception are
directly adjusted to the periodicity of the impressions. Therefore we
emphasise an impression that coincides with a rise in the apperception
wave, so that the beats which are in fact uniform become rhythmically
arranged. The manner of this arrangement depends to a certain degree
upon our own choice, and also upon the extent in which we are trying
to combine the single impressions into a whole. If the beats follow
each other very quickly, our endeavour to combine leads us easily
into complicated rhythmical arrangements, as we have in fact noticed
above. With other and especially with simultaneous impressions similar
relations between the apperceived and the merely apprehended content
of consciousness arise, but in varying form according to the sense in
question. For example, if we expose a very short word in our reading
experiments, the whole is easily apprehended at one glance. If,
however, we expose a long word, e.g. "miscellaneousness," we notice
at once, even by direct observation, that the apprehension time is a
little longer and that it really is made up of two or three very rapid
and successive acts of apperception, and these acts may last longer
than the actual time the impression is affecting consciousness. This
succession is seen more clearly, if instead of a word we expose a
sentence of about the same length as the following:--

"Honesty is the best policy."

Here the breaking up of apperception into successive acts is materially
assisted by the divisions of the words. With such a sentence we observe
as a rule three successive acts of apperception, and it is the last
that combines the whole into one unified thought. In such a case this
is only possible as long as the preceding parts of the sentence from
the last apperception remain in the field of consciousness. If the
sentence is so long that this cannot happen, then the same thing occurs
as we have observed with rhythmical rows of beats, that have passed
the limits of possible rhythmical arrangement. We can only combine
a part of such a successively exposed whole into one conclusive act
of apperception. It is obvious therefore that the two phenomena, the
apprehension of connected beats and of connected words and sentences,
are essentially the same. The only difference consists in the fact
that in the first case the apperceived impression is connected with
the preceding one, that has retreated into the apprehension field, by
means of the rhythmical arrangement, whereas the connection in the
second case is brought about by means of the sense that binds the word
or the parts of the word together. The process consists by no means
of a mere successive apperception of the parts. These have already
disappeared out of the apperception and have become merely apprehended
elements, when they are combined into one whole along with the last
apperceived impression. This act of combination is itself a uniform
and instantaneous act of apperception. From this we see that, in all
cases of a combination of a larger complex of elements, apperception
is the function that unites these elements, and that in general it
always combines directly apperceived parts of the whole with the merely
apprehended parts that stand in connection. And so the great importance
of the relations between these two functions of apperception and of
apprehension lies precisely in the great change of these relations
and in their adjustment to the needs of our psychical life, which
finds expression in this change of relation to each other. At times
the apperception concentrates upon a very narrow region, in order
completely to free itself from the enormous manifoldness of incoming
impressions. At other times, with the help of its capacity for grouping
together successive elements which arises from the oscillating nature
of its function, it winds its threads through a wide web of psychical
contents, that stretches over the whole field of consciousness.
Through it all apperception remains the unifying function which binds
that manifold content into one ordered whole. Contrasted with it and
subordinate to it, and in a certain sense acting as centrifugal forces,
are the processes of apprehension, which with apperception together
form the whole of our psychical life.



In our last chapter we have discussed the general and formal
characteristics of consciousness. These have appeared to us in the
scope of consciousness, in the different grades of clearness and
distinctness of its content, and lastly, connected with this, in the
relations of apprehension and apperception. The next question that
immediately presents itself is: Of what kind is the specific content
that appears to us in these forms? The answer to this question includes
the task of explaining the ultimate parts of this content, that cannot
be further disintegrated. Such ultimate parts are generally called
elements. Now it is one of the first tasks of each science, that deals
with the investigation of empirical facts, to discover the elements
of the phenomena. Its second task is to find out the laws according
to which these elements enter into combinations. The whole task of
psychology can therefore be summed up in these two problems: (1) What
are the elements of consciousness? (2) What combinations do these
elements undergo and what laws govern these combinations?

In contradistinction to the elements of consciousness let us call any
combination of such elements a psychical compound. The relation of the
two to each other can be at once made clear by the examples that lie
at hand. Let us return to our metronome. If we let one single beat
work upon consciousness and then immediately arrest the pendulum, we
have a psychical element. Such a beat cannot in general be further
disintegrated if we, as can easily be done in such a case, abstract
from the fact that we hear it from some special direction in space,
&c. If, on the other hand, we let two beats work, they constitute
at once a psychical compound. This becomes always more complex, the
more such beats we combine into a row, and the more we increase this
complication by different degrees of accentuation, as in the examples
of 2/8 and 4/4 time described above. Such an element of consciousness
as the single beat is called a sensation, a combination of elements
into rhythms of more or less complicated constitution is called an
idea. Even at the present time many psychologists use the word "idea"
only for a complex that does not arise from direct outward impressions,
i.e. only for so-called "memory images." For ideas formed by outward
sense impressions they generally use the word "perception." Now this
distinction is psychologically of absolutely no importance, since there
are really no valid differences between memory ideas and so-called
sense-perceptions. The memory ideas of our dreams are in general quite
as lively as sense impressions in the waking state, and it is for this
reason that they are often held to be really experienced phenomena.
The word "idea" denotes well the essential characteristic of all these
complexes. The idea (Greek idea) is the form or appearance of something
in the outer world. In the same sense, as belonging to the outer world,
we speak of the sensations and their complexes arising in our own body
as organic sensations, because we locate them in out own body, e.g. the
sensations of fatigue of our muscles, the pressure and pain sensations
of the inner organs, &c. The relatively uniform elements of touch and
organic sensations are distributed among the sensations of pressure,
warmth, cold, and pain. In contra-distinction to these, the special
senses of hearing, seeing, smelling, and tasting present an abundance
of sensations, each of which, according to its peculiar constitution,
is called a quality of sensation. Each such quality is besides variable
in its intensity. We can, for example, produce a certain beat in very
variable intensities, while the quality remains the same.

In all these cases we meet with the same relations between sensations
and ideas, as we saw in the metronome beats described above. Green or
red, white or black, &c., are called visual sensations; a green surface
or a black body is called a visual idea. The relation is exactly the
same as between the single beat and the row of beats. Only in this case
the combination of several sensations to an idea of a surface or of a
body forces itself upon us much more directly, and it requires a very
careful abstraction from this combination into an ideational complex,
in order to retain the conception of a sensation. But we can vary our
ideas of surfaces and bodies at will, while the colour remains the
same. So at last we are forced to look upon this element, that remains
the same in spite of all changes in the combinations, as a simple
sensation. In the same way we consider a simple tone as a sensation
of hearing, and a clang or chord, composed of several tones, as an
auditory idea, and so on. If the tones follow each other in a melodious
and rhythmical combination, then ideas of increasing complexity arise,
and in the same manner several relatively simple visual ideas may be
bound together into more extensive simultaneous or successive unities.
The senses of sight and of hearing in especial form in this way a great
variety of sensations and ideas, and they do this in two ways--firstly,
through the qualities of their simple sensations, and secondly,
through the complications of ideas, into which these sensations may be
combined. The simple scale of tones, from the deepest to the highest
tone that can be heard, consists of an infinite gradation of tonal
qualities, out of which our musical scale chooses only certain tones,
which lie at relatively large distances from each other. Musical clangs
are combinations of a number of such simple tonal sensations, and the
so-called compound clangs increase this complicated constitution of
the clangs by emphasising to a greater degree certain partial tones.
The simple light-sensations form a more concise manifoldness, but one
that stretches into different directions. Red, for example, on the
one hand goes over by constant gradations into orange and then into
yellow, and on the other hand we have just as many constant gradations
from each of these colour-shades through the lighter colour-tones into
white, or through the darker ones into black, and so on. The ideas of
this sense are absolutely inexhaustible. If we think of the manifold
forms of surfaces and bodies, and of the differences in distance and
direction, in which we perceive objects, it is obvious that it is
absolutely impossible to find any limit here. Thus the richness in
sensations and ideas, which each of the senses conveys, stands in close
relation to the spatial distance of the objects which they introduce
into consciousness. The narrowest region is that of the touch and
organic sense, where the impressions all refer to our own body. Then
come the sensations of the two so-called chemical senses of taste
and of smell. Even in man they have the important function of organs
of help or protection in the choice of food, as is the case in the
whole animal kingdom. The sensations and ideas of hearing stretch much
further. By means of them the outer world enters into relation with our
consciousness in language, song, and music. And last of all, the sense
of sight, the sense of distance in the real meaning of the word, gives
form and content to the whole picture of the outer world, that we carry
in our consciousness.

However different the qualities of sensations and the forms of
ideas may be, yet these elements and complexes all agree in one
particular--they all refer to the objective world, to things and
processes outside of us, to their qualities, their combinations, and
their relations. Our own body, to which touch and organic sensations
relate, forms in contradistinction to our consciousness a part of
this outer world. It is the nearest to us, but still a mere part of
the outer world. The question immediately arises: Do these objective
elements and complexes form the only content of consciousness? Or
in other words, are the only psychical elements such as we project
outwards? Or are there in our consciousness, besides this picture of
the outer world, other elements, which we do not apprehend as objects
or their qualities that stand in contradistinction to ourselves?

To answer this question let us use the metronome to help us. If we
choose time intervals of a medium length, say 1/2 to 1 1/2 seconds, and
if we make such a row of beats rhythmical by the voluntary emphasis
of certain beats in the manner described above, then each single
beat represents a sensation and the whole row of beats represents an
idea. At the same time, during the impression on consciousness of
such a rhythmical whole we notice phenomena that are not contained
in our definition of sensation or idea. Above all, we have at the
end of the row of beats the impression of an agreeable whole. If we
wish to define this concept of "agreeable" more accurately, we may
describe it as a subjective feeling of pleasure, which is caused by
outward impressions, which we therefore call agreeable. This concept
consists therefore of two parts--an objective idea, in our case the
row of beats, and a subjective feeling of pleasure. This latter is
obviously not in itself included in the impression of the row of beats
or in that which we call the idea. It is clearly an added subjective
element. It also shows itself to be such from the fact that we do
not project it into the outer world. It is apprehended directly as
a reaction of our consciousness, or rather, to express it at once
more fittingly, of our apperception. This shows itself also in the
relative independence of this feeling of pleasure from the objective
constitution of the impression. Since in such a simple compound as a
rhythmical row of beats the agreeableness is generally very moderate,
we clearly observe that with many individuals the feeling of pleasure
contained in it often sinks below the threshold of consciousness, so
that they only perceive the objective constitution of the beats. With
others this subjective reaction becomes very prominent. The feeling of
pleasure will, as is well known, become more intense, when harmonious
tones combine with the rhythmical beat into one melodious whole. The
agreeable feeling that then arises from the melody can scarcely be
wanting in any individual consciousness. Just here we note that the
degree of this feeling of pleasure for one and the same melody can
vary extraordinarily for different individuals. And these subjective
differences increase more and more as the melodious compound becomes
more complicated. A complicated tone-structure may produce the greatest
ecstasy in a musician, whereas it may leave an unmusical person
absolutely cold. The latter, on the other hand, may perhaps find a very
simple melody agreeable, and this same melody may appear trivial to the
musician and therefore disagreeable. In all these cases we see that the
feeling of pleasure, which is bound to certain sensations and ideas, is
purely subjective. It is an element that is not only dependent upon the
impression itself, but also and always and most of all dependent upon
the subject receiving the impression. And negatively the subjective
character of this feeling is shown in the fact that it is never
projected into the outer world, although it may be so closely bound up
with the idea that refers to the outer world.

But feelings of pleasure are not the only ones that we observe in our
rhythm experiments. If we call to mind the exact state of consciousness
between two beats of a rhythmical row, we notice that the apprehension
of the identity of two intervals arises by means of a subjective
process. This process takes place in the same manner within each of the
two compared intervals, and thereby gives rise to the impression that
they coincide. In ordinary life we generally speak of the phenomena,
that are observed in such cases, as a change from "expectation" to
"realisation." If we follow these phenomena a little more closely, we
notice that in our case the process of expectation is a continuous and
regularly varying one. At the moment immediately following one beat,
expectation strains itself to catch the next one, and this straining
increases until this beat really occurs. At the same moment the strain
is suddenly relieved by the realisation of the expected, when the
new beat comes. Then the same process is repeated during the next
interval. If the arrangement of the beat is more complicated because
of different degrees of emphasis, then these subjective processes
become in proportion more complicated, since several such processes of
expectation and realisation overlap one another.

What do these processes, which we so often meet, although not always
in such regular change as in a rhythmical row of beats, consist of?
It is obvious at a glance that expectation and realisation are both
elements that are not bound to the objective impression itself. These
processes can vary subjectively just as much as the agreeable feeling
that arises from a rhythmical row of beats or from a melody. It is now
pretty generally agreed that these peculiar elements of consciousness
arise within us and not without us. There is, however, still one
possibility that remains. It might be that sensations are the bearers
of these subjective phenomena of expectation, perhaps sensations that
are perceived while listening to a row of beats, arising partly in
the interior of the ear because of the straining of the membrane of
the tympanum, and partly in the mimic muscles that surround the ear.
These sensations correspond to the similar sensations in the eye in
expectation of visual impressions. Yet this hypothesis, on closer
examination, proves untenable for various reasons. First of all these
sensations continue, during the whole period of expectation, in a
relatively constant intensity, as far as can be observed. There is
no trace of that regular increase and that sudden transition to the
opposite process of realisation, such as we observed in our rhythm
experiments. Secondly, we can produce exactly similar sensations in our
ear, or round about our ear, or in the region surrounding the eye, if
we voluntarily contract the muscles in question, without our being in a
state of expectation, or if we send a slight electric current through
such muscles. In both cases the characteristic element of expectation
is wanting. Lastly, it is obviously impossible to account for these
phenomena by means of uniform muscle-sensations if we wish to explain
that superposition of states of expectation of different degrees and
extents, which we observed in more complicated rhythmical rows of
beats, or which happens in complicated psychical states arising through
intellectual processes. How could the sensations of the membrane of
the tympanum, or of the fixation muscles of the eye, account for that
intense feeling of expectation which an exciting novel or a good
play may cause? Add to this the fact that these states are quite as
subjective and dependent on the individual disposition of consciousness
as a feeling of pleasure that is awakened by an agreeable rhythm,
and it is at once obvious that these states, which we shall call
for shortness the contrasts of strain and relaxation, have the very
same right to be called feelings. For feelings, wherever they arise,
accompany, as subjective reactions of consciousness, sensations and
ideas, but are never identical with them.

We obtain therefore, with the above-mentioned medium rapidity of the
metronome, feelings of pleasure and feelings of strain and relaxation
in close connection with each other, as regular concomitants of
rhythmical impressions. This, however, is essentially changed if the
rapidity of the beats is altered. If we chose intervals of from to
3 seconds, strain and relaxation follow similarly as before. They
appear even more distinctly, since the strain increases, to a greater
intensity because of the longer intervals. But just as distinctly
does the feeling of pleasure decrease with this increase in the
length of the interval, and we soon reach the limit where the strain
of expectation becomes painful. Here, then, the former feeling of
pleasure is transformed into a feeling of displeasure, which is again
closely connected with the feelings of strain and relaxation. Now let
us proceed in the opposite direction by making the metronome beats
follow each other after intervals of 1/2 to 1/4 of a second, and we
notice that the feelings of strain and relaxation disappear. In their
place appears an excitement that increases with the rapidity of the
impressions, and along with this we have generally a more or less
lively feeling of displeasure. We see, therefore, a new feeling added
to those already found. We may call it most appropriately excitation.
It is sufficiently well known to us in ordinary life in its more
complicated forms, where it obviously forms an essential component
of many emotions, e.g. anger, lively joy, &c. We can also find the
contrast to this feeling of excitation with the help of the same
instrument, by suddenly decreasing the rapidity of the beats to their
medium rapidity again. This change is regularly accompanied by a very
distinct feeling of quiescence (a quieting or subduing feeling).

