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Title: A Beginner's Psychology
Author: Titchener, Edward Bradford
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Beginner's Psychology" ***

                         TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES:

—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.

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                        A BEGINNER’S PSYCHOLOGY

[Illustration: LOGO]

                         THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

                 NEW YORK · BOSTON · CHICAGO ·  DALLAS
                        ATLANTA · SAN FRANCISCO

                       MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED

                      LONDON · BOMBAY · CALCUTTA

                   THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.


                        A BEGINNER’S PSYCHOLOGY


                       EDWARD BRADFORD TITCHENER

                               New York
                         THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
                         _All rights reserved_

                           COPYRIGHT, 1915,

                       BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

          Set up and electrotyped. Published December, 1915.

                             Norwood Press
                J. S. Cushing Co.—Berwick & Smith Co.
                        Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.

                             THE MEMORY OF
                          THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY


 It is an acknowledged fact that we perceive errors in the work of
 others more readily than in our own.—LEONARDO DA VINCI

IN this Beginner’s Psychology I have tried to write, as nearly as
might be, the kind of book that I should have found useful when I was
beginning my own study of psychology. That was nearly thirty years ago;
and I read Bain, and the Mills, and Spencer, and Rabier, and as much of
Wundt as a struggling acquaintance with German would allow. Curiously
enough, it was a paragraph in James Mill, most unpsychological of
psychologists, that set me on the introspective track,—though many
years had to pass before I properly understood what had put him off
it. A book like this would have saved me a great deal of labour and
vexation of spirit. Nowadays, of course, there are many introductions
to psychology, and the beginner has a whole library of text-books to
choose from. Still, they are of varying merit; and, what is perhaps
more important, their temperamental appeal is diverse.

I do not find it easy to relate this new book to the older
Primer,—which will not be further revised. There is change all
through; every paragraph has been rewritten. The greatest change is,
however, a shift of attitude; I now lay less stress than I did upon
knowledge and more upon point of view. The beginner in any science is
oppressed and sometimes disheartened by the amount he has to learn;
so many men have written, and so many are writing; the books say such
different things, and the magazine articles are so upsetting! Enviable
is the senior who can reply, when some scientific question is on the
carpet,—There are three main views, A’s and B’s and C’s, and you will
find them here and there and otherwhere! But as time goes by this
erstwhile beginner comes to see that knowledge is, after all, a matter
of time itself. If he keeps on working, knowledge is added unto him;
and not only knowledge, but also what is just as valuable as knowledge,
the power of expert assimilation; so that presently, when some special
point is in debate, he is not ashamed of the plea of ignorance. He has
learned that one man cannot compass the full range of a science, and he
is assured that so-many hours of expert attention will make him master
of the new matter. He comes in this way not, surely, to underestimate
knowledge, but to be less anxious about it; and as that preoccupation
goes, the point of view seems to be more and more important. Why is it
that beginners in science are so often disjointed in their thinking, so
often superficial, unable to correlate what they know, logically all
at sea? There is no doubt that they are, whether they study physics or
chemistry, biology or psychology. I think the main reason is that they
have never got the scientific point of view; they are taught Physics
or Biology, but not Science. Hence I have, in this book, written an
inordinately long introduction, and have kept continually harping on
the difference between fact and meaning. I try to make the reader
see clearly what I take Science to be. It does not matter whether
he agrees with me; that is a detail; I shall be fully satisfied if
he learns to be clear and definite in his objections, realizes his
own point of view, and sticks to it in working out later his own
psychological system. Muddlement is the enemy; and there is a good deal
of muddled thinking even in modern books.

Not that I offer this little essay as a model of clear thought!
The ideas of current psychology and the words in which they find
expression are still, in very large measure, an affair of tradition and
compromise; and even if a writer has fought through to clarity,—past
experience forbids me to hope that: but even if one had,—a book meant
for beginners may not be too consistently radical; some touch must be
maintained with the past, and some too with the multifarious trends
of the present. There is something turbid in the very atmosphere of
an elementary psychology (is the air much clearer elsewhere?), and
it is difficult to see things in perspective. So the critic who will
soon be saying that the ideal text-book of psychology has yet to be
written will be heartily in the right, even if he is not particularly
helpful. The present work has its due share of the mistakes and minor
contradictions that are inevitable to a first writing; at many points
it falls short of my intention,—_l’œuvre qu’on porte en soi paraît
toujours plus belle que celle qu’on a faite_; and I daresay that the
intention itself is not within measureable distance of the ideal. It
is, nevertheless, the best I can do at the time; and it is also, I
repeat, the kind of book that I should have liked to have when I began

Psychological text-books usually contain a chapter on the physiology
of the central nervous system. The reader will find no such chapter
here; for I hold, and have always held, that the student should get
his elementary knowledge of neurology, not at second hand from the
psychologist, but at first hand from the physiologist. I have added
to every chapter a list of Questions, looking partly to increase of
knowledge, but especially to a test of the reader’s understanding of
what he has just read. I have also added a list of References for
further reading. It depends upon the maturity and general mental habit
of the student whether these references—made as they are, in many
cases, to authors who do not agree either with one another or with the
text of the book—should be followed up at once, or only after the text
itself has been digested. The decision must be left to the instructor.
My own opinion is that beginners are best given one thing at a time,
and that the knowledge-questions and the references should therefore,
in the ordinary run of teaching, be postponed until some ‘feeling’
for psychology, some steadiness of psychological attitude, has become

I have avoided the term ‘consciousness.’ Experimental psychology made
a serious effort to give it a scientific meaning; but the attempt has
failed; the word is too slippery, and so is better discarded. The
term ‘introspection’ is, I have no doubt, travelling the same road;
and I could easily have avoided it, too; but the time is, perhaps,
not quite ripe. I have said nothing of the ‘thought-element’, which
seems to me to be a psychological pretender, supported only by the
logicising tendencies of the day; and if I am wrong no great harm has
been done, since a description of this alleged elementary process, by
positive characters, is not yet forthcoming. My references are confined
to works available in the English language; I think it unlikely that
the students for whom this book is intended will have attained to any
considerable knowledge of French or German. Lastly,—I believe that
this is my last major omission,—I have referred only incidentally to
the ‘application’ of psychology; for science is not technology, though
history goes to show that any the least fact of science may, some day
or other, find its sphere of practical usefulness.

Two of my illustrations are borrowed: the swallow-figure on p. 138 from
Professor Ebbinghaus, and the cut on p. 282 from Dr. A. A. Grünbaum.

I am sorry to confess that a few of the quotations which head the
chapters are mosaics, pieced together from different paragraphs of the
original. Even great writers are, at times, more diffuse than one could
wish; or perhaps it would be fairer to say that they did not write with
a view to chapter-headings. I hope, in any case, that no injustice has
been done.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is a very pleasant duty to acknowledge the assistance that I have
received from my Cornell colleagues, Prof. H. P. Weld and Drs. W. S.
Foster and E. G. Boring, and from Dr. L. D. Boring of Wells College. I
am indebted to all for many points of valid criticism, and I wish to
express to all my sincere thanks for much self-sacrificing labour.

I have retained the late Professor Huxley’s name in the forefront
of this new primer, partly as an act of homage to the master in
Science,—the brilliant investigator, the fearless critic, the lucid
expositor; and partly, also, as a personal tribute to the man it was my
earlier privilege to know.

  July, 1915.