Accordingly our metronome experiments have brought to light three pairs
of feelings--pleasure and pain, strain and relaxation, excitation and
quiescence. At the same time it has been shown that only very seldom do
these forms of feeling appear isolated. Several of them are generally
combined together into one feeling-compound. We may call this latter
the aggregate feeling, and the former the partial feelings. It is
evident that between these two a similar relation exists as between
ideas and pure sensations. Besides this, the contrasts of each pair of
feelings--e.g. pleasure and displeasure--include the possibility of
all these contrasts balancing each other, so that a state almost free
from feeling may result. Just as, on the other hand, several partial
feelings very often join together to form one aggregate feeling, so
in more complicated states of emotion contrasting feelings may be
intertwined. They do not therefore in all cases compensate one another.
They sometimes join together to make contrasting combinations. Simple
cases of such contrasting combinations or disjointed moods can be
brought about in a simple form by means of the metronome. We arrange
the time of the beats so that the feeling of strain just begins to
become painful, while at the same time the feeling of relaxation, and
partly also the strain directed on this, still causes pleasure.

Let us now leave rhythmical acoustical impressions and consider any
other sense. We find everywhere the same pairs of feelings that we
produced by means of the metronome. It is very striking how the
feeling-character always follows in the same directions, if we give
successive impressions that give rise to contrasting feelings. Red is
exciting, while blue in contrast to it is quieting. In the same way a
deep and a high tone contrast. At the same time, the feeling-contrast
is here a mixed one, as the expressions "serious" and "solemn" for deep
tones, and "bright" and "lively" for the high ones, show. It would seem
as if with the deepest tones pleasure and displeasure combine together
to that total impression of seriousness, and to this a quieting feeling
is added when the deep tone stands in contrast to preceding high tones.

The feelings joined to the impressions of the senses of touch and
smell and taste are in general more uniform and simpler. Here we have
as contrasts the strong displeasure of a sensation of pain, and the
feeling of pleasure of a weak sensation of tickling. Similarly with
the pleasant impression of a sweet and the unpleasant impression
of an intensely bitter or sour taste, and so on. It is obvious,
however, that already among the smells we find many that possess
a composite feeling-quality, e.g. pleasant and at the same time
exciting, as menthol-ether, or unpleasant and exciting, as ammonia and
asafoetida. The organic or common sensations are also often of a mixed
feeling-character. Yet pleasure and displeasure predominate here most
of all.

An important characteristic of feelings consists lastly in the fact
that they combine themselves into an affective process, which as a
rule is joined to an ideational process. A temporal process of this
kind with an affective and ideational content, that changes but
is nevertheless joined together, we call an emotion, or with less
intensity and a more lasting nature of the feelings, a disposition.
Joy, delight, merriness, hope are emotions in which the predominant
feeling is pleasure; anger, grief, sorrow, and fear are emotions in
which displeasure predominates. Now in both these series of emotions
the exciting and quieting feelings and the feelings of strain and
relaxation in many cases often play an important part. The quieting
feeling combined with displeasure we call depression. Joy and anger
are exciting emotions, grief and fear are depressing, hope, sorrow,
and fear are straining. When, however, an expected result takes place,
or when the emotion of fear disappears, a strong feeling of relaxation
generally occurs. Many emotions are also characterised by a fluctuating
affective process, sometimes changing in intensity and sometimes in
quality. Anger, hope, and sorrow in especial show great fluctuations in
intensity. With hope, fear, and sorrow we very often find fluctuations
in quality. Hope and sorrow often change between themselves, and in
most cases increase in intensity because of this contrast. Especially
with the emotions we can perceive this affective process objectively in
the movements of the mimic muscles of the face, and when the emotions
are very strong in the other muscles of the body. These so-called
mimic and pantomimic "expression movements" are always combined with
characteristic changes of the movements of the heart and lungs. They
are in so far the most sensitive characteristics of these subjective
processes, since they can be observed even with the weakest emotions
and even with the simplest feelings, that have not yet been bound
together into an affective process. The expansion and contraction of
the small blood-vessels, especially of the face, that often happens in
a state of emotion, must also be mentioned here. In anger and shame we
notice blushing, and in fear and fright pallor.

A further class of important compound processes stands in close
connection with the emotions, i.e. the volitional processes. In many
cases, even at the present day, the will is held to be a specific
psychical element, or it is considered in its essence to be identical
with the idea of an intended act. A closer investigation of the
volitional process as to its subjective and objective characteristics
shows, however, that it is most closely connected with the emotions,
and that it really is to be considered an affective process. There is
no act of volition in which feelings of greater or less intensity,
which combine into an affective process, are not present. The
characteristic in which a volitional process differs from an emotion
consists essentially in the end of the process that immediately
precedes and accompanies the act of volition. If this end is not
reached, it remains simply an emotion. We speak of the emotion of
anger if a man merely shows his angry excitement in his expression
movements. On the other hand we speak of an act of emotion if he fells
to the ground the person who has excited his anger. In many cases the
emotions and their feeling-content, which form the constituent parts
of the volitional process, are weaker, but they are never absolutely
wanting. A voluntary action without feeling, one that follows from
purely intellectual motives, as many philosophers presuppose, does not
exist at all. On the other hand the volitional processes are marked
out from the ordinary emotions by characteristics which give volition
its peculiar character. Firstly there are certain ideas in the process
which possess a more or less strong feeling-tone, and which are in
direct connection with the end stage of the act of volition, and
prepare for it. We call such ideas the motives of volition. Secondly,
the end stage consists of characteristic feelings, which always occur
in essentially the same manner in all volitional processes. These we
generally call feelings of activity. They are very probably compounded
of feelings of excitation, of strain, and of relaxation, as a closer
subjective analysis and the concomitant objective expression-symptoms,
especially the movements of breathing, show. Excitation and strain
precede the conclusive act, relaxation and excitation accompany the
act, and continue for a short time afterwards. It is obvious that the
number and the reciprocal action of the motives are of decisive moment
for the constitution of the volitional process. If only one single
motive is present, which prepares the emotion and its discharge into
action, we call the volitional process an impulsive act; The acts of
animals are clearly in most cases such simple volitional acts. So also
in the psychical life of man they play a very important part--the
leading part in the more composite volitional processes, and they very
often arise out of these latter when these have been often repeated.
The actions that arise out of several conflicting motives of strong
feeling-tone we call voluntary acts, or if we are clearly aware of a
previous conflict of opposite motives, selective or discriminative
acts. According to this complication of motives, the end stage, which
is especially characteristic of the volitional processes, takes
different forms. With impulsive acts the whole process takes place
quickly; the concluding feelings of excitation, strain, and relaxation
are generally crowded together in a very short time. With voluntary
and especially with selective acts, the whole process is much slower,
and the feelings often fluctuate up and down. The same is often the
case with those complex volitional acts, which do not show themselves
outwardly in certain bodily movements, but which give rise to changes
in the process of consciousness itself. Such inner volitional acts are
noticed above all in the voluntary concentration of attention, in the
direction of thought guided by special motives, and so on.

Now if we investigate more closely these feelings of strain,
excitation, and relaxation, which make up these inner volitional
acts, we notice at once the great conformity of these with the
processes which accompany the apperception of an impression or of an
idea arising in consciousness through recollection. It is obvious
that these elements, grouped together under the name of "feelings of
activity," make up along with varying sensations the essential part of
impulsive and voluntary acts in the one case, and of the processes of
attention and apperception in the other. These processes also coincide
in so far as different forms of apperception correspond to impulsive
and voluntary action. If we apprehend an impression which is given
to us without our assistance, the attention seems in a sense to be
compelled to turn to this impression, following this single motive.
We can express this by saying we apprehend it passively. The feeling
of activity always follows such an impression. If on the other hand
we turn to an expected impression, then these feelings of strain
and excitation clearly precede the impression. We are aware that
our apperception is active. These have often been called processes
of involuntary and voluntary attention. But these expressions are
unsuitable, since in reality volitional processes are present in both
cases. They are, like impulsive and voluntary acts, merely processes of
different grades. It is at once evident that, by reason of this inner
conformity, apperception itself may be looked upon as a volitional
process. It occurs as an essential factor in all inner and outer
volitional acts, and as an ever-present one in the feelings of activity
so characteristic of the will. Herein lies the chief motive for the
fact that we look upon the will as our most private possession, the one
that is most identical with our inner nature itself. Our ideas seem in
comparison with it to be something external, upon which our will reacts
according to its feelings. And so at bottom our will coincides with our
"ego." Now this ego is neither an idea, nor a specific feeling, but it
consists of those elementary volitional processes of apperception which
accompany the processes of consciousness. They are always changing but
they are always present, and in this way form the lasting substratum
of our self-consciousness. The inner line of fortifications of this
ego are the feelings, which represent nothing more than the reactions
of apperception to outer experience. The next line consists of this
experience itself--the ideas, of which the ones that are nearest to
us, i.e. those of our own body, are most closely connected with the
volitional processes that are at work in the apprehension of them. And
so it happens at a naive stage of consciousness that they are combined
together with the ego itself into one unity.

We have now learned to recognise the emotions, dispositions, and
volitional processes as psychical contents, all of which differ from
each other in their characteristic processes. None of them, however,
contain anywhere specific elements. They can all of them be analysed
into the same forms of feelings. Although the volitional process in
especial is very peculiar, yet this peculiarity nowhere depends upon
specific ideational or affective elements, but solely upon the mode
of combination of these elements into emotions with their end stages
again composed merely of general affective forms. Still there remains
another question to be answered, which has not yet been settled by
the reduction of all feelings to the above-mentioned six principal
forms, viz. pleasure, displeasure, strain, relaxation, excitation, and
quiescence. Is each of these forms perfectly uniform? Does it always
return in the same quality? Or does it stand in a similar relation as
the colour "blue" stands to the different shades of that colour, so
that the principal form may not only appear in different grades of
intensity, but also in various qualities? To answer these questions
let us turn again to our metronome. It has again the advantage of
illustrating our problem by means of a very simple example. Let us take
two rows of beats in 4/4 time with the accents arranged differently as
in A and B, obtained by the method of subjective rhythm as described


Both contain the same number of rises and falls, but in a different
arrangement. A shows a pronounced example of a descending row of beats,
B a similar example of a row that first ascends and then descends.
With a suitable rapidity of the metronome we can easily hear at will
into the uniform beats of the pendulum each of these rhythms. If,
however, we have once made our choice between the two forms, then we
group the beats that follow the row A in exactly the same manner as the
row A, and the same thing happens with the row B. Such a spontaneous
repetition is only possible owing to the fact that at the last beat of
each row we group the whole together. This we do with the succeeding
beats as well, just as we have seen to be generally the case in
measuring the scope of consciousness. Now if we observe our feelings
we obtain an important addition to our previous observations. They
showed us that a very important part of such a process was composed of
the alternating feelings of strain and relaxation, and perhaps also
of excitation and quiescence, and lastly of agreeableness. This last
feeling was especially strong at the end of a row of beats, caused by
the arrangement of the single element into one rhythmically ordered
whole. It is obvious now that the centre of gravity of the affective
process lies every time at the end of a row, where the superimposed
rhythmical feelings run together into one unity. For it is unmistakably
this feeling that allows us directly to apprehend the succeeding rows
as identical with the preceding ones in a succession of similar rows.
What we apperceive is not the preceding row itself. The greater number
of its elements lie already in the darker field of consciousness.
We apperceive rather this aggregate feeling, which is joined to the
last directly apperceived element, and which is the resultant of
the preceding affective processes. Now let us compare this terminal
feeling, that lends a given rhythm its essential and peculiar affective
character, as it appears in the two examples represented by A and B.
It is evident that however much on the one hand a row may depend upon
the constitution and the arrangement of the preceding components, it
yet on the other hand always possesses its own specific quality. It
is true that we can always classify this under one or more of the six
chief qualities, and yet we do not thereby account for its own peculiar
quality, which differentiates it from the others of the same class. It
also cannot be considered a mere summation of the simple feelings that
axe joined to the separate parts of the process. The feelings of strain
and relaxation that are distributed over the rows A and B are the same.
They differ at most in the degree of intensity. We cannot therefore
understand why the feelings that remain behind at the end of each row
should be so different. But it is so. We can convince ourselves of
this more directly than in the experiments with voluntary rhythmical
emphasis, if we produce the rows A and B after one another by means
of knocking and without a metronome. Here the emphasised beats are
not only subjectively, but also objectively accentuated. If, by this
method, another observer compares the rows A and B given successively,
he obtains at the end of each row such differing impressions that
he cannot decide with certainty whether the rows are of equal or of
different lengths. We saw above, that with the repetition of similar
rows of beats, five rows of 4/4 time could be apprehended at once. Now,
however, as soon as the rhythm is changed, it is impossible to compare
one single row with another of differing rhythm. The aggregate feeling
concentrated at the end of each row of beats possesses each time a
qualitative colouring dependent upon the constitution of the rhythm.
This colouring coincides in its general form with the feeling of
agreeableness that arises at the end and with the feeling of relaxation
following the strain of expectation. These observations supplement
essentially our former results as to the apprehension of longer rows of
beats. We found that the knowledge that two rows were the same, always
came at the end of a row, and that this verification followed the rows
directly in one uniform act of apperception. Now we can explain this
phenomenon perfectly by the uniform nature and the instantaneous rise
of that resulting aggregate feeling. Because of this the last beat
in a rhythmical row comes to represent the whole row. 'The quality
of the rhythmical feeling that corresponds to the time in question
concentrates itself in a perfectly adequate manner in the apperception.
Thus the qualitative shades of feeling that are bound to the idea come
to represent the idea itself. This substitution is of the greatest
importance, above all from the fact, as we have clearly seen in the
rhythmical experiments, that the ideas and their components lying in
the darker fields of consciousness influence in their apperceptive
affective power the process of consciousness.

What has been here explained with the simple example of a row of beats,
can now be applied to ideational content of every kind. If we form a
melody by combining the rhythm with a certain ordered change of tones,
and if it is repeated, exactly the same process takes place as with the
repetition of an unmelodious row of beats. The qualitative resultant
of this whole, which here again is concentrated on the apperception of
the last impression and which makes an immediate repetition possible,
has, however, become very much richer. Here in the terminal feeling,
preparing itself during the course of the melodious collection of
tones, the whole concentrates itself again to a perfectly uniform
affective product complete in itself. It is the very same with any
other ideational compound. Even although the affective value is very
weak, it always receives a qualitative colouring from the composition
of the idea. This colouring appears, where other more lively affective
reactions are wanting, as a modification of the delicate feelings of
strain and excitation which accompany all processes of consciousness,
and especially of apperception. The great importance which feelings
have for all the processes of consciousness is often overlooked. This
applies to the processes of memory, cognition and recognition, and
also to the so-called activities of imagination and understanding. We
shall return to this when we discuss these various forms of psychical
combinations. At this point let us emphasise once again the result that
our observations have led us to as to the real nature of feeling. We
have called the feelings states that were connected with the subject,
subjective reactions of consciousness. We see now that this description
is not exactly incorrect, but that it is inadequate. What gives its
psychical value to a feeling arising from any objective content of
consciousness is not its connection with consciousness, but the fact
that it is closely bound up with the apperceptive processes. Feeling
is always bound to an apperceptive act. This came plainly to light
in the rhythmical experiments where the feeling arose from preceding
impressions. Feeling may therefore be looked upon as the specific way
in which the apperception reacts upon the content of consciousness that
stands in connection with the immediately apperceived impression.

Lastly, two other questions present themselves. How is it that feeling
possesses the characteristic of appearing in certain contrasts, viz.
pleasure and displeasure, &c.? And how is it that just three such pairs
of contrasts exist, which we shall call for the sake of shortness the
three dimensions of feeling? Since we are here dealing with ultimate
facts of psychological experience, which cannot be further analysed,
the answers to our questions cannot in the proper sense give an
explanation of these facts. That is, in reality, as impossible as to
explain why a blue colour is blue and a red one red. Considering,
however, the connection of the feelings with the total processes of
consciousness, we can try to explain these contrasts in this connection
The view of feeling as a way of reaction of the apperception upon a
given content gives us some help in understanding these affective
contrasts. We found that the act of apperception represented a simple
volitional act.

Now each volition contains latently either an attracting or an opposing
element. Our volition is attracted by the desired object, and it turns
away from the one that opposes us. Herein lies expressed, as we can
see, that fundamental relation of affective contrasts which now spreads
into different directions in the basal forms of feeling. Among these
the pair of contrasts of pleasure and displeasure may be looked upon
as a modification of the attracting and opposing elements, which are
directly connected with the qualitative constitution of the impression
or the idea. What we desire is joined with pleasure, what opposes
us with displeasure. On the other hand, the pair of contrasts of
excitation and quiescence will very likely stand in direct relation to
the intensity with which apperception enters into action, even although
qualitatively the content that calls it into action be pleasurable,
or the reverse, or indifferent. Now in so far as this action, called
forth by a certain content, consists of an increase or decrease of the
normal function of apperception, so the intensive side of the reaction
divides up into these two opposites--excitation and quiescence.
Lastly, because of the relation between the successive processes of
consciousness, each act of apperception stands at the same time in
connection with the preceding and the succeeding processes. Now,
according as apperception is directed to an immediately passed or to an
immediately coming row, a feeling of relaxation or of strain arises. We
may therefore look upon each single feeling in principle as a compound
that can be divided up into all these dimensions and into their two
principal directions. In each feeling these components are emphasised
more or less strongly or are quite wanting, while all the time the
total qualitative constitution of the content of consciousness gives
to the whole its specific colouring, which distinguishes it from every
other content.



The elements of our consciousness, as the foregoing discussion has
taught us, stand in general combinations with each other. Even where
objective impressions lack steady combinations, we are accustomed to
construct such by means of subjective sensations and feelings. The
single beats of a row on the metronome are as such isolated, but we
combine them into a rhythmical whole by means of our feelings of strain
and relaxation, and by means of weak accompanying muscle-sensations.
We have seen that in this way the different ideational compounds, the
complex feelings, the emotions, and the volitional processes are all
resultants of the psychical processes of combination. Now, how are
these combinations constituted, and what laws are they subject to?
Psychologists generally have called them "Associations," since the
English philosophy of the eighteenth century turned its attention
to the importance of this process of combination. The opinion has
often been expressed that this one concept is sufficient to include
under it all psychical processes of combination. We shall soon see,
however, that thereby a very important and characteristic difference
is left out of account. We shall choose this difference, since it
certainly influences all processes of consciousness, as our chief
principle in a division of these combinations. This distinctive
characteristic consists in the fact that one set of psychical
combinations acts of its own accord, i.e. without the accompaniment
of those feelings of activity which we learnt were constituent parts
of the processes of apperception and volition; whereas another set is
closely connected with these activities. At the same time, further
distinctive characteristics in the combination processes run parallel
to this one. Let us therefore call only those generally passive
combination processes associations, and the active ones apperceptive
combinations, or for shortness apperceptions. If we limit in this way
the concept "association" in contra-distinction to the ordinary use
of the term, still we must enlarge it considerably on the other side,
if we wish to do justice to all the combinations of this sort that
really exist. The old theory of association was founded exclusively
on the observation of the memory-processes. With such a process we
are accustomed to take note, first of all, merely of the ideational
compounds of consciousness, and secondly, the ideas in such a schematic
memory-process are arranged regularly in a temporal succession; for
example, an outward impression acts first of all upon consciousness,
and then we remember something previous that was similar to this
impression, or stood in relation to it. Now these memory-processes, as
a closer inspection will show, make up a remarkably small part of our
associations. They are in fact of much less importance than many other
forms. As soon as we compare this form with other forms, we recognise
at once that it is merely a secondary form.

If we wish to arrange associations according to their simplicity and
the closeness of their combinations, we can start with the following
simple experiment. If we make the string of a piano sound by plucking
it in the middle, then, as the science of physics teaches us, not
only does the whole string vibrate, but each half vibrates as well
in a smaller degree, and in general each third part, each fourth,
&c., in ever decreasing amplitudes. These segments, which decrease in
length according to the numerical series 1, 2, 3, &c., correspond to
tones of increasing pitch--the half string corresponds to the octave,
the third part to the fifth of the octave, the fourth to the double
octave, and so on. If these high tones are then produced alone, one
after another, by making the corresponding part of the string vibrate
each time, and if we then return to the tone of the whole string,
we can then, if we listen attentively, hear clearly, along with the
stronger sounding fundamental tone, these overtones, or at least
those nearest to the fundamental. We therefore say that the clang of
a string, or of any other musical source, does not only consist of
the one tone according to which we determine its pitch, but also of a
series of overtones, which give it its timbre or clang-colour. This
expression itself points to the fact that in hearing a clang there
takes place psychologically an association, which is of a specially
intimate kind. The above-described experiment of comparing a clang with
some of its overtones teaches us that these latter really exist in
sensation, and that we can perceive them with very intense attention.
Nevertheless under ordinary circumstances we do not perceive them as
independent tones, but they appear to us massed together only as a
specific modification of the fundamental tone, and we call this its
clang-colour or timbre. An association of this kind, in which the
sensation-components are so fused into the resulting product that they
can no longer be clearly perceived as isolated component parts, is
called a fusion. Such a fusion can be either a very close one or a very
loose one. A single clang is for example a close fusion, a chord is a
loose one. The separate fundamental tones of a chord are bound fairly
closely into one whole, but we can hear at least some of them quite

Similar fusions occur in the various senses, and they become very
complicated owing to the fact that sensation-elements of several
senses are joined together at the same time. The disappearance of the
components into one resulting product brings it about that we cannot
directly perceive the separate elements that make up this product
by means of direct sensation, as is in part possible in the case of
clang-fusions. We are forced to make use of an indirect method. We
proceed from the principle, that each sensation, a change in which is
of essential influence on the resulting idea, belongs to the components
of this idea. A pronounced case of this kind is seen very clearly in
spatial ideas of the senses of touch and sight. If any part of the
skin is touched with a little rod, we can, as is well known, with a
fair degree of certainty apprehend the place touched, without looking
at it. Now in the pathological cases of partial paralysis, it is
shown that there are two kinds of sensations that are of essential
influence on this localisation. Firstly, it is considerably disturbed
by a partial suspension of the outer cutaneous sensitivity. In this
case the patient often localises the impression on a place far removed
from the place touched. Secondly, complete or partial paralysis of
the muscles in the region of the place touched, e.g. the muscles
of the arm and hand in the case of a touch sensation on the hand,
causes just as much confusion in localisation. In this case as well
the patient may localise the impression on an absolutely wrong part
of the body. Therefore we must presuppose that neither cutaneous nor
muscle sensations alone are the original cause of the idea of the place
touched, but that both together by fusion give rise to this idea.
After this has once happened, the quality of the touch sensation which
is peculiar to each part of the skin and which varies with the place
of the impression, can in itself bring about a localisation. That
in general both components, i.e. cutaneous and movement sensations,
must fuse together in order to produce an idea of a certain place or
locality, is clearly shown in blind people, and especially in those
born blind. In their case the sense of sight, which determines the
whole perception of space for those who can see, is wanting, and we
observe in them a continuous and very lively co-operation of cutaneous
sensations and movements of touch.

Exactly corresponding to these relations in the sense of touch are
the phenomena that we observe in the formation of visual spatial
ideas. Here as well we notice two sensation-components regularly
working together. The one consists of the sensations of the retina.
Analogous to the touch sensations of the skin, they vary in quality
not only according to the constitution of the outer impressions, but
also according to the part of the retina which is affected by the
impression. The other component consists of the extremely delicate
sensations which accompany the positions and movements of the eye. They
vary in their intensity according to the length of the distance through
which the movement travels, just like the sensations of movement of
the other muscles of the body. We notice, therefore, that changes in
the position of the retinal elements, which may occur in inflammations
of the inside of the eye, or abnormalities in the mechanism of the
eye-movements may disturb considerably our spatial perception. They
cause sometimes apparent dislocations in the objects seen, and at
other times illusions as to their size and distance. These influences
can be demonstrated on the normal eye by means of experiments. By
making the movement of the eye more difficult, we cause the length
of a distance to be over-valued. If we compare two straight lines of
exactly the same length, one of which is interrupted by a number of
transverse lines, so that a continuous movement of the eye is hindered,
then this divided line appears longer than the undivided one. We can
also by systematic experiments change the normal relation between
eye-movements and retinal sensations. It will then be observed that our
vision slowly begins to adapt itself to this new relation between the
eye-movements and the position of the retinal elements. This can be
done by wearing spectacles with prismatic glasses for a considerable
length of time. At first all objects appear distorted. A straight
line appears curved, a circle looks like an oval, and so on. If the
spectacles are worn for several days, these distortions disappear.
It may happen that distortions again appear when the glasses are
discarded. This phenomenon can scarcely be accounted for except in the
following manner. The retinal sensations by means of local differences
in quality, which we may call qualitative local signs, correspond to
definite sensations of movement graduated as to intensity, which we
may call intensive local signs. Their relation to the centre of the
retina probably determines this correspondence. Now our experiment
with the prismatic glasses shows that this relation is neither an
absolutely permanent nor an innate one, but that it is acquired by
practice. It is acquired by the function itself, and therefore, when
the functional relations are changed, gives way to a different relation
or correspondence. This combination possesses distinctly the character
of an association, and in so far as in it the sensation-components
only appear as modified elements of the resulting spatial idea, it
also possesses the characteristics of a fusion. In contradistinction,
however, to the intensive fusions of clangs and chords, this
possesses the special characteristic, that it consists of elements
out of different senses. For the qualitative local signs belong to
the sense of sight or to the sense of touch if we are dealing with
spatial cutaneous perceptions which are exactly analogous to visual
perceptions; whereas the intensive local signs belong to sensations of
movement or muscle sensations. Both together form a complex system of
local signs.

Just as sensations fuse together into more or less complex ideas, so
also do feelings fuse together into complex compounds, in which single
elements appear to bear the rest, which act in a modifying manner
upon the form, something analogous to the overtones of a clang. These
affective fusions are again bound up most closely with the ideational
fusions that correspond to them. The impression of a musical chord is
composed of both. Only in a psychological analysis can we separate the
ideational from the affective associations, which are the essential
causes of the æthetic character of the chord. One of the most
important and simplest affective fusions of this kind is that of the
so-called "common or organic feeling." It consists of an indefinite
number of organic feelings, to which more or less lively feelings
are joined, which in this case pre-eminently belong to the class of
pleasant-unpleasant feelings. In this case, just as in the case of a
chord, certain elements are predominant, while the others are merely
modifying concomitants. Our general state of health, e.g. freshness
and activeness or general displeasure and exhaustion, is essentially a
product of this affective complex, in which under normal conditions the
sensuous feelings joined to the strain and movement sensations of the
muscles play the most important part.

A most important form of fusion consists of the impressions of our
sense of hearing and of our organs of locomotion. These impressions are
the intermediaries of our ideas of time. If we divide up into their
elements the processes of consciousness caused by metronome beats
of a medium rapidity, we find two classes--those that belong to the
class of sensations and those that belong to feelings. As sensations
we have first of all the single metronome beats divided from each
other by empty intervals. These are not the only sensations. As we
have shown above, there is also a weak sensation of strain which
probably arises from the tensor muscle of the tympanum, and which lasts
continuously from one beat to the other. To this is joined a further
sensation in the mimic muscles surrounding the ear. The whole process,
therefore, looked at from the point of view of sensation, appears
as a continuous sensation-process, which is interrupted at regular
intervals by stronger impulses arising from the objective impressions
of the beats. To all this, however, as we saw before, there is added
the regularly alternating feelings of strain and relaxation, which
determine the rhythmical ideas. All these elements of sensation and
feeling form in reality an indivisible whole. If a temporal idea is
to arise, none of these components may be wanting, if the sensations
are wanting, the feelings have, so to speak, no foundation. They
can only arise if sensation impressions are present, upon which the
feelings of expectation and realisation can be founded. On the other
land the sensations remain unconnected, they lack a combination into
a successive row, if the feelings of strain and relaxation are not
present, for they directly help in the apprehension of the equality or
inequality of the successive periods of time. If the beats are allowed
to follow each other so slowly that the last one disappears out of
the scope of consciousness when the new one enters, then the idea of
time becomes absolutely uncertain. The same thing happens if, on the
other hand, the time is so rapid that feelings of strain and relaxation
cannot arise. In both cases it is obvious that any uncertain idea of
time is only possible by reason of other extraneous factors. Just as
all our objective measures of time, from the course of the sun to the
vibrations of a tuning-fork used to measure time, depend upon regular
periodic movements, so also is our subjective time-consciousness
absolutely dependent upon rhythmical ideas. These arise first of all
from our movements of locomotion, and then in a much richer and finer
form are transmitted to us by our sense of hearing. In all these cases,
however, the resulting idea of time can be divided up into a substratum
of sensation and into an affective process of strain and relaxation, of
expectation and realisation. In the idea of time they fuse perfectly
together, so that the influence of these factors can only be shown by
the essential changes, which the resulting idea undergoes, if one of
these sensation or affective factors is altered in some marked degree.

Just as elements of consciousness are joined together by fusion into
compounds, so these compounds themselves undergo manifold changes,
out of which new combinations arise. Of great importance among these
associations of the second class are those which we shall call
assimilations and dissimilations. As ideational combinations they
can be easily demonstrated, whereas the corresponding affective
associations are joined to them rather as secondary components or form
a special class of complex feelings, which are connected with the
processes of recollection, recognition, memory, &c, and which we shall
treat of in detail later on.

Let us first of all glance at some of the most important phenomena
in connection with assimilation and dissimilation. To begin with the
simplest case, we let one object of sight work in an assimilating
manner upon another. We can achieve this most readily if we first of
all make the difference between the two objects very small, and if
secondly we bring them into a familiar relationship to each other,
and so promote the idea of their identity. For example, we draw from
one and the same centre sectors of a circle, and make one less than
the others only by a few degrees. In spite of this we are inclined to
apprehend all the sectors as equal. The larger ones work assimilatively
upon the smaller one. To cause the opposite process of dissimilation,
we draw one large sector among several smaller sectors. This appears,
in contrast to the surrounding smaller sectors, very much enlarged,
and we can convince ourselves of this by drawing on another piece of
paper a sector of the same size as the one changed by dissimilation.
This independent sector will then appear smaller than the one of its
own size that is lying among the smaller sectors. This dissimilative
change is generally called a contrast. We must not, however, confuse
this dissimilative contrast with the contrast of feelings, where it
is not a case of the formation of apparent differences in size, but
of qualitative contrasts, such as pleasure and displeasure, or the
increase of these.