  SECTION                            PAGE

  1. Common Sense and Science                                        1

  2. The Subject-matter of Psychology                                5

  3. Mind and Body                                                  10

  4. The Problem of Psychology                                      14

  5. The Method of Psychology                                       18

  6. Process and Meaning                                            26

  7. The Scope of Psychology                                        30

  8. A Personal Word to the Reader                                  34

    Questions and Exercises                                         37

    References for Further Reading                                  40



  9. Sensations from the Skin                                       43

  10. Kinæsthetic Sensations                                        45

  11. Taste and Smell                                               48

  12. Sensations from the Ear                                       51

  13. Sensations from the Eye                                       56

  14. Organic Sensations                                            64

  15. Sensation and Attribute                                       65

  16. The Intensity of Sensation                                    67

    Questions and Exercises                                         70

    References                                                      72



  17. Simple Images                                                 73

  18. Simple Feelings and Sense-feelings                            79

    Questions and Exercises                                         87

    References                                                      88



  19. The Problem of Attention                                      90

  20. The Development of Attention                                  93

  21. The Nature of Attention                                       99

  22. The Experimental Study of Attention                          103

  23. The Nervous Correlate of Attention                           106

    Questions and Exercises                                        110

    References                                                     111



  24. The Problem in General                                       112

  25. The Analysis of Perception and Idea                          114

  26. Meaning in Perception and Idea                               117

  27. The Types of Perception                                      121

  28. The Perception of Distance                                   125

  29. The Problem in Detail                                        131

  30. The Types of Idea                                            138

    Questions and Exercises                                        142

    References                                                     143



  31. The Association of Ideas                                     145

  32. Associative Tendencies: Material of Study                    149

  33. The Establishment of Associative Tendencies                  152

  34. The Interference and Decay of Associative Tendencies         156

  35. The Connections of Mental Processes                          159

  36. The Law of Mental Connection                                 162

  37. Practice, Habit, Fatigue                                     169

    Questions and Exercises                                        174

    References                                                     176



  38. Recognition                                                  177

  39. Direct Apprehension                                          181

  40. The Memory-idea                                              184

  41. Illusions of Recognition and Memory                          187

  42. The Pattern of Memory                                        189

  43. Mnemonics                                                    192

  44. The Idea of Imagination                                      194

  45. The Pattern of Imagination                                   197

    Questions and Exercises                                        201

    References                                                     202



  46. The Nature of Instinct                                       203

  47. The Two Sides of Instinct                                    207

  48. Determining Tendencies                                       212

  49. The Nature of Emotion                                        215

  50. The James-Lange Theory of Emotion                            218

  51. The Expression of Emotion                                    222

  52. Mood, Passion, Temperament                                   225

    Questions and Exercises                                        228

    References                                                     229



  53. The Psychology of Action                                     230

  54. The Typical Action                                           233

  55. The Reaction Experiment                                      236

  56. Sensory and Motor Reaction                                   239

  57. The Degeneration of Action: From Impulsive to Reflex         242

  58. The Development of Action: From Impulsive to Selective
      and Volitional                                               246

  59. The Compound Reaction                                        252

  60. Will, Wish, and Desire                                       255

    Questions and Exercises                                        259

    References                                                     260



  61. The Nature of Thought                                        261

  62. Imaginal Processes in Thought: The Abstract Idea             263

  63. Thought and Language                                         267

  64. Mental Attitudes                                             271

  65. The Pattern of Thought                                       275

  66. Abstraction and Generalisation                               280

  67. Comparison and Discrimination                                283

    Questions and Exercises                                        287

    References                                                     288



  68. The Nature of Sentiment                                      290

  69. The Variety of Feeling-attitude                              293

  70. The Forms of Sentiment                                       297

  71. The Situations and their Appeal                              300

  72. Mood, Passion, Temperament                                   304

    Questions and Exercises                                        305

    References                                                     306



  73. The Concept of Self                                          307

  74. The Persistence of the Self                                  312

  75. The Self in Experience                                       315

  76. The Snares of Language                                       321

  77. Consciousness and the Subconscious                           323

  78. Conclusion                                                   328

    Questions and Exercises                                        332

    References                                                     334



  79. Sleep and Dream                                              335

  80. Hypnosis                                                     341

    References                                                     349

  INDEX OF NAMES                                                   351

  INDEX OF SUBJECTS                                                353





 It is well for a man, when he seeks a clear and unbiassed opinion upon
 some certain matter, to forget many things, and to begin to look at it
 as if he knew nothing at all before.—LI HUNG CHANG

§ 1. =Common Sense and Science.=—We live in a world of values. We
have material standards of comfort, and moral standards of conduct;
and we eat and drink, and dress, and house our families, and educate
our children, and carry on our business in life, with these standards
more or less definitely before us. We approve good manners; we avoid
extravagance and display; we aim at efficiency; we try to be honest;
we should like to be cultivated. Everywhere and always our ordinary
living implies this reference to values, to better and worse, desirable
and undesirable, vulgar and refined. And that is the same thing as
saying that our ordinary living is not scientific. It is not either
unscientific, in the regular meaning of that word; it has nothing to do
with science; it is non-scientific or extra-scientific. For =science
deals, not with values, but with facts=. There is no good or bad, sick
or well, useful or useless, in science. When the results of science
are taken over into everyday life, they are transformed into values;
the telegraph becomes a business necessity, the telephone a household
convenience, the motor-car a means of recreation; the physician works
to cure, the educator to fit for citizenship, the social reformer to
correct abuses. Science itself, however, works simply to ascertain the
truth, to discover the fact. Mr. H. G. Wells complains in a recent
novel that no sick soul could find help or relief in a modern text-book
of psychology. Of course not! Psychology is the science of mind, not
the source of mental comfort or improvement. A sick soul would not go,
for that matter, to a text-book of theology; it would go to some proved
and trusted friend, or to some wise and tender book written by one who
had himself suffered. So a sick body would betake itself, not to the
physiological laboratory, but to a physician’s consulting room or to a

We live, again, in a world whose centre is ourself. This does not
necessarily mean that we are all selfish; a life may be very unselfish.
But whether we are selfish or unselfish, we live in a universe which
revolves about the Me. Our self spreads and expands, to embrace our
clothes and house and books, our family and relations, our professional
competence and connection, our political and religious beliefs; we find
ourselves in all these things, and they become a part of us. A famine
in India is a real event and takes its place in the world only if we
are made uncomfortable when we read of it, or are stirred to send in
a contribution, or suspect mismanagement somewhere and think we could
have done better. And this, once more, is the same thing as saying
that our ordinary living is not scientific. For =science, which deals
with facts, is on that account impersonal and disinterested=. Men of
science honour Darwin, because they are human beings and live, like
everyone else, in a world of values; but these same men of science are
ready at any moment to test and criticise Darwin’s work with the utmost
rigour; while any parts of the work that are solidly established pass
without name into the structure of the science to which they belong.
A text-book of chemistry is about as impersonal as anything can be,
despite the fact that every observation it describes and every law it
lays down was once somebody’s personal observation or discovery, and
so formed part of some self-centred universe. That personal interest
is irrelevant to science. It is as irrelevant to psychology as to
chemistry. The psychologist has a great deal to do with his own mind;
but that is because his own mind is the most easily accessible part of
his subject-matter; it is not in the least because the mind happens to
be his own. He does not care as psychologist—though he may care very
much as human being—whether his mind is superior and talented and
broad and cultivated or is the reverse of all these things; for in the
first place these adjectives are all adjectives of value, and he is in
search of facts; and secondly they are words of personal or individual
appraisement, and he is not concerned to praise or blame himself. Nor
is he concerned to trace the motives or judge the character of other
men. There is a common belief that the psychologist is an uncanny
person to meet, because he is always studying human nature and is able
to read thoughts. This belief belongs to the non-scientific world;
those who hold it fear that the psychologist will detect in them some
pettiness or meanness of human nature, or will lay his finger on some
unfounded enthusiasm or some unreasoned detraction that they wish to
conceal. As well might they think that the physicist whom they ask to
dinner will be occupied with the surface-tension of his soup or the
insulating properties of his mashed potato.

If we trace the history of human thought, we find that _the scientific
attitude, as we have here described it, has emerged very slowly
from that mixed medley of superstition and knowledge and belief and
practical interest for which we have no better name than_ =common
sense=. How common sense has been constituted, and how science has
gradually worked its way to an independent position,—these are
interesting questions; but it is plain that we cannot enter upon them
in a primer of one special science. Some references for further reading
will be given at the end of the chapter. Meanwhile, the important
thing is to understand clearly the aims and limitations of science.
Science aims at truth; it deals with facts, with the nature of things
given, not with values or meanings or uses; and it deals with these
materials impersonally and disinterestedly. The student of science
who fails to grasp the scientific point of view will fail also to get
the perspective of a scientific text-book; he will not see the wood
for the trees; and he will be disappointed with what science has to
offer him; he will want to know the use of all this knowledge, while
science has no regard for use. =The laws of psychology may be put to
very many uses=, in business, in education, in legal procedure, in
medicine, in the ministrations of religion; but such uses are, from
the psychologist’s point of view, by-products of his science; just as
the nautical almanac is a by-product of astronomy, or the safety-match
a by-product of chemistry, or the stamping-out of malaria a by-product
of biology. These practical results may be immensely important for
everyday life; but science, in its impersonal and disinterested search
for facts, makes no difference between one fact and another.