More important than the assimilations and dissimilations between
directly given impressions are those that arise out of the reciprocal
action of a direct impression and of ideational elements, which belong
to previous impressions, and therefore arise by means of an act of
memory. Reproductive assimilations of this kind we have already met
with in our reading experiments (see p. 26). We saw there that a
well-known word can in general be read almost instantaneously, although
its scope greatly exceeds that of the focus of attention. It is clear
that this great facilitation in apprehension is only possible owing
to the familiarity of the object, because by its action it gives rise
to the reproduction of former corresponding impressions, and thereby
causes the completion of the image only partially perceived. We can
convince ourselves of this in a striking manner by means of reading
experiments, in which certain letters of a fairly long word have been
voluntarily altered. Such changes are then in general only partially
or not at all perceived in these quick reading experiments. It may
easily happen that we take the following combination of letters
"Miscaldoniousness" for the word "Miscellaneousness," although four out
of the seventeen letters of the word have been changed, If by chance
our attention is very strongly concentrated upon one of the wrong
letters, we can perceive the mistake, but for the other wrong letters
the right ones are as a rule substituted. It is obvious that this
phenomenon is exactly the same as the one we continually meet with when
we overlook misprints in a book, only that in our experiments a false
reading is greatly favoured by the shortness of the exposition-time.
In all these cases we generally take it for granted that it is nothing
more nor less than an inaccurate apprehension, as the expression
"overlook" suggests. Yet our rapid reading experiments convince us
that this expression is really incorrect. In reality it is not a mere
not-seeing of the wrong letters, but a seeing of the right ones in
the place of the wrong ones. If we call into our mind directly after
the experiment the image we have seen, we can see very often in those
very places, where a wrong letter stands, the right letter in the full
distinctness of an immediate impression. This is, of course, only
possible if the wrong letter is displaced by the reproduction of the
right one. Such a process is obviously made up of two parts--firstly,
the displacement of the wrong letter, and secondly, the reproduction
of the right one. Naturally both acts take place quite simultaneously,
and therefore we may look upon the displacement as an effect of the
reproduction. In this combination of the two acts an assimilation
process and a dissimilation process are joined together. By means
of an assimilation caused by the other letters the right letter is
reproduced, and this together with all the rest of the word has a
dissimilating effect upon the wrong letter. At the same time a further
conclusion follows from these phenomena, which is of importance for the
understanding of all the processes of association. It is impossible to
imagine that a combination of letters, such as we have given above,
could work as a whole, and then, because it was wrong, be replaced
by the right word. It is on the contrary obvious that processes of
assimilation and displacement have only occurred at certain places.
It is also difficult to take for granted that the observer has ever
seen the word printed in exactly the same size and type as employed in
the reading experiments. It cannot, therefore, be a single definite
word-image that he calls to memory, but there must be an indefinite
number of similar word-images, which affect assimilatively the given
impression, and cast it into the word-form which we ultimately
apprehend. From this it follows that these associations do not by any
means consist of a combination of complex ideas, but of a combination
of ideational elements, which may possibly belong to very different
ideas. With this we see that assimilation is at the same time closely
connected with the associations by fusion considered above. In both
cases the association is an elementary process. The difference
between the two forms consists only in the fact that the elements in
a fusion are constituent parts of a complex impression, whereas in an
assimilation they already belong to complex ideas, from which they
then break away in order to enter into new ideational compounds. Thus
fusion and assimilation work together in all sense-perceptions. The
moment we see an object, hear a musical chord, &c., not only do the
parts of the impression itself fuse together, but the impression also
immediately gives rise to reproductive elements, which fill up any gaps
in it, and arrange it among the ideas familiar to us. These processes
continually overlap each other, and extend over all the regions of
sense. What we imagine we perceive directly, really belongs in a great
extent to our memory of innumerable previous impressions, and we are
not aware of a separation between what is directly given us and what is
supplied by assimilation. Only when the reproductive elements attain
to such a striking ascendancy, that they come into an irreconcilable
contradiction with our usual perceptions, are we accustomed to speak
of a deception of the senses or of an illusion. But this is only a
limiting case, and it goes over by unnoticeable intermediate gradations
into normal associations, which we might just as well call "normal
illusions." Many words of a lecture are imperfectly heard; the contours
of a drawing or painting are only imperfectly represented in our eye.
In spite of this we notice none of the gaps. That does not happen
because we perceive the things inaccurately, as this phenomenon is
often incorrectly interpreted, but because we have at our disposal the
rich stores of memory, which fill out and perfect the perceived image.

This complementary association is met with in a striking manner, when a
real assimilation is hindered by the associated elements belonging to
different senses. In this case the difference in sense-quality erects,
as it were, a partition-wall, which prevents the unobservable union of
the elements. But at the same time even then close combinations can
be formed, which at the operation of a sense-impression immediately
reproduce the associated sensations of another sense. For example,
we often observe in silent reading weak clang-images of the words,
to which are joined slight movements of the articulation-organs, or
at least indications of such movements. At the sight of a musical
instrument we often perceive in ourselves a weak auditory sensation
of its clang; the sight of a gun will often give rise to a weak
sound sensation, or if we hear the gun fired, to a reproduced visual
image, and so forth. Such associations of disparate senses are called
complications. They form an important supplement to the associations,
since together with these they essentially determine the ideational
process in consciousness.

Such a co-operation of assimilations and complications is seen in
the most striking manner in those processes of association which in
ordinary life are called "recognitions," or, if the scope of the region
of association over which the recognition stretches is indefinitely
larger, are called "cognitions." We recognise, for example, an
acquaintance, whom we have not seen for a long time. We know a table
as a table, although we may never have seen the particular table in
question before. We can do this by means of the indefinite number
of associations with other tables, which the image of the table in
question gives rise to. From what we have said above, it is at once
obvious that all such recognitions or cognitions are nothing more
than assimilations. The usual expression (to know or to be cognisant
of) must not tempt us to look upon the process as a logical process,
as an act of "knowledge." An act of knowledge may possibly follow a
process of pure associative assimilation, if we afterwards try to
account for the motives of the same. But the processes themselves,
as they continually occur and make up an important part of our
sense-experience, are pure associations. To place in them any acts of
judgment or of reflection, as is customary in the scholastic psychology
of ancient and modern times, can only serve to disguise the real
psychological character of these processes. Among the associations
called recognitions, only those are of special interest in which the
consummation of the assimilation process is in any way hindered,
either because the perceived object has but seldom been met with, or
because it has undergone changes since a previous perception of it. For
example it may, as is well known, take a long time before we recognise
a friend, who meets us unexpectedly after many years' absence. If we
observe the process in such a case a little more closely, it appears
regularly that the impression of the individual which we first of
all receive, appears to change because of certain lineaments, that
are apperceived by means of our feelings, rather than brought into
connection with the personality in question. Thus there arises a
feeling of being acquainted with him, and then there occurs a second
act, the real recognition, which follows in some cases very rapidly.
This is the consummation of the assimilation proper. Here we see
assimilation has turned into successive association, and we generally
call it a process of memory. In fact this obviously arises out of an
ordinary simultaneous assimilation, if the latter is hindered by some
disturbing factor, so that the first impression and the assimilation
of this impression form two successive acts. Such a dividing up into
a succession generally occurs very distinctly, especially when the
factors hindering the assimilation are so strong that it requires
the addition of a further helping factor in order to overcome the
hindrance. How often does it happen that some one greets us and we do
not recognise him! If, however, he comes forward and mentions his name,
suddenly the whole personality as a well-known one rises up in front
of us. The reproductive assimilations are only set into motion by the
addition of a helping idea. At the same time this example shows us how,
in the dividing up of an assimilation process into a memory process,
a complication may occasionally intervene. The name and the visual
image are joined together as a complication, although in regard to the
impression of human personalities in general they form fairly strong

In these processes of hindrance and assistance of associations, which
are to be observed in recognitions, feelings play a not unimportant
part. We have indicated this already. In the above example, before
we recognised the friend we had not seen for a long time, the act of
recognition was prepared for by an indefinite kind of feeling, which
with a certain suddenness, experiencing at the same time a noticeable
increase in intensity, changed into the real act of recognition. How
are we to explain this feeling? Whence does it come, and how can we
explain its transition into the assimilation? The term a "feeling of
familiarity" or a "quality of familiarity" with a thing has been used
and has been regarded as a name for a specific element common to all
acts of recognition. This was supposed to be affixed to every known
object as a kind of outward sign. But the supposition of such an
abstract symbol contradicts absolutely our observation. For, however
indefinite this feeling may be in the period that prepares for the
assimilation, it nevertheless possesses in each separate case its
own peculiar quality, which is quite dependent upon the constitution
of the recognised object. For example, the feeling differs, if we
recognise an old friend, and if we recognise a district through which
we have once wandered long ago. And it is by no means the same when
we meet our friend Mr. X., and when we meet Mr. Y. whom we did not
wish to see again. Just as much as the objects themselves differ, so
do the so-called "qualities of familiarity" diverge from each other.
From this we must conclude that these qualities are integral parts of
the objects, naturally not of their objective nature, but of their
effect upon us, or, more precisely expressed, of our apperception. Now
we have learnt that the essence of feeling was just this influence
of the ideational content of consciousness upon the apperception. It
follows therefore incontestably, that this quality of familiarity is
nothing more than the feeling character, which the recognised idea
possesses for us. Now this feeling of being acquainted with a thing,
as the above-mentioned observations teach us, may be very strong,
while the assimilation of the new idea by the old is taking place
not quite unhindered. We must therefore conclude that, in the period
of preparation for the recognition, the assimilating previous idea
is already beginning to make its appearance in the darker region of
consciousness, and that it causes its corresponding affective reaction,
but that it cannot itself force its way through to apperception. This
interpretation of the process obviously receives fundamental support
from our previous observations of the rhythmical feelings. With them it
was also a case of recognition. If we repeat two similar rows of beats
one after the other, we recognise the second as similar to the first.
Now this can only happen, as we have convinced ourselves, if the total
feeling concentrates itself upon the last beat of each row, which in
its specific feeling-quality corresponds to the previous rhythmical
whole. Exactly the same thing that happened in these rhythmical
experiments, repeats itself now in these retarded recognitions of
ordinary experience, except that in a way the distribution of the
feelings is reversed. In the recognition of a rhythm the feeling
corresponding to it arises out of the influence of the elements, that
have receded out of the focus of attention into the darker field
of consciousness, upon the apperception; in the steady rise of an
impression to a state of recognition, the feeling is caused by the
influence of the elements that are already in the darker field of
consciousness but have not yet entered into the focus of attention.

In these complex processes of the recognition of objects, a further
condition is added, which in the repetition of rows of beats did not
make itself felt, at least not in the same degree, because of the
simplicity of the phenomenon, It consists in the fact that each idea
possesses a background of other ideas that are joined to it in a
spatial or temporal connection, and that in the process of recognition
these ideas may hinder or assist the assimilation process. They may
retard the recognition or make it absolutely impossible, or they may
form essential aids to it. Such secondary ideas can be observed very
distinctly in cases where they join the chief idea after some time has
elapsed. So in the above example, where the mentioning of the man's
name caused a sudden recognition of the person himself; or, to take the
reverse of this example, where the assimilation that is being formed is
retarded owing to the fact that the name is other than the one suited
to the motives of assimilation. Such secondary ideas are of course
always present, even although we do not notice them. Even although they
are in the darkest region of consciousness, they form, along with the
feeling-tone of the chief idea, important components of the feelings
accompanying the processes of cognition and recognition, especially
in regard to their influence upon the apperception. In this way these
latter are in reality always resultants of a sum of influences, and
thus each separate experience, because of the unlimited variation
of the secondary ideas accompanying assimilations and recognitions,
possesses its specific feeling-tone, which distinguishes it from other
previous or succeeding experiences.

Many phenomena that belong here escape ordinary observation,
because their continuous repetition makes us insensitive to them.
In those cases where an impression was accompanied by a very strong
feeling-tone, and where its return is accompanied by a totally
different affective state, we notice distinctly how the original
feeling-tone becomes modified owing to the changed background. Thus
every psychical process possesses its specific tone, even if it appears
as a mere repetition of a previous process. The changing secondary
ideas, by means of their own affective influences, give it its special
temporal and local signs. By means of these each single process can
be distinguished from any other, however similar this may be. The
opposite phenomenon may also occur. Who does not know the strange
feeling which occasionally comes over us at some process, the feeling
that we have already in the past experienced this thing, although we
know with certainty that this is in reality impossible? These phenomena
also belong to the department of feelings, and we must connect them
with the influences which arise from the indistinct secondary ideas,
and which may at times almost exactly correspond, even when the chief
ideas themselves are absolutely different. If such feelings become
particularly strong, they very likely exert a reactive influence upon
the assimilation process, and thus cause the new experience to appear
as the repetition of a previous one. It may be that the so-called
"second sight," which some people imagine they possess, depends upon
very strong individual affective reactions of this kind and their
assimilative influences. The ever-changing constellations of secondary
ideas give each single experience its specific feeling-tone, by means
of which it is distinguished from previous and following experiences.
So it may happen that similar constellations of the darkly perceived
content return in processes that otherwise are different, i.e. in the
components that stand in the focus of consciousness. There is also
another experience that may be mentioned here--one that has certainly
escaped no keen observer of his own psychical life. If one calls to
mind any previous experience, or in general any previous period of
life--e.g. any definite period of one's childhood, of one's student
life, or the beginning of one's professional career, &c.--each such
striking experience or each such period of life is connected with
a peculiar feeling, which also in this case enters into a distinct
reciprocal action with the recalled ideas, inasmuch as it raises them
to a greater degree of clearness and is itself increased by them. Any
single recalled idea could scarcely account for the unusual intensity
and the specific quality which these feeling-tones often reach. We must
also remember that a clearly apperceived content in such cases seldom
arises, and that in the second set (the periods of life) we have not
as a rule one single idea. We can understand such cases by considering
the fact that, if fewer definite ideas clearly arise, a great number
of indistinct secondary ideas are active, and, since they are peculiar
to each experience and to each period of life, call up again the
corresponding total feeling, where a more definite reproduction of
single ideas is absolutely wanting.

Let us return after this digression to the processes of recognition.
The activity of the secondary ideas, that came to light in the
experiences described above, helps us to understand some special
characteristics that we met with in ordinary recognition, and still
more so in the hindrances that this may experience. Especially in
acts of recognition that are in some way or other retarded, we can in
general observe a strong affective reaction arising, which, wherever
we can bring it into connection with special motives, points to the
effect of secondary ideas. They are as a rule only indistinct in
consciousness, but sometimes they are afterwards recognised and prove
themselves to be the motive, not only of the specific accompanying
feeling, but also of the recognition itself. With these are closely
connected other phenomena, which arise under circumstances where a
real act of recognition never takes place, or under circumstances
where the process, which is at first taking place absolutely within
the region of the affective influences of the indistinct content of
consciousness, more or less suddenly changes at most into an act of
memory. A few examples will make such cases clear. Who has not had the
experience of being for hours at a time oppressed with the feeling that
he has forgotten something, or missed something, or done something
wrong, without being able to explain what it is that oppresses him in
this manner? Or who has not had experiences such as the following? I
leave my house, and the moment I walk along the street I feel there is
something I have forgotten; then by chance I pass a pillar-box, and it
suddenly strikes me that I have forgotten to take with me an important
letter. To such examples also belongs the torture we sometimes endure
in trying to recall a name well-known to us. In such cases it often
happens that we voluntarily try to obtain similar aids to our memory,
as sometimes play a part in the retarded recognition of an individual
known to us. Attempts have been made to explain all such cases by
speaking of "states of consciousness"--an expression that tells us
nothing and gives us no information as to the nature of these phenomena
themselves. Now these feelings of forgetting, of thinking over a thing,
of missing a thing, &c., are by no means always the same. They depend
in each single case upon the special constitution of the idea in
question. We can, therefore, in a manner analogous to our recognition
experiments, interpret them as affective reactions to indistinct
ideational content, in which the affective quality is dependent upon
the specific constitution of the ideas, whereas the general affective
character in the above-mentioned cases mostly belongs to the directions
of strain and excitation.

The phenomena of recognition in their origin could be represented as
simultaneous assimilations with occasional intervening complications.
In their inhibition-forms, which we have just discussed, they lead us
directly over to memory-associations. The old theory of association
derived from these its schematism of association forms. In reality they
are the association phenomena that are most of all noticed, because
with them the ideas that are bound together seem to be distinguishable
from each other because of their succession in time. Our previous
discussion has, however, shown us that they are neither the only
combinations of this class, nor even the most important ones. In fact
they may be defined in accordance with their psychological origin
as assimilations and complications, in which the combination of the
constituent components is hindered by opposing motives, so that these
components appear as independent ideas. This is seen clearly in such
cases in which a continuous transition from the direct assimilative
recognition, that takes place in a single act, to a memory-association
is possible. Let us take, for example, the case of looking at a
portrait of a well-known person, and let us imagine the portrait
executed in the most differing grades of likeness to the original. In
the very rare cases, in which the painter achieves the greatest degree
of likeness, it can happen that the picture gives rise to a very strong
impression of identity with the original. There then arises a direct
assimilation, which follows without any hindrance or retardation.
If the picture is fairly good, so that the person may be recognised
without any difficulty, but nevertheless possesses some strange
lineaments, the process is one of retarded assimilation. The false
parts of the portrait are after a longer inspection pushed aside by
reproductive assimilation, and it may also happen after some time, that
we see into this less excellent picture also the known personality. But
if in the third and last case the portrait is much too unlike, there
arises a peculiar competition between assimilation and dissimilation,
in which it sometimes happens that we try to call up the memory-image
of the person independently of the portrait we are looking at. It is
usual to call this process "association by similarity," and to take for
granted that the seen and the reproduced picture have been successively
in consciousness. This is, as can easily be seen, a one-sided way of
looking at the process; it is an attempt to make up a scheme out of an
occasionally secondary phenomenon, whereas the essential part of the
process, the competition between the assimilative and dissimilative
influences, is quite overlooked.

There is yet another occasion, in which the assimilation of an
impression may be analysed into a succession of ideas. This happens
if the impression has been a component of a compound idea in previous
experiences. The separate parts of this compound idea have been
arranged in a succession, and this row itself may either be a temporal
or a spatial one, and, in order to go through it, a succession of acts
of apprehension are necessary. Both cases, temporal and spatial, are in
essence identical, since they coincide as to the factor of succession.
For example, if the words "I am the Lord" are seen or heard, then any
one who is familiar with the Ten Commandments will feel inclined to
continue, "thy God," &c., and this continuation may appear to him in
visual word-images, or in weak sound-images, or the words may arise
in the memory in complications made up out of impressions of both
senses. It is usual to call this process "association by contiguity."
Here also it is taken for granted that the directly impressed and the
reproduced members of the row have joined together in pure succession.
But this is also an imaginary scheme that does not correspond to
reality. If we pay special attention to the course of the process, we
clearly observe that the unseen or unheard part of the row does not
by any means only enter consciousness, when the directly perceived
part has already disappeared out of our apperception. We have rather
in this case a phenomenon quite similar to the one we observed in the
course of a row of beats or, in the reverse order, in the retarded
recognition of an object. In the moment in which in the above example
the word "Lord" was apperceived, already the whole succeeding content
of the Decalogue was in the dark region of consciousness, so that from
this the feeling-character, not only of the next words, but of the
whole Ten Commandments, immediately conditioned the apperception. In
reality, therefore, we have also in this case to do with a reproductive
assimilation, in which the parts are apperceived successively because
of the temporal arrangement of these parts, which are in reciprocal
assimilation with each other. Just in the same way do the separate
beats of a rhythmical row form a succession and still are at the
same time a united whole in consciousness. This process becomes in a
way modified, if an impression calls up memory-elements of different
kinds, by which it can be assimilated according to the individual
disposition of consciousness. If, for example, I hear the word "father"
without any special connection with other ideas, I may according to
circumstances bring the word "mother" or "house" or "land," &c., into
assimilative combination with it. In such cases it may happen that a
competition between these different reproductions may arise, similar to
the one we observed in the examination of a bad portrait, and this is
generally shown in feelings of displeasure and excitation, as also in a
retardation of the whole process. But such phenomena seldom occur under
the normal conditions of psychical life, although they form the rule in
the so-called association experiments.

Our observations have therefore made it clear that the division,
which to some extent still exists in present-day psychology, of
all memory-associations into "combinations by similarity" and "by
contiguity," rests upon a schematisation of these processes, in which
their essential content, and in particular their close connection
with simultaneous assimilations, remains unnoticed. The deeper reason
for this method of observation, that operates more with fictions
and formulæ than with real phenomena, may be looked for in the
false materialisation of ideas. This has been consolidated rather
than abolished by the conventional association psychology. A more
thorough analysis of associations should have tended to abolish such
a materialisation. The memory-associations were looked upon as the
typical and only forms of association, instead of being considered
as mere limiting cases, which are only developed under certain
conditions out of processes of fusion, assimilation, and complication.
The succession of two independent ideas, only joined together by
outward similarity or by habitual contiguity, was made the basis for
a scheme for all psychical processes. And thus the view was formed
that each idea was an unchangeable thing, very similar to the object
from which it arose. If we take an unprejudiced view of the processes
of consciousness, free from all the so-called association rules and
theories, we see at once that an idea is no more an even relatively
constant thing than is a feeling or emotion or volitional process.
There exist only changing and transient ideational processes; there
are no permanent ideas that return again and disappear again. In
the ideational processes there is a continual interaction among
the elements out of which they are formed. A remembered idea is
therefore as little identical with the previous memory-act of the
same idea as with the original impression with which it is connected.
Just as ideas are not permanent objects, so they are not processes
that take place independent of feelings and emotions, for the
more indistinct ideational content of consciousness by means of
its feeling-tone influences apperception. From these again arise
other combinations, which join together into one whole a number of
contents of consciousness which belong together. Even with memory
associations it is therefore never the complex ideas themselves which
associate together, but each association divides up into a number of
more elementary combinations. In these there are always processes
of hindrance and retardation at work, so that the associated idea,
in contradistinction to the original idea, of which it seems the
renewal, can always show further changes, which depend upon the
special conditions of their origin. Here those assimilations and
dissimilations, which continually intervene as reproductive factors in
our immediate sense-perceptions, make up the fundamental forms of the
process, which determine all acts of memory. And these themselves can
always be reduced to assimilation processes, which have been divided up
into a succession, partly because of hindrances, and partly because of
the temporal arrangement of the ideational processes themselves.



There are cases of severe insanity in which the patients utter with
great rapidity a number of words, joined together without sense and
sometimes intermingled with absolutely meaningless sounds. This symptom
is considered a component of the so-called "flight of ideas." A sane
person can also produce this, if he, without any train of thought,
simply repeats any words that may occur to him. For example, the
following is such a series of words: "school house garden build stones
ground hard soft long see harvest rain move pain." Compare with this a
context like the following out of the seventh book of Goethe's _Wilhelm
Meister_: "Spring had come in all its glory. A spring thunder-storm,
that had been threatening the whole day long, passed angrily over the
hills. The rain-clouds swept over the land, the sun came out again
in his majesty, and the glorious rainbow appeared against the grey
background." Wherein do these two word-combinations differ from each
other? We are perhaps inclined to answer that the first series is
lacking in any connection between the separate elements. It seems
almost like a series of words taken at haphazard out of a dictionary
and placed aimlessly one after the other. And yet one soon notices that
the separate words are not quite so unconnected, as at the first glance
they seem to be. As a rule it is obviously some memory-association
that combines the succeeding word with the preceding one, as "house"
with "school," and "garden" with "house," and so on. Sometimes the
association may join a word with one preceding it at a greater distance
back, or it may join two different words to the same one, e.g. "stones"
with "build" and "house," "ground" with "garden." Sometimes also it
may not be the ideational content itself, but the mere rhyme, that
brings about the combination, as with "rain" and "pain." In other cases
we may not be able to find a definite association at all. And yet,
considering the many-sided and darkly perceived ideas often caused by
mere affective influences, which we have considered above, we cannot
help taking for granted latent associations in such cases as well, and
especially since these cases happen very seldom. A "free, unconnected
chain of ideas," as is sometimes presupposed, we shall place at once in
the same category with "chance" in the region of physical phenomena.
Just as in the latter case, it simply means for us that the cause
cannot be found in the case in question. From this point of view
the first series of words is in some way or other psychologically
conditioned in each of its elements by association, and still the
series does not form a whole. It resembles in a way a heap of stones,
out of which a house or several houses could possibly be built, but
to make them into a whole the building plan, the unifying thought,
is wanting. Now if we look at the second series of words, we see at
once that in this case also the different parts are joined together by
association. The general ideas of spring, thunderstorm, hills, rain,
sun, and rainbow are all links in an association-chain. But these
elements are so arranged as to make a unified image. The impression
of this image places us at once in the situation and mood that the
author wishes to awaken in the reader. In this picture none of the
chief component parts are superfluous; each is in close connection with
the whole, which as a total idea binds all these associated elements

Now if we wished to distinguish the second from the first of the above
ideational series by the objective characteristic of the sensible
arrangement of its separate components, it would not be possible in
consequence of the subjective nature of the process. Let us suppose
that a child learns by heart the sentences from _Wilhelm Meister_
without in the least paying attention to the meaning of the words, as
it occasionally may happen, then the reproduction of these sentences
has for the child no sense. The difference between this and the first
series as to its psychological character is only apparent and not
real. The separate words in both cases are joined to each other by
mere association. In the consciousness of the child they do not form a
unified whole. Wherein lies the difference between this mere apparent
unity of sentences learned senselessly by heart and the real unity in
the mind of the author, who wrote them, or of the intelligent reader,
who reproduces the picture in his mind? Let us try to answer this
question in detail The author who first formed the picture, and the
reader who reproduces it, do not behave psychologically in exactly
the same manner. The whole, even although in indistinct outlines,
must be present in the consciousness of the author, before he writes
down his sentences. He behaves, to take an example from our metronome
experiments, in the same way as we do in listening to a certain rhythm,
which we are hearing into the uniform beats of the metronome, or
again, as we do when we beat with our finger a certain predetermined
rhythm. The whole was in his consciousness, but the separate parts
entered successively into the fixation-point of apperception and
then ultimately ended at the end of the paragraph with the total
feeling joined to the whole, which even at the beginning prepared
for and influenced the coming paragraph. The state of the reader,
who reproduces the author's thoughts, is a little different. From
the beginning his attention is directed towards one total idea made
up of many components, but this total idea is only produced from the
impression of the words read. With the author the whole is there at
the beginning and at the end of the production of the thought, which
is itself developed in the successive apperceptions of the separate
parts. With the reader there is at first only an expectation directed
towards a whole. This expectation is shown in feelings of strain which
are mostly regulated into definite qualitative directions, and these
feelings are sufficient to guide the conception of the developing parts
of the image into clear consciousness in the way in which the author
himself raised his total idea, which was at first indistinct. Thus in
both cases the activity of apperception is the essential factor, which
makes a difference in the formation of such a combination from that
of a mere association row. The thought-context changes into a mere
association, if the separate parts of the same are joined together
by memory alone and if they are reproduced without the inner unity
of thought. Now such a reproduction becomes a passively experienced
process, which lacks the consciousness of activity peculiar to the
self-production of a thought and also, with the above-mentioned
modifications, to its reproduction in the mind of the hearer or reader.
In both these cases it is that feeling of activity, that we have
mentioned above as the characteristic of active apperception, made up
of alternating feelings of excitation, strain, and relaxation--it is
this feeling of activity which gives the process the character whereby
it differs essentially from mere association.

While all apperceptions agree in the objective characteristics of
the combination of a complex into a unity and in the subjective one
of voluntary activity, yet in a further comparison of our thought
processes we meet with a very evident difference in the content of the
combined ideas. Think, for example, of a sentence such as the following
one from Kant: "Whether the treatment of knowledge, that belongs to
a critique of reason, is proceeding along the sure way of science or
not, can easily be judged by the result." If we compare this sentence
out of the Critique of Pure Reason with the above description, out of
_Wilhelm Meister_, may we not be inclined to say that each belongs to
quite a different world of thought? In our first example everything
is graphic, each word represents a sensuous idea, the whole is a
picture in words. In Kant not one single word is the expression of a
concrete object, they are all abstract concepts, which only obtain
some living content by means of further processes of thought, which
they stimulate. And yet the abstract thought-compound corresponds with
the concrete description in so far as it can be reduced ultimately to
concrete concepts. It has to make use of words, which as impressions
of the senses of hearing and seeing are themselves sensuous ideas.
Certainly such concepts as "knowledge," "reason," "science," and even
"treatment," "way," "result," which make up the sentence out of Kant,
are not in the least of a concrete character in the way they are used.
But if we go back to the original meanings of all these words, we find
every time that it is a sensuous one, i.e. relates to the senses.
"Treatment" at an earlier stage of language means something that we can
treat in a material sense, "knowledge" refers to sensuous knowledge
--something that we know by means of our senses, "reason" is nothing
but the understanding of words or similar sensible impressions. As
regards "way" it clearly bears the stamp of a concrete concept, it can
be used as synonymous with "road." And yet in all these cases, the
words in the thought, which they here help to express, are far removed
from their origins. Thus the most abstract thought can ultimately be
reduced in all its components to concrete concepts. And these words,
the means of expression, which we cannot dispense with, at the same
time bear witness to the fact that abstract thinking has developed
itself step by step from concrete. The history of knowledge teaches us
that this happened in the following manner. The original sensuous ideas
entered into the most manifest relations with each other, and then just
as at the primitive stage of thought the concrete ideas themselves were
joined together as separate elements of one thought, so at a higher
stage these relations between ideas were then treated as elements. So
the word "knowledge" represents an almost unlimited number of processes
of objective knowing, and thereby it becomes an abstract concept,
which can no longer be directly considered concrete. In this way there
is brought about, by an unceasing concatenation of apperceptions, a
continuous concentration of the thought process, which at the same
time represents a great saving and concentration in the work of
thinking. A concept, such as "knowledge," is like a bank-note that
represents an inexhaustible value of current coin. Very appropriate in
this connection is what Mephistopheles says to the student in Faust,
"One throw of the shuttle stirs up a thousand combinations." And even
although with the help of this development in meaning of word-ideas the
process of thinking may have very greatly diverged from its original
sensuous basis, it nevertheless remains in the actual process always
sensuous and concrete. For, to continue with Mephistopheles, "just
where concepts are lacking, a word comes in at the right moment."
Only in our sense the "word" has quite a serious meaning. The word is
the real ideational equivalent for the concept, that cannot be formed
into an idea. It changes abstract thoughts into concrete ideational
processes that can be heard and seen.

By the side of these concentrations caused by continuous apperceptions,
the primitive concrete thinking, along with all the intermediate steps
between the concrete object and the abstract concept, always preserves
its own value peculiar to each of these steps. And among this row of
values it is the most primitive one, the one that is directed solely
to the apprehension of reality, that receives a favoured place in
our life and thought--in our life, since we belong to the immediate
reality and intervene in it in our activity; in our thought, since we
always must think the abstract thought-complexes made real in their
separate applications, if we do not wish to lose ourselves altogether.
The special value of primitive apprehension, unweakened by any kind
of abstraction, finds expression in the fact that the two divisions
of human mental activity, which as complements to each other make
up the chief value of human life, i.e. science and art, make real
the two forms of thinking. Hence the creations of art are no less
thought-compounds than those of science. They follow in the general
laws of their construction exactly the same laws of apperception, which
we observed in the productions of thought contained in speech. The
thought is as a whole in our consciousness, and at first only works
upon the apperception by means of the resulting total feeling, and
then develops into its separate component parts by successive acts of
apperception. In exactly the same way the artist, the poet, or the
composer is accustomed to grasp the whole of the work of art in its
outlines, sometimes very indistinct, before he begins to carry out any
of the parts, and while carrying them out a total idea is formed, which
in its turn has a reciprocal influence upon the original idea. In both
cases, especially through the influence of intervening associations,
the thought-process or the composition of the work of art may undergo
deviations or additions in its separate parts. The regularity of the
process as a whole remains undisturbed by this. A work of art is just
as little a mere product of association as is a thought arranged in

Various phenomena of everyday experience find their explanation in
these psychological observations. First of all must be mentioned the
seldom-noted fact, that we are able in our speech to bring to an end
a fairly complicated thought without difficulty, although at the
beginning of the sentences we are not at all clear as to the separate
words and ideas or their combinations. Some people, when they are
obliged to speak in public, fail simply because their confidence in
this self-regulation of the train of thoughts is lacking at such
moments. And this again is due to the fact that they think they must
first of all find the suitable transition from one word to the next.
In free conversation they can carry to an end without a break the most
complicated sentences, while in public their speech is hesitating and
embarrassed, and they are every moment in danger of breaking down.
In such a case absolute confidence in the possibility of expressing
freely and involuntarily the thought in one's mind is the surest help
to overcome these difficulties. Of course a sensible training will also

Let us call to mind the processes by means of which the beginning and
end of an expression of thought are held together into one sentence or
into several sentences joined together by the same thought. We note at
once that the general content in its whole feeling-quality is already
present as soon as the first word is spoken, while the ideas and the
corresponding words are not clearly in consciousness beyond that first
beginning. If the process continues without associative distractions
and additions, by which, occasionally, parts that lie far from the
original thought are added to it, then we notice at the same time
that that beginning feeling corresponds perfectly with the terminal
feeling that accompanies the termination of the spoken thought. This
terminal feeling is generally at first much stronger than the initial
feeling, but then it gradually goes over into the feeling-quality that
is preparing the next thought. Now it is obvious at once that all
these phenomena correspond in essentials with those we observed in
our metronome experiments. In these experiments the conditions were
much more simple and exact, so that they strengthen the more uncertain
observations in ordinary reading and thinking.