§ 2. =The Subject-matter of Psychology.=—Psychology is the science of
mind. What, then, is mind? Everybody knows that, you will say, just
as everybody knows what is matter. Everybody knows, yes, in terms
of common sense; but we have seen that common sense is not science.
Besides, common sense is not articulate; it cannot readily express
itself; and it is a little afraid of plain statements. Close this book,
now, and write down what _you_ take mind to be; give yourself plenty of
time; when you have finished, go over what you have written, and ask
yourself if you really know what all the words and phrases mean, if you
can define them or stand an examination on them; the exercise will be
worth while.

Open the book again! The exercise was worth while; but it was not quite
fair. For the fact is that these great comprehensive words that we all
use and all understand cannot be rigorously defined; they are too old;
they have lived through too many changes; they have gathered about them
too many conflicting associations. They pass muster in our everyday
discourse only because we take them for granted and do not scrutinise
them too closely. The expert alone can say what common sense means by
mind; and even the expert must speak in general terms, qualifying and
with reservations.

It seems, however, that the prime factor in =the common-sense notion
of mind= is the idea of activity. We ascribe to mind the same sort of
voluntary and purposeful activity that we ascribe to our fellow-men;
and we distinguish this activity from the blind necessity of cause and
effect. We find ourselves, and those about us, deliberating, intending,
resolving, planning, recalling, doubting; and we say that these and
similar activities are activities of mind. We also find ourselves,
and those about us, breathing, secreting, moving; but here we draw
distinctions. Breathing, we say, is a physical affair, though we may
hold the breath by an act of will. Secretion results from some physical
or chemical cause; only if we cry for sorrow or sweat for fear is mind
influencing body. Walking and blinking may be physical only; but if we
turn our steps by intention into a certain path, or blink on purpose to
clear our sight, the physical movements become subject to the action of

So long as we stick to examples, all this seems straightforward;
only it is not easy to decide whether mind is activity, or whether
these various activities are activities of mind. On the whole, common
sense leans to the latter view: the activities are manifestations
of mind. Mind itself is then something immaterial, lying behind the
manifestations. What sort of thing? Apparently, another human being,
=an inner man that dwells within the outer man=, an insubstantial
mannikin living inside the head. Does that sound absurd? But it did not
seem absurd just now to read that we ascribe to mind the same sort of
voluntary and purposeful activity that we ascribe to our fellow-men;
and how could we do that unless mind were something like a human being?
This inner man appears, in fact, to be the mind of common sense; the
inner man thinks, reflects, remembers, desires; he is influenced by
the outer man, becoming gloomy and morose when his host cannot digest;
and he influences the outer man, who sheds tears when his inmate is
grieved. A curious view, when we write it out and think of it in cold
logic; but a view that we should understand if we traced the growth
of common sense from its first beginnings; and a view of highly
respectable antiquity. Very ancient superstitions are connected with
the man who is seen in the eye; the Egyptian _ka_ or spirit-double is
a smaller copy of the outer man; Greek vase-paintings show the human
soul as a tiny human being; primitive thought has from time immemorial
explained, and the modern savage still explains, the life and motion of
man, or his repose in sleep and death, by the presence or absence of
the little creature normally at work within him.

Yet however natural a view like this may be, science can make nothing
of it. For one thing, it merely pushes the problem a step further back.
The inner man acts on the outer man and is acted on by him; but who or
what gives the inner man, in his turn, the power to influence and to
be influenced? We must suppose an endless nest of mannikins. That and
other such arguments apart, however, the view is non-scientific because
it offers an interpretation and not a description of mind. _The mind
with which psychology deals must be a mind that is describable in terms
of observed fact_; otherwise it cannot form the subject-matter of a
science. So we must start afresh, and ask what mind is, when mind is
looked at =from the scientific point of view=.

You will better understand the answer to this question when you have
worked through the book. The answer will then have been given in the
concrete and particular; now it can be given only in the abstract and
general. Remember that it is given, nevertheless, in terms of work done
and results obtained; it is not an answer that the psychologist makes
up beforehand, but one that he himself has been led to in the course of
his attempt to work scientifically upon mind. In brief it is this.

We find that the field of science has been surveyed from two different
standpoints. Men of science have set out, on the one hand, to describe
the world as it would be with man left out. The result is what we call
physical science. The world of physics is colourless, toneless, neither
cold nor warm; its spaces are always of the same extent, its times are
always of the same duration, its mass is invariable; it would be just
what it is now if mankind were swept from the face of the earth. For
what is light in the text-books of physics?—a train of electromagnetic
waves; and sound is a vibratory motion of air or water; and heat is a
dance of molecules; and all these things are independent of man. But
men of science have tried, on the other hand, to describe =the world
as it is in man’s experience=, as it appears with man left in; and
the result of this endeavour is psychology. The world of psychology
contains looks and tones and feels; it is the world of dark and light,
of noise and silence, of rough and smooth; its space is sometimes large
and sometimes small, as everyone knows who in adult life has gone back
to his childhood’s home; its time is sometimes short and sometimes
long; it has no invariables. It contains also the thoughts, emotions,
memories, imaginations, volitions that you naturally ascribe to mind;
it contains, that is, so much of these things as belongs to the sphere
of observable fact. It is obviously very different from the world of
physics, though both worlds alike have been opened up to us by science,
by the impersonal and disinterested search for facts.

So we have a world of matter and a world of mind. The physicist,
however, describes and measures the various phases of energy, without
assuming any material substance in the background, any matter of which
this energy is the manifestation. Matter, if the word is to be used at
all, is simply the inclusive name for all the forms of energy. And the
psychologist, in the same way, describes and measures—so far as he
is able to measure—the phenomena of his world, without assuming any
active or perduring mind in the background; for him, mind is simply
the =inclusive name of all these phenomena=. That is the first rough
answer to our question. Much more must be said, if the answer is to be
precise; but even as it is we have travelled a long way from the little
man living inside the head!

§ 3. =Mind and Body.=—The first thing to get clear about is the nature
of the _man left in_ the world, the man whose presence is necessary
for psychology and unnecessary for physics. Since we are talking
science, this man will be man as science views him, and not the man
of common sense; he will be, that is, the organism known to biology
as _homo sapiens_, and not the self-centred person whom we meet in
the everyday world of values. But the human organism owes its organic
character, the organisation of its parts into a single whole, to its
_nervous system_. All over the body and all through the body are
dotted sense-organs, which take up physical and chemical impressions
from their surroundings; these impressions are transmitted along
nerve-fibres to the brain; in the brain they are grouped, arranged,
supplemented, arrested, modified in all sorts of ways; and finally,
it may be after radical transformation in the brain, they issue along
other nerve-fibres to the muscles and glands. The nervous system thus
receives, elaborates, and emits. Moreover, there is strong evidence
to show that =the world which psychology explores= depends for its
existence upon the functioning of the nervous system; or, if we prefer
a stricter formula, that this world =is correlated with the functioning
of the nervous system=. The _man left in_ thus reduces to a nervous
system; and that is the truth of the statement, often met with in
popular scientific writing, that the brain is the organ of mind. There
is no organ of mind; that phrase is an echo of the old-world search
after the place of residence of the mannikin-mind, which was assigned
variously to heart, liver, eye, brain, blood, or was supposed somehow
to perfuse the whole body. The scientific fact is that, whenever we
come upon mental phenomena, then we also find a functional nervous
system; we know nothing of the former apart from the latter; the two
orders are thus correlated.

The fact of this correlation has been established by two principal
lines of evidence. In the first place, we find all through the animal
kingdom that _size of brain and complexity of nervous system are
matched by range and complexity of mental phenomena_. The brain of man
is, by absolute measurement, an organ of great size; it is heavier
than that of any other animal with the exception of a few of the very
largest (such as the elephant); and in these cases the superior weight
is due, not to superior development of the elaborating part of the
brain, but to the bulk of the receiving and emitting portions, which
are of a size to correspond with the bulk of the body. The brain of
man is also relatively, as compared with the weight of the whole body,
heavier than the brain of any other animal with the exception of a few
of the most highly developed small mammals (such as certain monkeys);
and in these cases again the superiority depends on the bulk of the
receiving and emitting portions of the brain, which reflect the keen
sensitivity and muscular agility of the animal. We know, on the other
side, that the mental life of man is richer than that of any other
creature. Secondly, we find that _disturbance of certain parts of the
brain indicates a certain form of mental disturbance_; and, conversely,
that particular forms of mental disturbance indicate disturbance of
particular parts of the brain. One may become blind from injury to
the brain as well as from such defect of the eye as prevents optical
impressions from reaching the brain.

These are the two lines of evidence. How, though, you may now ask, do
we know anything about the distribution of mental phenomena in the
animal kingdom? =How do we know that the lower animals live in mental
worlds?= and still more how can we say anything as to the nature of the
phenomena that make up those worlds?

Consider first _the case of your fellow-men_. You do not doubt that
they have experiences like your own; you take them for granted, accept
them instinctively as your kin, and are able—the better as you know
them better—to put yourself in their place. If, however, you had to
argue the matter with a sceptic, you would point to the facts of our
common life. Man’s family life, social life, civic life, national life,
is based on the assumption that human experience is alike for everyone,
and would be impossible if the assumption were falsified by the facts.
All these forms of life, for instance, presuppose language and laws;
and language and laws necessarily imply a community of experience.
You would point, also, to likeness of physical organisation, likeness
of sense-organs and nervous system; and you would point, lastly, to
conduct or behaviour. When you feel in a certain way, you act in a
certain way; your behaviour expresses your feeling; and when, under the
same circumstances, a creature of like organisation regularly acts in
the same way, you have a right to infer that this creature has a like

Now consider _the higher animals_. They possess a physical
organisation closely resembling that of man. They also behave in ways
that appear to express feeling. If you were familiar only with their
structure, with their sense-organs and nervous system, you would
be ready to endow them with mind; if you knew them only by their
behaviour, you would reach the same conclusion; since you may know
both, and may therefore correlate physical structure with conduct, you
are able to form a fairly accurate idea of their mental world. But
_as you go down the scale of life, difficulties arise_. The nervous
system changes its type, and presently disappears; and behaviour
becomes equivocal, so that students of behaviour dispute whether it
is still expressive or is purely mechanical. The controversy is even
carried over from the animals to the plants; there are psychologists
who seriously attribute a mental life to plants. Be that as it may,
the important point for us is that, as the nervous system simplifies,
so does all available evidence indicate that the world of mind
simplifies with it; and if mind extends further down the line of life
than the nervous system, we have merely to change the wording of our
general statement; we must expand it, and say that, throughout the
realm of life, size and complexity of the nervous system, or of that
vital mechanism which precedes the nervous system and anticipates its
functions, are matched by range and complexity of mental phenomena.

The _nature of these phenomena_ cannot be set forth with any assurance.
It is difficult enough to psychologise the life of the Australian
Arunta, who is our fellow-man, or of the dog who has been our companion
for half-a-dozen years. What shall we say of the spider, or the amœba,
or of sundew and eelgrass? All that we can do is to follow back the
history of the sense-organs, from complex to simple, comparing as we
go; and to observe how the organism behaves under given circumstances,
comparing this behaviour with that of other organisms higher and lower
in the scale, and bringing our comparison back again and again to its
final term in our own experience. We lose a great deal when we lose
the nervous system; but life, after all, is a continuous development;
and the disappearance of this special structure, though it may mean
that our statements become vaguer and less definite, need not make
our general quest hopeless. Honesty of purpose, and a passion for
knowledge, and sound scientific training will carry a man further, even
in this dark continent, than the casual enquirer would deem possible.

§ 4. =The Problem of Psychology.=—The subject-matter of psychology, as
we saw on p. 9, is the whole world as it shows itself to a scientific
scrutiny with man left in. Or, to put the same thing in another way,
psychology gives a scientific description of the whole range of human
experience correlated with the function of the human nervous system.
We have just learned, however, that there is a psychology of the lower
animals, possibly even of plants; and we must therefore say that we
were speaking in § 2 of the subject-matter of human psychology. This
is the psychology that will occupy us in the present book. Let us now
see what our actual task is. =What have we to do, in order to get a
scientific description of mind?=

We must do what everybody does who begins to describe; we must take
things piecemeal. When you are away at the seaside, and are describing
your room in a letter home, you tell of exposure and windows and
carpets and furniture and pictures; you break up the room into parts,
and list them one by one; but you do not list at haphazard; you bring
your items into such connection as will make it easy for your readers
to reconstruct the room. The man of science does the same sort of
thing; he analyses, and all the while he is analysing he has his eyes
open for relations, for putting his elements together again as they
belong. The chemist analyses water into oxygen and hydrogen, and acetic
acid into carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen; and you see at once that this
=analysis= is the first step toward a scientific description; for it
reduces the compounds to their elementary components, and it shows that
the two compounds have certain elements in common. But the chemist,
almost in the same breath, is putting together again. The ordinary
formulas for water and acetic acid, H_{2}O and C_{2}H_{4}O_{2},
indicate that; for they show the number of atoms of the various
elements that are held in the compound. Chemistry also has graphic
formulas, of a kind that look complicated to the outsider but that
are really more instructive than the others,—formulas which show in
what manner, under what laws, the atoms are bound together. Any good
encyclopædia will give you samples.

The psychologist, now, stands before a like problem. The mental world,
no less than the material, comes to us in the gross; mental phenomena
are complex, often highly complex; we must reduce them to their
elements, we must keep analysing till we can analyse no further, if
we are to describe them in a scientific way. And here too =synthesis=
goes hand in hand with analysis. Psychology, to be sure, does not
write graphic formulas; but psychology has to show how its elements go
together, to discover the laws of their connection; we shall find that
tones and colours go together in very different ways. All the while
that we are tearing a bit of our world apart, and finding its elements,
we are trying to put those elements back again in their places and to
reconstruct the original experience.

Synthesis, unfortunately, is often very difficult; and you must notice
that a _failure to reconstruct does not necessarily mean that the
preceding analysis was wrong_. A chemist may analyse a given substance
into a certain number of elements, each one represented by a certain
number of atoms; yet if he puts these elements together again, in the
right proportions, he may—perhaps because he is now working at a
different temperature—come out with another substance of different
properties. His analysis was not therefore wrong; but his attempt at
synthesis is a failure because he has not taken account of all the
relevant circumstances. It may happen similarly in psychology that we
do not know all the relevant circumstances; or it may happen that we
know them but cannot control them; in such cases we cannot reconstruct.
The only thing to do is then to make analysis its own test; we analyse
again and again; and if the result is always the same, we are satisfied
to let it stand. Children who do not know how to prove an example in
arithmetic follow the same plan; if they get the same answer several
times over, and if their schoolmate gets that answer too, they are
satisfied; and when the work has been honestly done, the agreement is
pretty good evidence that they are right.

Notice one other point: that if you sit down to describe, there
is simply no escape from analysis. _To begin a description is to
be analysing._ Well-meaning people sometimes shake their heads at
scientific psychology; all this dissecting work, they say, misses the
real issue; it kills mind; it destroys the living, breathing reality
of experience, and offers in its place a catalogue of dead facts. The
mannikin again! Of course, if mind is a little man inside you, you must
kill him to dissect him,—though he nevertheless crops up again, alive
and well, after the autopsy. The mannikin, as we have seen, cannot
face cold logic. No, the task of science is to describe; if you are to
describe you must analyse; and the results are every bit as real as the
unanalysed experience. Dead facts? But a fact is the most live thing
possible; it will survive any number of theories, and will still give
birth to more.