More complicated than in ordinary speaking and thinking are the
phenomena where the sequence of thought-processes stretches over vast
creations of the mind. Very likely the whole of the idea hovers in
the mind of the artist, who has received an inspiration for a work
of art, or of the philosopher, who's filled with the conception of a
complicated system of thought, before either of them carries it out.
This anticipation can only be considered an indefinite total feeling,
which points the direction for the continuation of the thoughts, and
which becomes clearer itself during this continuation. At the same
time, in such complicated cases the distracting influences increase in
power continually, and accordingly continually alter the quality of the
feeling-tone that hovers over the whole. So it sometimes happens that
the resulting product becomes in its execution quite different from
what it was in its first conception, and it sometimes may happen that
such changes occur several times in the course of the process. In all
such cases this is generally caused by new associations, which arise
from single elements of the total thought, and which, if they do not
fit into the regular course, often assimilate with the total thought
in a similar manner, or crowd it out altogether. In combinations of
creations of thought these secondary influences ultimately increase
so much that the regular steady course becomes an exception, and the
preponderance of these transforming forces becomes the rule. Although
in most cases these phenomena defy objective control, yet there are
examples enough in which they can be clearly seen, at least their broad
outlines. So Goethe's _Faust_ shows clearly traces of a repeated change
in the idea of the whole, and the supposition is forced upon us that
the author in his later conceptions had forgotten his first ones. In
_Wilhelm Meister_ it almost seems as if he purposely had given as much
free scope as possible to the play of associations caused by the plot.
These may be extreme cases, and yet there is hardly in the province
of science or art any creation of thought which in its execution
remains free from any such intervening influences, which have their
source partly in new impressions and partly in the thought-compounds
caused by the execution or the elaboration of the same in the mind.
The two psychical processes, that here interact, have been brought by
psychologists under the concepts of "understanding" and "imagination."
Where a regular arrangement of the thought-compounds, bound up with a
tendency to form them abstractly, is uppermost, it is the custom to
assign this to the understanding. Where consciousness is more inclined
to the free play of associations and of newly excited thought-forms,
and at the same time to a more concrete form of thinking, it is
customary to speak of the activity of the imagination. But really
we are here not dealing with faculties of thought that can in any
way be separated, not even with functions of a different kind, but
at bottom always and only with a participation of the apperceptions
and associations that enter into all processes of thought, though
distributed in a relatively different manner. It is therefore an
absolutely wrong conception, if, according to the tradition of the old
psychology, imagination is called the specific property of art, and
understanding that of science. Science without imagination is worth
just as little as art without understanding.

These general conceptions of understanding and imagination correspond
in a certain sense only to different points of view, under which we
look at the mental functions, in themselves indivisible, and by means
of which we separate them according to the relative, participation of
their factors. So in the same way associations and combinations of
apperception are not processes which belong to differing regions of
our psychical life. On the contrary, not only are they always in a
state of interaction, but apperceptions show that they arise out of
associations, wherever we are able to trace them back to the conditions
of their development. Nowhere can we see so clearly this rise of
apperceptive combinations out of association as in spoken thought, the
region of mental activity which is more than any other open to us in
its objective forms. Let us explain this by means of an example, which
is closely connected with the above examples of concrete and abstract
forms of thought. We have taken the sentences out of _Wilhelm Meister_,
which describe the coming of spring, as a sample of sensuous objective
expression in the sense of forms of thought-construction familiar to
us. And yet they are absolutely controlled by the laws of our abstract
thinking, which join together widely separated elements of thought to
one total idea in the interests of a unified combination, and compel us
to use, in the form of particles and inflections, abstract elements of
conception in order to arrange the parts of the scene described. This
is different at a more primitive stage of thinking and expression in
speech. Let us take, for example, the following simple statement in our
own language: "He gave the children the slate-pencil." This sentence is
for us directly concrete. If, however, we were to translate it just as
it stands into the language of the inhabitants of the African colony
Togo, they would probably not understand it. For such an individual
even "slate-pencil" would be too abstract a conception. Further, he
would not be able to imagine how any one could give something without
having first of all taken it from somewhere else. The elements inserted
between "slate-pencil" and the action of giving, which to us serve
to combine the whole into one single idea, would mean to him rather
a mixture of disparate elements. Lastly, he cannot form the concept
"children" without thinking that they are children of some people or
other. Accordingly our sentence would run somewhat as follows in the
speech of the Togo negro: "He take stone to write something this gives
of somebody child they." We must note here that even this literal
translation still bears traces of the abstract culture of our language.
The difference between substantives and verbs, which we have been
forced to use, does not exist in the Togo language. If we look at such
a sentence a little more closely, it is at once evident that the ideas
are arranged exactly in the same order in which the objective process
takes place. Each word denotes only one idea and is not placed in any
grammatical category, since there are none such in this language.
Therefore the expression of thought is still in essentials at the stage
of pure association of ideas. Such a sentence only differentiates
itself from a perfectly unsystematic association, that strays from one
member to the other--as in the above-mentioned series, "school house
garden &c."--by the fact that it follows directly the action described
element for element, and therefore reproduces this in the memory
exactly as it took place in perception.

Here we meet clearly the two motives which raise pure associations
to apperceptive combinations by means of the impulses that lie in
the association itself. One of these motives is an objective one.
It lies in the regular concatenation of the outward phenomena which
present themselves to our view, and which force the association to
combine the ideas in the same regularity. A series, such as "school
house garden &c.," is only possible when the thought process frees
itself from perception and gives itself up to the incidental inner
motives, which remain when the continuous succession of phenomena
that regulates our thinking is wanting. Therefore association that
is joined to these phenomena is in itself the more primitive, and in
this way it is the regularity of the course of nature, which transfers
its regularity to the normal association of our ideas. Added to this
objective motive there is a second, a subjective one. We would not be
able to hold together in association a series of impressions given to
us in a certain order and to reproduce them again, were it not for our
attention that follows from member to member the separate parts of the
series, and ultimately binds them together into a whole. Thus ordered
thinking arises out of the ordered course of nature in which man finds
himself, and this thinking is from the beginning nothing more than the
subjective reproduction of the regularity according to law of natural
phenomena. On the other hand, this reproduction is only possible by
means of the will that controls the concatenation of ideas. Thus human
thought, like the human being himself, is at the same time the product
of nature and a creation of his own mental life, which in the human
will finds that unity which binds together the unbounded manifoldness
of mental contents into one whole. In this way the development of
apperceptive thought-combinations out of associations corroborates
further the result obtained above in considering volitional processes,
namely that to every outward voluntary action there correspond inner
acts of volition which are occupied in influencing the course of
thought. In the close combination between thought and speech this
connection between inner and outer volition comes most clearly to
light. We cannot act outwardly without at the same time executing
inner acts of will. Therefore ordered expression of thought in speech
corresponds as outward volitional activity to the control of the will
over the associations that originally stray here and there without
order. Even although thought in a primitive speech, as in the above
example, may be ever so near to mere association of ideas, yet the
control by the will is also to be seen in it, from the fact that the
association series is one that inwardly is connected together. And
with this we have the basis upon which the more complicated forms of
apperception can rise, because of the continuous concentrations and
combinations in thinking, and these latter at the same time find their
adequate expression in the forms of speech. This connection between
inner and outer volition, as we see it living in the connection between
thought and speech, is ultimately of as great practical as theoretical
importance. Only by considering this connection do we arrive at a
sufficient understanding for the higher productions of human mental
life. It also points forcibly to the fact that the most important
part of education for the formation of character--i.e. the training
of the will--should not only, and not even in the first instance, be
directed to the outward act. Rather must education pay most attention
to that inner volition which is occupied with ordered thinking. To
make this strong, to make this able to resist the distracting play of
associations, is its most important and also one of its most difficult

Many attempts have been made to investigate the processes of thought
in other ways than in the way described above. At first it was
thought that the surest way would be to take as a foundation for the
psychological analysis of the thought-processes the laws of logical
thinking, as they had been laid down from the time of Aristotle by
the science of logic. Scholastic philosophy showed great subtlety in
this direction in changing psychical processes into logical judgments
and conclusions, and there are still followers of this direction
at the present day. Starting with the thought-processes in the
narrow meaning of the word, this logical explanation of everything
psychical was allowed to spread over to associations, the processes
of sense-perception, the pure sensations, feelings, emotions, &c., so
that in this old scholastic psychology the human consciousness was in
danger of becoming a scholastic philosopher, who regulated each of
his actions according to the laws of logic. Now such laws are a late
product of scientific thinking, which presupposes a long history of
thinking determined by a number of specific factors. These norms, even
for the fully-developed consciousness, only apply to a small part of
the thought-processes. Any attempt to explain, out of these norms,
thought in the psychological sense of the word can only lead to an
entanglement of the real facts in a net of logical reflections. We can
in fact say of such attempts, that measured by results they have been
absolutely fruitless. They have disregarded the psychical processes
themselves, and have gained nothing at all for the interpretation of
the laws of logic simply because they saw in them the primitive facts
of consciousness itself.

Many psychologists thought that this method could be improved by making
use of direct introspection. They thought by turning their attention
to their own consciousness to be able to explain what happened when we
were thinking. Or they sought to attain the same end by asking another
person a question, by means of which certain processes of thought would
be excited, and then by questioning the person about the introspection
he had made. It is obvious to the reader, who has followed our
discussion so far, that nothing can be discovered in such experiments,
where the most complicated psychical processes are investigated
directly and without any further preparation. We need first of all a
careful analysis of the more elementary psychical processes, of the
facts of attention and of the wider scope of consciousness as well as
of the relations between them and of the manifold affective processes
that intervene in all these cases. Without having gained by these
means the necessary information as to the general conditions and, so
to say, as to the scene over which our thought-processes move, it is
impossible in any way to understand these themselves in their psychical
combinations. Many psychologists have connected this difficulty, not
with the wrongness of their own method but with the essence of the
thought-process. This was explained as an unconscious and (since
all sense-perception belongs to consciousness) as a supersensual
phenomenon, in the interpretation of which each one must be left to his
own speculation. This opened the door at once to the explanation of
psychical phenomena according to logical reflections, that were at will
read into such phenomena. This alleged method of exact introspection
ended ultimately at the point from whence it started, i.e. the
scholastic philosophy.

In contradistinction to all this let us remember the rule, valid for
psychology as well as for any other science, that we cannot understand
the complex phenomena, before we have become familiar with the simple
ones, which presuppose the former. Now the general phenomena of the
course of simple processes in consciousness, as we have seen them in
their most concrete form and under the simplest conditions in our
observations of the combination and comparison of rows of beats, give
us the most general preliminary conditions, which must be held as a
criterion for much more complicated thought-processes. It is evident,
however, that these formal conditions of all processes of consciousness
cannot be sufficient to account for the special characteristics and
phenomena of the development of thought. To do this we must turn
our attention to this development itself, as it is shown in the
documents of the spoken expression of thought at different stages of
consciousness. It is unfortunate that in these and in other cases the
development of the child, that is for us the easiest to observe, can
give, as is obvious, only a few and in part only doubtful results.
The speech and thought of the child, under the present conditions of
culture, not only presuppose a number of inherited dispositions, whose
influences can scarcely be accurately traced, but it is also absolutely
impossible to withdraw the child from the influences to which, from
the very beginning, its environment gives rise. Therefore the mental
development of our children is under all circumstances not only an
accelerated but also in many respects an essentially changed one, in
comparison to a purely spontaneous development. On the other hand
there are, at least in a relative manner, such stages of a spontaneous
development of thinking, in many cases relatively independent of
outward influences of culture, in the mental life of more primitive
peoples. The different stages, which this mental life shows, find
their most adequate expression in the outward phenomena of this mental
life itself, and above all in those of speech, which is a means of
expression and an instrument of thought at the same time. We can by
means of the different stages of the development of speech follow
that gradual transition of associative into apperceptive processes
of consciousness from step to step. The example given above of a
relatively primitive form of spoken thought shows the relation in which
it stands to our languages of culture. A closer investigation of this
subject would lead us beyond the scope of individual psychology into
that of racial psychology, where the most important part deals with the
psychological development of thought and speech.



Many psychologists and philosophers have denied the existence of
special laws for our psychical life, if we understand this to mean
specific laws, differing from the universal physical ones. Some
say that everything that is called a psychical law is nothing but
a psychological reflex of physical combinations, which is made up
of sensations joined to certain central cerebral processes. Others
maintain that there are no laws at all in the mental sphere. They say
that the essential difference between natural and mental sciences
consists in the fact that only the former can be reduced to definite
laws, whereas the latter are absolutely wanting in any arrangement
of phenomena according to law. The first of these opinions, that
of materialistic psychology, can be passed over rapidly. It is
contradicted by all the phenomena of consciousness that we have up
till now discussed. It is contradicted by the fact of consciousness
itself, which cannot possibly be derived from any physical qualities
of material molecules or atoms. The indisputable affirmation, that
there exist no processes of consciousness that are not in some
manner or other connected with physical processes, is changed by
this materialistic hypothesis into the dogma that the processes of
consciousness themselves are in their real essence physical processes.
Now this is an assertion that directly contradicts our immediate
experience, which teaches us that a human being, or any other similar
living creature, is a psycho-physical and not only a physical unity.

The second of the above opinions ascribes to the natural sciences
alone laws in the sense of universally valid rules for phenomena, and
therefore limits psychology in principle to the description of facts,
which appear in their combinations to be arranged purely by chance
or at will. This opinion rests obviously on a mistaken use of the
conception of law. We are only allowed to consider those regularities
in phenomena as according to law, which always repeat themselves
in exactly the same manner. But there are in reality no such laws,
not even in the natural sciences. For this principle is valid here:
laws determine the course of phenomena only in so far as they are
not annulled by other laws. Now because of the complex nature of all
phenomena in general each process stands under the influence of many
laws, and so it happens that just the most universal natural laws can
never in experience be demonstrated in their full power. There is no
law of dynamics which has a more universal validity than the so-called
"law of inertia" or Newton's first law of motion. It can be formulated
as follows: "A body in motion, and not acted on by any external
force, will continue to move indefinitely in a straight line and with
uniform velocity." It is obvious that this law can never and nowhere
be realised in experience, since a case of independence from other
external forces, which alter the motion, never and nowhere exists. And
yet the law of inertia is for us an infallible law of nature, since all
real processes of motion may be looked upon as lawful modifications of
that ideal case (never existing in concrete experience) of a motion not
acted upon by any external influences.

Let us now in the light of these considerations, universally
acknowledged in natural science, consider the question of the existence
or non-existence of psychical laws. It is of course self-evident
that we may consider as laws only such regularities that lie within
the process of consciousness, and not such as lie outside of
consciousness, e.g. such as belong to physiological processes of the
brain. Accordingly we may call combinations of sensations or of simple
feelings into complex ideas, emotions, &c., psychical laws, if they
in any way take place regularly. On the other hand, the fact that, if
a bright point appears on a dark field of vision, the lines of vision
of the two eyes are at once directed towards this point--this fact
is a physiological and not a psychical law. Naturally such physical
laws, as the one in our example, may have a determining influence upon
the operation of certain psychical laws. But this does not hinder
us from making a sharp distinction between the two kinds of law. We
keep as a principle for a psychical law, that the components as well
as the resultants of the effects of such laws are parts of immediate
consciousness, i.e. sensations, feelings and their combinations. Now
if we cast a glance, while keeping firmly to this criterion, over the
manifold processes of consciousness, which have been touched upon in
this book, we see at once that all these processes bear the character
of a stem regularity. Not in the sense that these laws are fixed rules
without exceptions (such laws as we have seen above do not exist,
because of the never-failing interference from other influences), but
in the only sense permissible, i.e. that each complex phenomenon can
be reduced to a lawful co-operation of elements. If this requirement
were not fulfilled, there would be no cohesion in our psychical
life. It would break up into a chaos of unconnected elements, and
consciousness itself, which is just the opposite of such a chaotic
disarrangement, would be impossible. Therefore each separate idea is a
combination of sensations according to law. A given clang of a definite
timbre is put together unchangeably in the same way out of elementary
tone-sensations. That certain objective sources of sound, e.g. strings,
air spaces, possess physical qualities, by means of which such regular
combinations of tone-quality arise, is undoubtedly a very important
factor for the psychical law of the blending of tones. But these
physical facts have in themselves nothing whatever to do with this law.
If our consciousness was not disposed to such regular combinations,
those objective factors would remain powerless. And it is exactly the
same with the combination of light-sensations into spatial ideas, with
the union of the images of an object in the right and left eye into
one total image, with the rise of peculiar total feelings out of their
partial feelings, as we have observed in the organic feeling and in the
elementary æsthetic feelings, and last of all with the composition of
the emotions and volitional processes out of their elements. Starting
from these single more or less complex processes of consciousness, this
character of regularity applies above all to the temporal succession of
the processes. The generalisations of the old association psychology
were absolutely inadequate, and its chief mistake lay, not so much in
postulating laws too hastily, as in the fact that it did not attempt
to penetrate deeply enough into the laws underlying the association
processes by means of an analysis of the same. A last and conclusive
testimony for this lawful character of psychical phenomena is given by
the apperceptive combinations, whose specific products (of course quite
dependent upon the laws of association), are the combinations of the
thought-processes, as we have seen above. There can be no more striking
proof of the absurdity of the above-mentioned theory of the lawlessness
of psychical phenomena as the consequence to which it would lead us.
For it would lead to the conclusion that the conception of law itself
was contrary to law. This conception is in fact nothing more than one
of the results of those psychical thought-combinations, the lawful
nature of which is questioned.

It would lead us too far here to go into the profusion of psychical
laws. The general character of them has been suggested in our chapters
on association and apperception. In the natural sciences there are more
general fundamental laws that rise above the separate particular laws,
and these we may call the principles of investigation, in so far as
they are general requirements to which investigation has to conform.
In the same way we can set up fundamental laws in psychology which are
not included in the separate regularities of phenomena, because they
can only be gained from a general view of the whole of such phenomena.
In physics, for example, the above-mentioned example of the law of
inertia is a universally valid law. The same claim is raised in a wider
scope by "the law of the indestructibility of matter," and by the
near-related "principle of the conservation of energy." Are there, we
naturally ask at once, psychological principles of similar universal

Before we attempt to answer this question we must note one restriction,
to which even in the natural sciences the requirement of universal
validity for the leading principles is subject, and which, we may be
sure, will be even more prominent in mental science, because of the
extraordinarily complex nature of the phenomena. This restriction
consists in the fact that the validity of each fundamental principle
is subject to certain hypotheses, so that, where these are no longer
fulfilled, the principles themselves become doubtful or untenable.
Thus the law of the conservation of energy is only valid as long as
the measured units of energy belong to a closed or finite material
system. It loses its validity if the system is of infinite extent,
or if, though finite, it can be acted upon by any external forces.
A restriction analogous to this last one will have to be employed
in regard to the psychical laws obtained by generalisation from the
individual psychological regularities. Of course we must take into
account the conditions arising out of the peculiarity of mental
phenomena. These psychical laws, by virtue of the subjection of
psychical phenomena to the interconnection of consciousness, can only
be valid within the limits within which such an interconnection of
psychical processes takes place. We shall, for example, try to obtain a
fundamental principle which controls the formation of complex psychical
processes out of their elements. But it would have no sense to set up
such a law for absolutely disparate processes that do not stand in any
relation in the single consciousness. It may be that, because of this,
the limits of validity for psychological principles are much narrower
than those for general natural laws. This is connected with the fact
that psychology has to do with inner and not with outer relations. And
also we must not forget that this limitation can be compensated for
by the character of the psychical laws themselves. And, in fact, the
discussion of the first and most general of these laws will show us
that this hypothesis proves correct.

The first fundamental principle deals with the relation of the parts
contained in a complex psychical process to the unified resultants
into which they form. This relation can, as regards its qualitative
content, be a most extraordinarily varying one, so that, in regard
to the quality of the elements and their combinations, the separate
psychical processes cannot be compared. Thus we cannot compare simple
light sensations and qualities of tones, or a spatial visual image
with a compound clang, or bring into comparison, according to their
qualitative character, the relations of both of these pairs with those
of the elements of an æsthetic feeling to that feeling itself, or with
those of the separate feelings of an emotion to the total content of
the same, or with those of the affective and ideational components of
motives to the volitional process in which they take part. Nevertheless
all these cases are regulated in regard to the formal relation between
the components of a process and their resultants by one single
principle, which we may call, for the sake of shortness, "the principle
of creative resultants." It attempts to state the fact that in all
psychical combinations the product is not a mere sum of the separate
elements that compose such combinations, but that it represents a
new creation. But at the same time, the general disposition of this
product is formed by the elements, so that further components are not
necessary for its creation, and indeed cannot be considered possible
from the standpoint of a psychological interpretation. Thus in the
light sensations of the retina, combined and fused with the sensations
of strain in the eye in its movements and adjustments, are contained
the essentials for the production of a given spatial image. At the
same time this spatial image itself is something new, which as regards
the resulting qualities is not contained in those elements. In the
same way an act of volition that takes place under the influence of a
number of motives, partly combating and partly aiding each other, is
the necessary creation of this motivation, so that any specific process
lying outside of these elements is nowhere to be observed. At the same
time such an act of volition is no mere sum of motive-elements, but
something new, that connects these elements into one united resultant.
We see this creative and yet absolutely lawful nature of psychical
phenomena best of all in apperceptive combinations, and for a long
time it has been silently recognised in their case. Every one knows
that the result of a chain of reasoning, made up of a row of single
acts of thought, may be a product of those single thought-acts, which
throws much light on some subject and which was before unknown to us,
and yet which conclusively comes from those premises, if we analyse
retrogressively its development. Upon this creative character of
apperceptive combinations, above all, rests the regularity of psychical
development, which is shown in the single consciousness during the
individual life, and in the total mental development revealed to us
by culture and history. The assertion that is occasionally made,
based on dogmatic prejudices--namely, that the law of the constancy
of matter, that is valid for the forces of nature, must necessarily
keep mental life always at the same level in its total value--this
assertion is contradicted by the facts of individual and universal
development. That does not naturally exclude the possibility of
individual interruptions of the course of development, and, because
of these, of retrogressive movements arising, in consequence of the
above-mentioned conditions, which govern all mental combinations. This
combination of creative growth and strict regularity, which marks our
mental life, is shown above all in the fact that, especially with the
more complicated processes and the more extensive forms of progress of
psychical phenomena, the future resultants can never be determined in
advance; but that on the other hand it is possible, starting with the
given resultants, to achieve, under favourable conditions, an exact
deduction into the components. The psychologist, like the psychological
historian, is a prophet with his eyes turned towards the past. He
ought not only to be able to tell what has happened, but also what
necessarily must have happened, according to the position of events.
This point of view has in essentials for a long time been held in
practice in the historical sciences. It must be of some value that
psychology can show the same law of resultants even in the simplest
sense-perceptions and affective-processes, where, in consequence of the
simplicity of the conditions, very often the retrogressive deduction
turns at the same time into a prophecy of events.

The law of resultants undergoes an important change in those cases, in
which in the course of a psychical process secondary influences arise,
which lie outside the region of the immediately produced resultants,
and in which these secondary influences become independent conditions
of new influences, which combine with those immediate resultants into a
complex phenomenon. In such cases it may even happen that the secondary
influences obtain the mastery and so degrade the original resultants
to mere secondary influences or ultimately obliterate them altogether.
Such a phenomenon may in longer processes be repeated several times
and in this manner produce a chain of processes, the members of which
diverge more and more from the starting-point of the row of phenomena.
It is most of all processes made up of all other psychical compounds,
i.e. volitional processes, in which this modification of the law of
resultants may be demonstrated by means of numerous phenomena mostly
belonging to racial psychology or the history of civilisation. An
action arising from a given motive produces not only the ends latent
in the motive, but also other, not directly purposed, influences.
When these latter enter into consciousness and stir up feelings and
impulses, they themselves become new motives, which either make
the original act of volition more complicated, or they change it
or substitute some other act for it. We may call this modification
of the law of resultants, in accordance with the principal form in
which it appears, "the principle of the heterogony of ends." It is of
eminent importance for the development of the individual as well as of
the general consciousness, and especially because the influences of
original motives, that have decayed, are almost always preserved in
some few traces alongside of the new ones that have taken their place.
Such remnants of former purposes continue to exist in forms we do not
understand in a great number of our habits, customs, and above all in
religious ceremonies handed down to us from the past. Not only do these
phenomena themselves remain obscure, but also the development of the
present aims remains obscure, as long as we cannot account for them by
the principle of heterogony that intervenes in all these cases.

As a supplement to the law of resultants, and yet at the same time in
a certain sense as an expression for the same psychical regularity, we
have "the law of conditioning relations." Just as the law of resultants
joins into one unified expression the forms of psychical synthesis, so
we may say that the law of relations is the analytic principle, which
arranges under one general rule the relations of the components of one
such synthetic whole. This rule consists in the fact that the psychical
elements of a product stand in internal relations to each other, out of
which the product itself necessarily arises, while at the same time the
character of a new creation (a character that belongs to all psychical
resultants) is caused by these relations. By inner relations we mean
such as depend upon the qualitative constitution of the separate
contents, and in so far stand, as a specifically different and at
the same time complementary condition, in contradistinction to those
external relations, which are determined by their formal arrangement.
In this sense this distinction between external and internal relations
corresponds to the difference in the ways of viewing the phenomena by
the natural sciences and psychology respectively. The processes of
nature are absolutely determined by the connection of temporal and
spatial relations, in which the elements of the phenomena stand to
each other. The mental processes on the other hand cannot, because of
their subjection to natural phenomena, dispense with these external
relations, but their inmost nature rests on the internal qualitative
relations of the elements bound into one whole.

The law of relations stands in general reciprocal relationship to the
law of resultants. Both of these laws apply to all compound unities
of psychical phenomena, from the simplest ideational and complex
affective processes up to the most complicated individual and general
developments in psychical life. Thus the combination of a sum of
tone elements into a single whole, by means of a specific ideational
and affective value resulting from the combination itself, depends
absolutely upon the qualitative and quantitative relations in which
the tones stand to each other. This clearly arises from the natural
dependence of resultants and relations upon each other, since each
change of the latter modifies the constitution of the resultants in
a corresponding manner. In the same way a spatial visual image is
dependent on the relations of the qualitative and quantitative elements
of the sensations of the retina and the strain sensations of the eye,
and so on. A complex æsthetic feeling is a resultant of the simpler
æsthetic feelings bound to the different parts of the perception,
in so far as these latter again determine the product by means of
their qualitative relations. And lastly all the processes of mental
development are founded on the relations of their separate factors, by
means of which they are combined into resultants. The interdependence
of the laws of resultants and of relations shows us the importance
of each of these principles. We cannot explain the psychical value
of new creative compounds without considering the internal relations
of their components, just as we cannot comprehend the peculiarity of
these relations without continually taking into account their resulting

Again in this case the most striking proof for the close connection
between these two principles is given by the apperceptive combinations,
especially in the forms of logical processes of thought, as they
are expressed in the combination of sentences in speech. The
thought-content of a sentence stands first of all, as we saw above, as
a whole in our consciousness, but not yet as an ideational compound
raised to clear apperception. In this stage it is a resultant from
previous separate association and apperception processes. Then follows
in the second stage of expression in speech, an analysis of that total
idea into its parts, in which these parts are always put into close
relations with each other. Such relations are called by grammarians
subject and predicate, noun and adjective, verb and adverb, &c. The
grammatical meaning of these categories shows clearly that this
analysis consists of a system of primary and secondary relations,
which are joined into a unified resultant by this logical arrangement.
Thus the relation of subject and predicate includes all those further
relations of noun and adjective, verb and object or adverb, as its
minor terms, which are joined together partly by their own relations
and partly by the relations of those most general members of the
sentence, i.e. subject and predicate. This explains the psychological
fact, that after this process of joining the thought together has
passed, the total idea is once again, as at the beginning but this
time more clearly, in consciousness. In a similar manner such single
thought-compounds are combined into more extensive chains of thought,
of which the relatively simplest forms are found in the process of
drawing a conclusion.

The law of resultants finds a supplement and a specific application
in the principle of the heterogony of ends in certain very important
cases. In the same way we find, as supplementary to the law of
relations, "the principle of intensifying contrasts." It includes those
relations of psychical elements and compounds which are connected with
certain limiting values of the qualitative and quantitative components
of a whole. In the region of ideational combinations we have noted such
influences of contrast in associative assimilations and dissimilations.
We saw there that at a certain limiting value of the difference between
two sensations or ideas, e.g. two spatial or temporal distances,
two sound or light sensations, the assimilation present at a small
difference may turn suddenly into a dissimilation. The impressions no
longer assimilate, but become intensified through contrast. In another
especially important form we meet the same principle in the feelings,
where it stands in connection with the duality of the feelings that
is valid for all affective processes and their combinations. In
consequence of this each feeling, as we have seen, possesses its
contrast-feeling, e.g. pleasure and displeasure, excitation and
quiescence, strain and relaxation. Here the principle of relations
shows itself in the form of the law of contrast, above all in the fact
that the change between contrasting feelings itself intensifies the
contrasts. Thus a feeling of pleasure is more intense, and its specific
quality is more clearly felt, if it has been preceded by a feeling
of displeasure. A similar relation exists between excitation and
quiescence, strain and relaxation.

The law of contrasts is by no means limited to the relation between
separate contents of consciousness existing side by side or following
each other, but we see its most important influences in those places
where it extends over more extensive groups of mental experience.
Thoughtful historians have long since noted the fact, that in
historical development not only do periods of rise and fall follow
each other, but also periods of a special direction of mental life.
And these periods, both in the impression they make upon us and in
the objective relations in which they stand to each other, are so
intensified that the following phase is every time increased by means
of the contrast with the preceding one. Let us take an example from
the near past. The German literature of the classicist period received
its peculiar stamp of contemplative calm and beauty of form to a great
degree from the contrast with the "storm and stress" period that was
marked with such strong emotions. In the same way romanticism, which
was inclined to the cult of the imagination and of a poetical past,
was influenced by contrast with the preceding classical period, that
laid most stress upon the understanding, and that regarded the present
as the ripest fruit of human development. And lastly this change of
contrasts shows itself most clearly and with the shortest oscillations
in economic life, where it is in part assisted by the oscillations in
the conditions of civilisation. We see this, for example, very well
in the fluctuations of our national credit and of stocks and shares.
And these sharp contrasts can be ultimately explained by the inner
life of man that fluctuates between hope and hesitation, and in this
fluctuation intensifies the emotions.