Lastly, since mental phenomena are =correlated with the function of
the nervous system=, the psychologist’s task is not complete until he
has acquainted himself with the physiology of that system, and has
worked out the correlation as accurately as is possible. Here, again,
is something that you will better understand when you have read further
in the book. For the present we will notice two points. First, the
psychologist can gain access to a large part of his world only by way
of the organs of sense; and it is therefore important that he know
the structure and functions of these organs and their relation to the
brain. Secondly, a train of mental phenomena may be guided and directed
by events, occurring within the nervous system, which themselves have
no counterpart in the world of mind; for, while all mental phenomena
are correlated with processes in the nervous system, not all processes
in the nervous system have mental phenomena to correspond with them.
Unless, then, the psychologist knows the nature of these guiding
events, he will be like the chemist who failed to take account of
temperature; he will lack knowledge of relevant circumstances. Special
books upon the nervous system have been written, giving in outline what
the student of psychology needs to know; some of them are referred
to at the end of the chapter; but it is an advantage to have taken a
practical course in the physiology of the nervous system, and to be
able to think in terms of neural processes. If you have had no such
opportunity you can still learn a good deal from diagrams and verbal
accounts; and you may find comfort in the assurance that there have
been eminent psychologists who knew very little about the brain.

In fine, then, the problem of human psychology is threefold: to analyse
mental phenomena into their elements, to discover the laws of mental
connection, and to work out in detail and under all its phases the
correlation of mind with nervous system.

§ 5. =The Method of Psychology.=—Having learned what we have to do,
let us ask what method we are to follow in doing it. So far as the
nervous system is concerned, it is evident that the psychologist must
take his cue from the physiologist; indeed, this part of his problem
makes him, for the time being, a physiologist, only that his real
interest remains centred in mind. But how is it when he is attacking
the other parts of the problem? Is there a special psychological
method, a peculiar way of working, that he must adopt in his study of
mental phenomena? The answer is No: his =method is that of science in

This method may be summed up in a single word as =observation=. All
scientific description, all description that reflects a disinterested
and impersonal search for fact, is got by way of observation. And
observation implies three things: a certain attitude towards phenomena,
a vivid experience of the particular phenomenon which is the object of
observation, and an adequate report of this experience in words. The
relation of these three things will be clear if we write a formula for
observation, thus:

  psychological (vivid experience → full report).

The adjective outside the bracket shows that we take up a psychological
attitude to the world; in other words, that the world which we are
exploring is (to use our catch-phrase again) the world with _man left
in_. The adjective applies to the whole contents of the bracket; the
experience which we are to have is mental experience, and our account
of it is to be couched in psychological language. We are, then, ready
for the experience; it comes, and we give it our best attention;
we then express it in words; and we try to express it fully and
adequately, in the words that it itself points to and requires. When
the account has been written down, and so made available for other
students, we have completed a psychological observation. When a number
of such observations have been taken, we have the materials for a
scientific description.

_Observation is by no means easy_; “there is not one person in a
hundred,” said Huxley, “who can describe the commonest occurrence with
even an approach to accuracy.” The reasons are partly of a technical
nature; the use of scientific method is a bit of skilled labour, and
skilled labour presupposes training; at first we are likely to be
careless and clumsy; we do not see the need of scrupulous care, just
because we do not know exactly what it is that we are doing. The great
reason lies, however, in that difference between science and common
sense to which we have already adverted; common sense interprets,
and science describes. Malobservation is due, in the great majority
of cases, to the ingrained tendency of the onlooker to interpret, to
explain, what he observes. How many educated men and women to-day
believe that the full moon dissipates the clouds? and how many more
believe that changes of the moon coincide in some way with changes of
the weather?

These remarks apply very definitely to psychology. _The psychological
observer needs technical training, first and foremost, because
mental phenomena never stand still to be observed_; mind is always
in course, always going on; he must learn either to take rapid notes
as the experience is passing, while he still remains alert to the
new phases as they come, or he must register the experience phase
by phase in memory, and reproduce it in words after it has passed.
Nothing could well be more misleading, as a name for mental phenomena,
than the familiar phrase ‘states of consciousness’; for a state is
something relatively stable and permanent. Mental experiences are
moving, proceeding, ongoing experiences; we might make up one of
Lewis Carroll’s portmanteau-words, and say that their essence is a
processence. We shall henceforth speak of them as =mental processes=;
only remember that they are not processes of something or in something,
like the processes of decomposition and fermentation; they are
experiences whose very nature is a proceeding, a course in time.

Secondly, _the psychological observer is badly handicapped by common
sense_, which has long drawn a distinction between the method of
psychology and the method of physics. Psychology is supposed to look
within, to turn its eyes inward; physics is supposed to look out upon
the objective world, and to keep its eyes in their normal position. The
method of psychology is then an introspection or self-contemplation, a
looking-in; and the method of the physical sciences is an inspection, a
looking-at. The self which is thus introspected is, of course, judged
and valued and approved and blamed; we know the ear-marks of common
sense. So we find that the hero of yesterday’s novel “was not given
to introspection. His external interests in life were too engrossing
for him to think deeply or continuously about himself. Such a habit
of mind he used vehemently to deprecate as morbid, egotistical. But
now”—now the fateful girl is on the scene; the hero begins to think
about himself; and flatters himself, poor man, that he is turning

Unfortunately, neither a keen appreciation of his own virtue nor a
rooted distrust of his own powers makes a man into a psychologist.
Science turns its back upon the world of values. If, then, we are to
keep the word _introspection_ for the method of psychology, we must
write the equations:

  introspection = psychological (vivid experience → full report)
  inspection    = physical (vivid experience → full report)

where the adjectives outside the brackets mean simply what we have
already stated them to mean. When once the initial attitude has been
taken, and the world to be explored has thus been determined, the
methods are the same. The beginner in psychology will however find,
again and again, that his common-sense self stands in the way of
disinterested observation; and as the word introspection contains a
reference to this self, he may prefer to drop it altogether.

So much for observation in general! When we come to particulars, we
find that science, wherever possible, has recourse to =experiment=.
This does not mean that science renounces observation. For an
experiment, if we push our definition back to fundamentals, is simply
_an observation that may be repeated, that may be isolated, and that
may be varied_. See the advantages! Repetition gives us plenty of time
for observation; we need not mind overlooking something now, since we
shall have the opportunity of picking it up later; and we can go on,
observing and observing, until our description of the phenomenon is as
complete as it can be made. Isolation makes our task easier; disturbing
influences are ruled out; our attention is not distracted; we can give
ourselves wholly to the matter in hand. Variation—the substituting of
one factor for another in successive observations, or the emphasising
in one observation of a factor that was obscure in another—helps us to
clear up doubtful points; to distinguish what is universal from what
is only accidental in the phenomenon we are observing; and to bring
this phenomenon into relation with kindred phenomena. _Repetition saves
hurry and worry; isolation prevents distraction; variation keeps us
from jumping at conclusions._ These are the advantages of experiment;
and all experiments, in physics, in chemistry, in biology, everywhere,
fall under this definition.

Psychology needs the experimental method for both the reasons noted
above: because the observed phenomena are elusive and slippery
processes, and because the observer is warped and biassed by common
sense. We may therefore show by an example _how psychological
experiment is possible_. Suppose that we wish to find out how a printed
word is perceived,—whether we read it letter by letter, or take in its
form as a whole, or take in certain letters clearly and the general
form vaguely. We first prepare our material. We print upon cards, or
photograph upon lantern slides, a large number of words. We employ
different printing types; different groups of letters; different
lengths of words; single words and groups of words; words properly
spelled, and words altered by mutilation or omission of particular
letters at different parts of the word. Every one of these classes of
stimuli, as the words may be technically called, is represented by a
number of cards or slides. The stimuli are mixed in haphazard order,
and are thrown upon the screen by a reflectoscope or projection lantern
in an otherwise dark room; a pneumatic shutter before the lantern
makes it possible to show them for a brief time, say, a fifth of a
second. All this apparatus is put in the charge of an experimenter.
When the material is ready, and the whole arrangement works properly,
an observer is called in. He works for a limited time, at the same
hour every day, and only after a certain time has been allowed for his
eyes to accustom themselves to the dark. The stimuli are presented at
regular intervals. The observer reports what he perceives at every
exposure of a stimulus, and the experimenter writes down what he says.

It is plain, now, that these observations may be repeated. For one
thing, there is a group of like cards in every class; and for another
thing, the observer himself (since he works every day at the same
time and under the same circumstances) is a fairly constant quantity.
Besides, the observations may also be made by other observers, in
other laboratories, under precisely the same circumstances; they may
be repeated in just the same sense that a physical observation may be
repeated. Secondly, the observations are isolated; they are made in
a dark and quiet room, free from outside disturbance. No doubt, the
observer’s thoughts may wander in the intervals between observations.
For this reason, the experimenter gives a preconcerted signal, or calls
out _Now_, a second or two before a word is shown; this signal warns
the observer to pull himself together and to free himself from any
such distractions. Thirdly, the observations are varied; for we employ
all sorts of words, both normally printed and variously changed; and
the stimuli may be presented for various lengths of time. Here, then,
is a true psychological experiment; and if many observers, after many
observations, give the same account of their perceptive experience,
that account may stand as established psychological fact.

Not all mental phenomena can be subjected to experiment so neatly
as this particular perception; and the psychologist must still fall
back, more often than he likes, upon casual observation or imperfect
experiments. The reason is that _psychology has only recently become an
experimental science_. Common-sense psychology is very old: we have a
complete treatise in Greek from the hand of Aristotle, and a text-book
in Pali compiled by some Buddhist sage, both dating from the fourth
century B.C. But while it is in the sixteenth century of our era that
the physicist abandons scholastic speculation and begins to study
nature by experiment, it is not till the last quarter of the nineteenth
that the psychologist follows suit. In or about the year 1875 the late
Professor James, then instructor in anatomy and physiology at Harvard,
had a single room devoted to psychological apparatus and experiments;
and in 1879 Professor Wundt opened at the University of Leipsic, in a
very modest way, the laboratory which has since become the most famous
in the world. It is true that experiments in psychology had been made
by individuals long before laboratories were thought of; but the same
thing is true of physics and chemistry; and we may remember, when we
come to the weak places of psychological exposition, that laboratory
research and instruction are not yet fifty years old.

§ 6. =Process and Meaning.=—Science, we said on p. 4, does not deal
with values or meanings or uses, but only with facts; and we have just
seen how words, which in everyday life are practically all meaning, may
be made the objects of psychological experiment. Still, in their case,
after all, we were simply ignoring meaning; so far as the observer was
able to read words at all from the stimuli flashed on the screen, he
read words which had a meaning, and a meaning that the experimenter
might have discovered if he had been interested in it. We have not
offered any evidence that =mental processes are not intrinsically
meaningful=, that meaning is not an essential aspect of their nature;
we have just assumed that they may be treated, scientifically, as bare
facts. Let us now see whether meaning is essential to them or not.
There are several heads of evidence.

First, _meaning may be stripped from the mental process_ to which it
normally belongs. Repeat aloud some word—the first that occurs to you;
_house_, for instance—over and over again; presently the sound of
the word becomes meaningless and blank; you are puzzled and a morsel
frightened as you hear it. The same loss of meaning is observed in
pathological cases; there are patients who can hear and see words as
plainly as you can, but who are unable to understand what they hear and
see; the bare perception is there, but it is bereft of its meaning.

Secondly, a _meaningless experience may take on a meaning_. A friend
shows you a card, upon which is scrawled a tangle of lines; you cannot
make head or tail of it. He tells you to look at the back; you see
the date there written; you think at once of a great earthquake; you
realise that the scrawl is a seismographic record. Meaning has thus
been attached or added to a bare perception. Similarly, in learning
a new script or a new language, you attach meaning to what was at
first meaningless. The first experiments in the teaching of the blind
deaf-mute Laura Bridgman “were made by pasting upon several common
articles, such as keys, spoon, knives, and the like, little paper
labels on which the name of the article had been printed in raised
letters.” These meaningless feels, as they were at the outset, came
presently to mean the objects with which the teacher had connected them.

Thirdly, _an experience and its meaning may be disjoined in time_. We
often ask, in conversation, to have a remark repeated; we have heard
without understanding; but before the speaker has time to repeat, we
ourselves begin to reply; the meaning has come, but comes after an
appreciable interval. So we may have to wait a little while before
we can recall the meaning of some foreign word that nevertheless,
as we say, we know perfectly well. This disjunction is also found in
pathological cases. A patient “with slight stupor could not answer
questions except very slowly. She was constantly saying: ‘I see
everything, but I don’t know anything.’ It took her five minutes to
tell the time when she was shown a clock.”

Here the experience comes first, and the meaning follows after.
This order may, however, be reversed. You want to know the German
of the proverb ‘Out of the frying pan into the fire’; you have the
meaning, but you cannot think of the words; and presently the words
leap to mind, _aus dem Regen in die Traufe_, out of the rain into the
roof-drip. Or you know what you want to say, but you cannot get this
meaning into words. An author who is very definitely aware of the
meaning he wishes to convey to his reader may nevertheless have to
write a paragraph ten or twenty times over before the sight and sound
of his own words give back that meaning to himself. Or again, you may
anticipate, in listening to a lecture, the meaning of what the lecturer
is going to say, and yet you may be surprised at the words which he
actually uses.

Fourthly, _one and the same experience may have several meanings_.
Any dictionary is a proof of that! A lecturer may demonstrate the
fact to a class by drawing on the blackboard, line by line, the
figure of some such thing as, for instance, a desk-telephone. As the
drawing proceeds, the lines may mean a pump, or a student lamp, or an
electric portable, or a railway semaphore, or a jack, or various other
things. In this case, to be sure, a single meaning is given when the
drawing is complete; but there are plenty of experiences—a bit of bad
handwriting, a distant object, an obscure patch in a painting—that
leave us permanently unable to decide among several meanings. How often
do we worry over a chance remark: it seemed to mean this, but could it
have meant that, or is it possible that it really meant the other?

Fifthly, _one and the same meaning may attach to several experiences_.
You walk into a room, and there see a table; you go into the same room
in the dark and hurt yourself, and you complain that you ran against
the table; you hear a noise overhead, and wish that the maid would
not drag that table about. Here the meaning of a particular table is
carried by three modes of perceptive experience. In certain forms of
mental disorder one obsessing meaning colours all the experiences of
the daily life. The patient “scents poison and treachery on all sides.
He has slowly convinced himself by numerous tests in little things
that he is no longer liked. The workmen are refractory and disobedient
with him more than with anyone else. His chiefs and his fellows play
malicious tricks upon him. His food tastes differently, and does not
agree with him. When he goes to another town, it is plain that his
enemies have anticipated him by writing letters to his injury.” Every
experience that this man has means persecution.

Sixthly, _meaning and mental process are not covariants_. Richness
and fullness of experience do not necessarily correspond with wealth
of meaning; you may, in fact, be bewildered, and fail to find a
meaning just because there is so much material to take in; your first
hearing of a Wagner opera gave you, probably, more sound than sense.
Conversely, poverty of experience does not necessarily mean loss or
reduction of meaning; if that were the case, we could not pack so much
meaning into such little things as words.

All this evidence would be greatly strengthened if we went beyond the
limits of individual experience, and compared man with man, profession
with profession, race with race, age with age. What is meaningless to
me might be full of meaning to you; the same landscape yields different
meanings to the geologist and the farmer; a protruded tongue means
insult here, but politeness in Thibet; the art of the telegrapher
would have spelled black magic a few centuries ago. Enough has perhaps
been said to give plausibility, at any rate, to the statement that
=mental processes do not intrinsically mean=, that meaning is not a
constituent part of their nature; and that may suffice for the present;
we shall come back again to meaning later. Value and use need hardly be
discussed; they are, far more clearly than meaning, additional to (and
detachable from) experience. If, however, the reader thinks that the
point should be worked out in their case also, he may put them through
the same sort of examination as that to which we have just subjected
meaning; evidence will at once be forthcoming.

§ 7. =The Scope of Psychology.=—Science, like the Elephant’s Child in
the story, is full of an insatiable curiosity. Just as the physicist
reaches out, analysing and measuring, to the farthest limits of the
stellar universe, so does the psychologist seek to explore every nook
and corner of the world of mind; nay more, he will follow after a mere
suspicion of mind; we have seen him trying to psychologise the plants.
The result is a vast number of books and monographs and articles on
psychology, written by men and women of very different interests,
knowledge and training; for science does not advance on an ordered
front, but still depends largely on individual initiative. A high
authority on the Middle Ages has said that one mortal life would hardly
suffice for the reading of a moderate part of mediæval Latin; and
the psychologist must recognise, whether with pride or with despair,
that one life-time is hardly enough for the mastery of even a single
limited field of psychology. The student has to get clear on general
principles, and then to resign himself to work intensively upon some
special aspect of the subject-matter,—keeping as closely as he may in
touch with his fellow-workers, and aiming to see his own labours in a
just perspective, but realising that psychology as a whole is beyond
his individual compass.