Let us now consider the connection of the four principles we have
discussed. The second and fourth may be looked upon as special
applications of the two fundamental principles of creative resultants
and conditioning relations. We see also that they are not only joined
very closely together, but that they stand, as absolutely disparate
incomparable laws, in contradistinction to those general principles to
which all natural phenomena are subjected. A contradiction has very
often been thought to exist in the relation between the universal
mental and natural laws. And since the natural laws are considered to
be the more general and more necessary, these psychical principles
have been looked upon as inadmissible generalisations, if they have
not been absolutely ignored, which has more often been the case. Now
we have seen in our whole discussion, that in reality we cannot move
a step in the interpretation of psychical processes from the simplest
sense-perceptions and affective combinations to the most complicated
mental processes, as shown in society and history, without meeting
with these principles always and everywhere. We must of course keep
strictly to the maxim of analysing the psychical processes in their
own connections and as processes joined together in themselves, as
far as they so appear to us. Now the neglect of this maxim has led to
the above-mentioned contradiction and to the disregard of these laws.
In fact the reverse maxim has been formed, namely, that psychical
processes should not be held as decisive for the principles that
condition them, but rather that the laws of nature, founded upon
external natural phenomena, should also rule our mental life. In this
sense the law of the conservation of energy has been considered a
fundamental law of all mental development. For this purpose, and also
in order to preserve a kind of independence for our mental life, the
conception of "psychical energy" has been formed. This, in all the
changes it undergoes, is supposed to be subject to the law of the
conservation of energy just like mechanical, thermal, electro-magnetic,
or any other energy. Since we do not possess a definite unit of
measurement for this psychical energy, and since it always occurs
between two other physical energies, it was taken for granted that
it could be indirectly measured. It could be placed in the middle of
a series of transformations that took place according to constant
equivalents as a value to be measured indirectly by the physical energy
equivalent to it. For example, it could be placed between a given
quantity of chemical energy, supplied from outside to the organism, and
an equivalent quantity of warmth and mechanical work-energy, which the
organism produces. If this were the case we could not reconcile with it
a principle such as the one of creative resultants. Such a principle
could not be included among the universal psychical laws; it would
have to lie outside the general regularity of our psychical life. We
can of course reverse this relation. Then we come to the result, that
psychical regularity lies outside the law of energy, and in that case
it would have no sense to place this psychical energy between two other
physical energies and then attempt a measurement. Such a measurement
is a pure fiction. We might just as well take any other fictitious
process, say a miracle, and place it in the series of transformations.

These applications of physical laws to psychical phenomena are not
based upon empirical facts, but they arise from a metaphysical
principle, namely, the demand for a monistic view of life. Now this
idea certainly has a justification, inasmuch as it rests upon a
logical demand which it seeks to satisfy. If the so-called monism
does not do this, it changes into a real dualism, as would clearly
happen in the above-suggested rationalistic explanation of a miracle.
In fact monism is only scientifically justified in its view of the
relation between psychical and physical, as long as it emphasises the
fact that the human being can just as little be considered a purely
physical as a purely psychical being, and that man must be considered
a psycho-physical individual, as we in reality experience him. This
monism alone corresponds to the facts, A dualistic separation of soul
and body, even if it sails under a monistic flag in the form of an
atom-soul, or of an anonymous psychical energy, is a hypothesis which
cannot be proved and which is useless for the interpretation of mental
life. From the standpoint of the scientific and only justifiable
monism, the mental processes are considered inseparable components of
human and animal life. They must be judged according to the qualities
that are immanent in them, and not according to laws which apply to
other phenomena, and in the formulation of which no regard was paid
to those psychical qualities. There cannot, however, be the least
contradiction in the idea that physical and psychical phenomena follow
different laws, as long as these laws are not irreconcilable with the
actual unity of the psycho-physical individual. In reality we cannot
talk of irreconcilability in this case, because firstly, the two
series of phenomena are of a disparate nature, and because secondly
everywhere, where these two series of phenomena meet together in the
unity of the individual, they are really, as far as we know, subject
to a principle of regular arrangement. Thus, for example, the law of
creative resultants is not the least contradiction to the law of the
conservation of energy, because the measures by which we determine
psychical values cannot be compared with those with which we measure
physical values. We judge the psychical according to its qualitative
value, and the physical according to its quantitative value. The
idea of value is in its origin really psychical, and this points to
the fact that in reality physical values have in themselves no real
measure, and that they only obtain one, if we make them the object
of a comparative judgment, i.e. in a sense translate them into the
psychological. Disparate values cannot in any way be compared, so long
as a transformation of the one into the other is impossible. We can
compare warmth and mechanical work, because the one can be transformed
into the other according to a strict law of equivalence. But we
cannot compare a tone with a sensation of light, or a visual idea
with a chord, because a transformation of the one of these practical
contents into the other is unthinkable. Now physical values are
subject to the principle of the conservation of energy because of the
unlimited capacity for transformation of physical energies according to
equivalent relations. But it has on the other hand no sense to try to
apply this same principle to the qualitative psychical values, which do
not in any way admit of such a transformation. This of course stands in
close relation with the fact that the subject-matter of psychology is
the whole manifoldness of qualitative contents directly presented to
our experience, each of which would immediately lose its own peculiar
quality, if we tried to transform it into any other. Thus the physical
phenomena investigated by the natural sciences and the laws of these
phenomena do not in the least contradict the qualitative content of
life dealt with by psychology. They rather supplement each other,
inasmuch as we must combine them together into one whole, if we wish
to understand the life of the psycho-physical being given to us in its

Yet this impossibility of comparison of these qualities could not
exist along with the unity of their substratum, if the physical and
psychical values were not joined together in this substratum. This
connection consists herein, that on the one side the physical elements,
whether atoms or parts of one continuous matter, must necessarily
be thought by us in forms of spatial and temporal ideas arising in
accordance with psychical laws, and on the other side the psychical
elements, the simple sensations and feelings, are inalienably bound
up with definite physical processes. These latter need by no means
be of a simple constitution, as has at times been presupposed by
reason of metaphysical prejudices. The opposite is rather the case,
as experience, which alone in this question can decide, incontestably
teaches. For it shows that each simple sensation is joined to a very
complicated combination of peripheral and central nerve-processes, and
so also with the most elementary feeling, as is shown by the manifold
"expression" phenomena which accompany the simplest feeling.

The actual correlation then is between simple, i.e. not further
analysable, psychical content and complex physical processes. If,
however, in contradiction to this, we introduce the metaphysical
postulate of a correspondence between the psychically simple and the
physically simple, we are inclined to go further and to presuppose a
continuous correspondence between the two series of phenomena right
up to the highest and most complicated content of consciousness. This
regular relation between psychical elements and physical processes then
becomes changed into a metaphysical parallelism, in which in content
as well as in form the psychical becomes a copy of the physical, and
the physical a copy of the psychical phenomenon. This hypothesis
finds expression in the words of Spinoza, "The order and combination
of ideas is the same as the order and combination of things." Such
an idea was thinkable as long as the physical side of the qualities
of living beings was so little known, and as long as there was no
explanation of those psychological principles, which control the
combination of processes of consciousness from simple sense-perceptions
to complex thought-processes. At that Lime philosophy could take
the liberty of building up reality out of abstract ideas, such as
substance and causality. At the present day metaphysics, if it wishes
to make any claim to respect, must build upon the real facts and not
upon those ideas used from purely logical, dialectical motives. Even
from this point of view there remains a "principle of psychological
parallelism" in the sense that there is no psychical process, from
the simplest sensation and affective elements to the most complex
thought-processes, which does not run parallel with a physical process.
Now sensation and affective elements cannot be compared in that way,
since a simple process in the one case does not correspond to even
a relatively simple one in the other, and this of course is valid
for all other contents of consciousness formed from these elements.
We meet everywhere physical and psychical as incomparable qualities
of the united psycho-physical individual, and each of these must be
judged according to the laws of combinations of elements, which are
expressed in the combination itself. Since these qualities themselves
are disparate, it can therefore never happen that the two principles
come into antagonism with each other, whereas on the other hand, if we
try to transfer the conditions that are only valid for the one side of
the phenomena of life to the other side, we will very soon either come
into antagonism with facts, or be forced to abandon an interpretation
of a part of life placed in this manner under a strange point of view.
Thus from the present-day psychological standpoint, which must be
authoritative for a philosophical consideration, we can only speak of a
"parallelism" between psychical and physical in as far as all elements
of psychical life are joined to physical processes. The combinations
of these elements, however, can never be judged according to the laws
that are valid for the combination of the physical processes of life.
If we try to do this, we eliminate what is most characteristic and
important in our mental life. This reduction of the so-called principle
of parallelism is occasionally called inconsequent and unsatisfying.
This objection rests upon the interference of _a priori_ metaphysical
theories of the past, whose principles have long been thrown aside by
science, and also upon ignorance of the real problem which psychology
has to solve. This problem can surely never consist in applying, in
connection with psychical processes, principles which do not belong to
the psychical side of life. It must much rather consist in the attempt
to gain principles out of the contents of our psychical life, just as
in the reverse case physiological investigation of the change of matter
and energy in the organism does not in the least, and rightly so,
trouble itself with the psychical qualities of the organism. For the
real unity of life will not be understood by subjecting real phenomena
to laws with which they have absolutely no inner relationship. No, we
must try to explain all sides of life and then the relations of these
to each other.

From the standpoints which have here been developed as to the relation
of psychical to natural laws and as to their combination into one
unity, we may now decide a question which is of mythological origin,
and which was transferred by mythology to philosophy and ultimately to
psychology. This question is the one as to the nature of the soul. For
the primitive thinker the soul was a demoniacal being, which had its
seat in the whole body, but especially in certain favoured organs, such
as the heart, the kidneys, the liver, or the blood. Besides this oldest
idea of a body-soul, there soon arose a second idea of a soul only
externally bound to the parts of the body, and this soul left the body
at death in the last breath, and also for a short time during sleep,
as noticed in the images of dreams. This was called the breath-soul or
the shadow-soul. For a long time, in spite of the self-contradiction,
these two conceptions were joined together, although we see in the
development of mythological thought that the breath-soul or psyche
slowly supersedes the idea of a body-soul.

The development of the idea of a soul in philosophy is in essentials a
repetition of this mythological development. The ancient philosophy,
in whose footsteps mediæval philosophy follows, still holds fast to
the idea of a body-soul. The soul is the driving force of all, even
physical processes of life, e.g. nutrition and propagation. By the side
of this, however, the higher mental activities are bound to a specific
being that is separable from the body. This opinion, which gave a
concrete, clear form to the mythological ideas, found its most perfect
scientific expression in the psychology of Aristotle. The psyche that
was separable from the body had thus won a victory over the body-soul
both in mythology and in the classical work of Aristotle. This, of
course, led ultimately to the absolute dominion of this independent
soul, and its qualities were more and more considered to be absolutely
opposite to the qualities of the body, that was ruled by purely
material laws. This development culminated in the system of Descartes,
the last great philosopher of the Renaissance. The body is from now
on considered to be an expended substance, subject to mechanical laws
only; the soul stands, in contradistinction to this, as an unextended,
purely thinking substance. The two substances are, however, during life
externally joined together. In one single point of the brain the body
was supposed to meet in reciprocal action with the soul, which was
thought of as something analogous to a material atom. Descartes fixed
upon the pineal gland, but there were countless other hypotheses as to
the position of this point.

This is not the place to follow the further changes that these
ideas underwent in the history of modern philosophy and psychology.
All the later changes of the dualistic hypothesis are not of the
first importance. The fundamental principle is, that the soul is a
permanent substance, and the psychical processes are looked upon as
changing phenomena of this substance, which are, however, different
from it. This hypothesis may take the form that Spinoza gave it in
presupposing the two substances changed into two attributes which run
parallel with each other. There is also the materialistic hypothesis
that reduces the soul-substance to a quality of the bodily substance,
which alone is recognised as real. It becomes clear to us that such
further developments of the "substance" hypothesis become more and
more contradictory to the laws of psychical life, the more they
attempt to explain the self-contradicting conception of two absolutely
different substances which must be bound together into one unity.
The Cartesian soul can no longer exist in face of our present-day
physiological knowledge of the physical substratum of our mental life.
And metaphysical monism in these two forms, which try to combine
soul-and body-substance into one unity, would shut out the possibility of
any knowledge of our psychical life.

Therefore, in contradistinction to this metaphysical concept of a
mind-substance, we set up the concept of the actuality of mind. Mental
processes are not transient appearances to which the soul stands
in contradistinction as a permanent, unknowable being unrelated to
them, so that any attempt to combine the two must necessarily lead
to a tissue of influences and counter-influences, which were at will
given the conventional names: "ideas, feeling, striving, &c." A
striking example of the futility of such an attempt to make substance
the basis of an explanation of mental life is seen in the last and
most thorough-going of these theories, i.e. in Herbart's so-called
Mechanism of Ideas. Certainly all psychical phenomena is a continual
coming and going, a producing and being produced. But no supersensuous
substance, standing in contradistinction to these phenomena, can help
us to understand the latter in their separate parts, or even in the
connection of these parts into a whole. Sense-perception is a product
of elements of pure sensation, an emotion is the course of directly
experienced feelings, a thought-process is a combination of its
elements established by itself. Nowhere do these facts of real mental
life need another substratum for their interpretation beyond the one
that is given in the facts themselves. And the unity of this life
does not gain in the least, if we add to its own real union another
substance, which is neither perceived nor really experienced, but which
stands as an abstract conception in contradistinction to that mental
life established by itself.

We only need to cast a glance at the sciences most closely connected
with psychology, i.e. the so-called mental sciences, in order to become
aware of the emptiness and futility of this psychological conception
of "substance." The name "mental science" has only the right to exist,
so long as these departments of learning are based upon the facts of
psychology--the mental science in the most general sense of the term.
Now when would a historian, philologist, or jurist make use of any
other means to understand some phenomenon or of any other arguments
to prove some statement than those which spring from immediate facts
of mental life? Why then should the standpoint of psychology be in
absolute contradiction to the stand-points of its most nearly related
sciences? Psychology must not only strive to become a useful basis for
the other mental sciences, but it must also turn again and again to the
historical sciences, in order to obtain an understanding for the more
highly developed mental processes. Racial psychology is the clearest
proof of this latter. It is one of the newest of the mental sciences
and depends absolutely on these relations between psychology and the
historical sciences. It is the first transition from psychology to the
other mental sciences.

The metaphysical psychology of the present day, that has developed out
of Descartes' theory of two substances absolutely different and yet
externally joined together, this psychology seems unquestionably to
be further away from the reality of the mental life than the theories
of the ancient metaphysicians were. The old idea saw in the soul the
principle of all life, or, according to Aristotle, the energy working
towards an end, out of which the whole of the phenomena of life,
physical and psychical, sprang. It sought at least to account for
that unity of life, which popular dualism must regard as a wonder,
if it does not suppose the psychical to be a confused image of the
physical, or reversely suppose this latter to be a mere subjective
idea without its own reality. And yet this old vitalistic idea of a
soul is for us no longer possible. For it tries to explain the unity
of life only by postulating an all-embracing idea of purpose or use in
place of a causal explanation of phenomena such as is now demanded.
This vague notion of purpose does not explain the peculiarity of
mental processes, nor does it fulfil the requirements of a natural
explanation in regard to the physical side of the phenomena of life.
Nutrition, propagation, movement, on the one hand, and perception,
imagination, understanding, on the other, cannot be combined into
one unity, even although the facts which these concepts denote are
purposeful from the standpoint of the connection of the phenomena of
life. They do not resist such a combination because they are bound up
with essentially different substrata, but because they depend upon
absolutely different stand-points of the phenomena of life given to us
as a unity. Nutrition, propagation, movement, are organic processes
which belong to objective nature, and for which, because of their own
characteristics, the ideas we form of them serve as signs which point
to an existence independent of our consciousness. In investigating
them, just as in the investigation of natural phenomena outside our own
body, we must abstract from the subjective processes of consciousness,
to which they are bound, if we wish to understand them in their
objective natural connection. On the other hand our ideas, inasmuch
as they are subjective, our feelings and our emotions are immediate
experiences, which psychology tries to understand exactly in the way in
which they arise, continue, and enter into relations with each other
in consciousness. Therefore it is one and the same psycho-physical
individual forming a unity, which physiology and psychology have as
subject-matter. Each of these, however, views this subject-matter from
a different stand-point. Physiology regards it as an object of external
nature, belonging to the system of physical-chemical processes, of
which organic life consists. Psychology regards it as the system of
our experiences in consciousness. Now for every piece of knowledge two
factors are necessary--the subject who knows and the object thought
about, independent of this subject. The investigation of the subject in
his characteristics, as revealed to us in human consciousness, forms
therefore not only a necessary supplement to the investigations of
natural science, but it also attains to a more universal importance,
since all mental values and their development arise from immediately
experienced processes of consciousness, and therefore can alone be
understood by means of these processes. And this is exactly what we
mean by the principle of the actuality of mind.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Introduction to Psychology - Translated from the Second German Edition" ***

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