Does that sound exaggerated? Let us then attempt a rough
classification! We begin with the =psychology of the normal mind=.
Under this heading we have to distinguish (1) _human_ psychology. Human
psychology may be _general_, the psychology of the adult civilised
man, which forms the principal topic of the text-books of psychology;
_special_, the psychology of the human mind at some other stage of
individual development: infancy, childhood, adolescence, senility;
_differential_, the study of the differences between individual minds;
or _genetic_, the study of the development of mind from childhood to
manhood, and its gradual decay in old age. (2) _Animal_ psychology may
be subdivided, in the same way, into general, special, differential
and genetic psychology. (3) _Plant_ psychology is still in its first
beginnings; but many students are taking the subject seriously. (4)
_Comparative_ psychology is the comparative study, either of various
types of animal mind, or of the minds of plants, animals and man. It,
again, may be general, special or genetic.

All these psychologies deal with the _individual_ mind. There is also
a _collective_ psychology; and, though its divisions are not yet
sharply marked off from one another, we may distinguish (5) _social_
psychology, which includes the study of what is called the social
consciousness, and also the scientific study of the products of the
collective mind: language, law and custom, myth and religion; (6)
_ethnic_ psychology, the differential psychology of nations or races;
and (7) _class_ psychology, the differential psychology of classes or

Turn now to the =psychology of the abnormal mind=. Here we find,
under the heading of _individual_ psychology, (8) the psychology of
_deficient and exceptional minds_; of blind deaf-mutism, of genius,
of the subnormal and the supernormal child; (9) the psychology
of _temporary mental derangement_; of dream, of hypnosis, of
intoxications, of occasional hallucination and illusion; and (10) the
psychology of _permanent mental disorder_, of the chronic derangements
of insanity. We may also study (11) the psychology of _temporary
derangement_ of the _collective_ mind, that is, of the manias or mental
epidemics that sometimes sweep society: the mediæval dance-manias,
unmotived panics, outbursts of superstition, of religious persecution.

If we proceed further, from psychology proper to =psychotechnics=, or
to what is ordinarily termed applied psychology, we have the great
departments of (12) _educational_ psychology, (13) _medical_ psychology
or psychotherapeutics, (14) _juristic_ psychology, or the psychology of
evidence and testimony, and (15) _economic_ psychology, which includes
such things as vocational psychology and the psychology of advertising.

You need not ascribe any special importance to this classification;
still less need you memorise it. The various topics might very likely
be better arranged, and the list is by no means complete. Realise,
however, that every term in the list has its text-books and treatises,
its manuals and monographs, and very likely its magazine or magazines;
realise again that, although the emphasis varies in the different
countries, the list might be filled out not alone in English, but in
all the chief European tongues; and remember, lastly, that some of the
headings have a very long history, and a correspondingly long series of
printed works over and above those that represent current knowledge.
You then get a glimmering of =the range and scope of psychology=. It
is true, of course, that much of what has been printed is out of date,
or inaccurate, or superficial, or prejudiced, and for these or like
reasons may safely be scrapped. Yet it all has to be sifted.

_The mere bulk of psychological material would be less formidable if
every writer adopted the same principles and wrote from the same point
of view; but that is hardly to be expected._ Psychology has always been
exposed to the infection of common sense; it has only recently turned
to scientific methods; and when the time came for it to take its place
among the sciences, there was naturally difference of opinion regarding
the standpoint it should assume, the procedure it should follow, the
model it should seek to copy. Where such differences of opinion obtain,
the best way to begin your study is to =master one system thoroughly=;
your ideas are thus made consistent and your knowledge receives an
orderly arrangement; then, as you read further, you can use this
system as a touch-stone whereby to test new ideas and to arrange new
knowledge; and if the new ideas seem preferable to the old, or if the
old framework breaks down under the new knowledge, you can alter your
own system accordingly. If you begin, on the contrary, by studying a
number of works abreast, you are liable to become confused. And it
is better to be wrong than to be muddled; for truth, as Bacon said,
emerges more quickly from error than from confusion.

§ 8. =A Personal Word to the Reader.=—These introductory sections are
not easy. The only way to make them easy would be, as an Irishman might
say, to leave the difficult things out; but then you would come to the
later chapters, where we study mental phenomena in the concrete, with
all sorts of prepossessions and misunderstandings; psychology would be
one long difficulty instead of being, as it henceforth ought to be, a
bit of straight sailing.

So you must face the initial difficulty and overcome it. Indeed, =you
must do more than merely understand=. The author’s undergraduates
who break down in a preliminary examination always explain that they
followed the lectures perfectly, and thought they understood the
text-book, but that they were somehow unable to put things properly in
their own words. The author’s small daughter who comes home with an
elaborate example in compound interest explains, in the same manner,
that she thoroughly understood the rule when She explained it, but that
she can’t now see just how to go to work for herself. It may be that
these excuses are not wholly reliable; they bear, at any rate, upon the
present point. You must not only understand what you read as you read
it; you must exercise your thought upon what you have read; you must
be able to explain the paragraphs, in your own words, to others; you
must find instances and illustrations for yourself; you must make the
substance of the paragraphs a part of your habitual mental furniture;
you must note how the old ways of thinking crop up to mislead you, and
must correct and criticise the natural man. In a word, just as you
practise your way into a language by reading, translating, writing,
speaking; or just as you practise your way into algebra by doing
exercise after exercise until the rule seems to be part of you and
applies itself of its own accord; so must you =keep practising your
psychology= until it becomes instinctive. You will gain some help by
answering the appended questions; but after the book has done all that
it can for you, the real induction into psychology remains to do for

Some of the questions are concerned with forms of expression; and you
should take these very seriously, since _language will be one of your
greatest stumbling-blocks_. Language is older than science, and has
developed under pressure of practical needs. Hence the phrases that
come most naturally to your lips may embody a view of the world, or an
attitude toward experience, that is totally foreign to the scientific
context. If a visitor from Mars heard us all talking about the sunset,
what would he think of our knowledge of the heavenly bodies? Yet we
cannot escape from language; and if Newton could express his ideas in
Latin, we ought to be able to express ours in English. It is a good
plan, at the start, to have your technical definitions always at hand,
and to try the effect of substituting these definitions for the words
that you have been using; if the resulting clumsiness makes sense, you
may let your first expressions pass; but if not, you should try again.

You will notice, as you read on in the book, that back references
become numerous. Be advised to look these references up! They send
you, in every case, to a particular page, so that their finding is
easy, and you can refresh your memory without any great loss of time;
though, for that matter, it will do no harm to glance over the section
in which they occur. If you, on your part, want to refer to some past
discussion, consult the index; it has been made fairly full, and is
meant to be used.

Questions and Exercises

Many of the books to which you will be referred, now and later, have
appeared in numerous editions, library and popular, English and
American. The references are made so complete that you will easily find
the corresponding passages in editions other than those used by the

(1) Discuss the following definitions of science. If you have access to
the books, read the passages in which the definitions occur; if not, do
the best you can with your present knowledge. Try to see a reason even
for the definitions that you cannot accept.

(_a_) Science is perfected common sense (Huxley). The definition
accords with the view of Spencer that science and ordinary knowledge
are allied in nature, and that the one is but a perfected and extended
form of the other. What is there in the common interests of these
two men, or in the period in which they lived, to account for such a

(_b_) Reduced to its lowest terms, science is the observation of
phenomena and the colligation of the results of observation into groups

(_c_) When may any subject be said to enter the scientific stage?
I suppose when the facts of it begin to resolve themselves into
groups; when phenomena are no longer isolated experiences, but appear
in connection and order; when, after certain antecedents, certain
consequents are uniformly seen to follow; when facts enough have been
collected to furnish a basis for conjectural explanation, and when
conjectures have so far ceased to be utterly vague, that it is possible
in some degree to foresee the future by the help of them (Froude).

(_d_) Mechanics is the science of motion; and its problem is to
describe the motions that occur in nature _completely_ and _in the
simplest way_ (Kirchhoff). Can this definition of mechanics be
generalised, so that it applies to science at large?

 T. H. Huxley, Science Primers: Introductory, 1880, 18 f.; H. Spencer,
 The Genesis of Science, in Essays, ii., 1891, 8; A. Hill, Introduction
 to Science, 1900, 3; J. A. Froude, The Science of History, in Short
 Studies on Great Subjects, First Series, i., 1901, 13 f.; G. R.
 Kirchhoff, Vorlesungen über mathematische Physik: Mechanik, 1883, 1.

(2) Helmholtz tells us that whoever, in the pursuit of science, seeks
after immediately practical utility, may generally rest assured that he
will seek in vain; and Clifford asserts that the most useful parts of
science have been investigated for the sake of truth, and not for their
usefulness. Yet Pearson holds that one of the claims of science to our
support is the increased comfort that it adds to practical life. How do
you reconcile these statements?

 H. von Helmholtz, On the Relation of Natural Science to General
 Science, in Popular Lectures on Scientific Subjects, i., 1904, 25;
 W. K. Clifford, On Some of the Conditions of Mental Development,
 in Lectures and Essays, i., 1879, 104; K. Pearson, The Grammar of
 Science, ch. i., 1900, 29 f., 37.

(3) Discuss the following definitions of psychology:

(_a_) The science which describes and explains the phenomena of
consciousness, as such (Ladd).

(_b_) The science of behaviour (Pillsbury).

(_c_) The science of individual experience (Ward).

(_d_) The positive science of mental process (Stout).

 G. T. Ladd, Psychology, Descriptive and Explanatory, 1894, 1; W. B.
 Pillsbury, The Essentials of Psychology, 1911, 5; J. Ward, Psychology,
 in Encyclopædia Britannica, xxii., 1911, 548; G. F. Stout, Analytic
 Psychology, i., 1896, 1.

(4) Can you bring the following series of statements into relation,
and show that they illustrate natural (even necessary) stages in the
history of human thought? (Note the phrasing in every case!)

(_a_) The savage thinker seems to have taken for granted, as a matter
of course, the ordinary operations of his own mind. It hardly occurred
to him to think about the machinery of thinking (Tylor).

(_b_) The modern mind is, what the ancient mind was not, brooding and
self-conscious; and its meditative self-consciousness has discovered
depths in the human soul which the Greeks and Romans did not dream of,
and would not have understood (Mill).

(_c_) When to save his own soul became man’s first business, he must
needs know that soul, must study, must examine it. Prescribed as a
duty, introspection became at once a main characteristic of religious
life (Burr).

(_d_) There is nothing more interesting to the ordinary individual than
the workings of his own mind. This interest alone would justify the
existence of the science [of psychology] (Pillsbury).

(_e_) If we could say in English ‘it thinks’, as we say ‘it rains’ or
‘it blows’, we should be stating the fact most simply and with the
minimum of assumption (James).

 E. B. Tylor, Animism, in Primitive Culture, i., 1891, 497; W. Knight,
 Rectorial Addresses delivered at the University of St. Andrews,
 1863-1893; J. S. Mill, 1894, 38; A. R. Burr, Religious Confession and
 Confessants, 1914, 86; W. B. Pillsbury, _op. cit._, 5; W. James, The
 Principles of Psychology, i., 1890, 224 f.

(5) What is the earliest notion of your own mind that you can recall?

(6) Four newspapers describe the same gown as gold brocade, white silk,
light mauve, and sea-green with cream or ivory sheen on it. How could
this difference of report have arisen?

(7) Newton is said to have discovered the law of gravitation by
observing the fall of an apple from a bough. Was this a simple
observation, or could it be said to have anything of the experiment
about it?

(8) What are the characteristics of a good observer? of a good

(9) The older psychologies speak, in technical terms, not of mental
processes but of powers, faculties, capacities of the mind. What view
of mind do these expressions imply?

(10) Rousseau remarked that definitions would be all very well if we
did not use words to make them; _les définitions pourraient être bonnes
si l’on n’employait pas des mots pour les faire_ (Œuvres complètes de
J. J. Rousseau: Émile, tome i., 1823, livre ii., 160). Illustrate this
remark by reference to psychology.

(11) Try to describe your experience on some occasion which leads you
to say: (_a_) I have made up my mind; (_b_) I have half a mind to do
so-and-so; (_c_) That puts me in mind of so-and-so. Try to get down to
the bare facts; it will be difficult; but try again and again, and do
not be satisfied to report meanings.

(12) Describe your fountain-pen from the points of view of common
sense, of physics, and of psychology. Do not attempt too much detail,
but get the differences in point of view clearly on paper.

References for Further Reading

§ 1. Some general references have already been given; add W. Whewell,
History of the Inductive Sciences, 3d ed., 1857. The book is out of
date, but still useful. For science in the Middle Ages, see H. O.
Taylor, The Mediæval Mind, 2d ed., 1914 (references in index). For
the genesis of science, consult Tylor, as cited above; J. G. Frazer,
Balder the Beautiful, 1913, 304 ff.; all the volumes of The Golden
Bough are instructive. For an object-lesson in scientific thinking
take H. Spencer, The Study of Sociology, 9th ed., 1880 (also no. 5 of
International Scientific Series).

§ 2. Tylor, as above; J. G. Frazer, Taboo and the Perils of the Soul,
1911, 26 ff.; E. B. Titchener, Psychology: Science or Technology? in
Popular Science Monthly, lxxxiv., 1914, 39 ff.; J. Ward, Psychology, in
Encyclopædia Britannica, xxii., 1911, 547 f.

§ 3. W. McDougall, Physiological Psychology, 1905; W. Wundt, Principles
of Physiological Psychology, i., 1904, 1 ff., 27 ff., 280 ff.; R. M.
Yerkes, Animal Psychology and Criteria of the Psychic, in Journal of
Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Methods, ii., 1905, 141 ff.; M.
F. Washburn, The Animal Mind, 1908; A. W. Yerkes, Mind in Plants, in
The Atlantic Monthly, Novr. 1914, 634 ff.; J. B. Watson, Behaviour, An
Introduction to Comparative Psychology, 1914.

§ 4. O. Kuelpe, Introduction to Philosophy, 1897, 55 ff.; Wundt, as
above; G. T. Ladd and R. S. Woodworth, Elements of Physiological
Psychology, 1911; E. W. Fiske, An Elementary Study of the Brain, 1913;
K. Dunlap, An Outline of Psychobiology, 1914.

§ 5. W. S. Jevons, The Principles of Science, 1900, bk. iv., chs.
xviii., xix.; E. B. Titchener, Prolegomena to a Study of Introspection,
in American Journal of Psychology, xxiii., 1912, 427 ff.; O. Kuelpe,
Outlines of Psychology, 1909, § 2; W. A. Hammond, Aristotle’s
Psychology, 1902; C. A. F. Rhys Davids, A Buddhist Manual of
Psychological Ethics, 1900.

§ 6. M. Howe and F. H. Hall, Laura Bridgman, 1903, 49 f.; G. Stoerring,
Mental Pathology in its Relation to Normal Psychology, 1907 (the
quotations from this work are sometimes condensed in the text); S. I.
Franz, Handbook of Mental Examination Methods, 1912, 68, 80.

§ 7. Add, as typical, to works already cited: W. Preyer, The Mind of
the Child, 1888-9 (human special); J. M. Baldwin, Mental Development
in the Child and the Race, 1906 (human genetic); _id._, Social and
Ethical Interpretations in Mental Development, 1906 (social); G. Le
Bon, The Psychology of Peoples, 1898 (ethnic); A. Moll, Hypnotism,
1891 (derangement); G. Le Bon, The Crowd, 1910; J. Jastrow, Fact and
Fable in Psychology, 1900 (collective derangement); E. L. Thorndike,
The Principles of Teaching Based on Psychology, 1906; H. Münsterberg,
Psychology, General and Applied, 1914. For the history of psychology,
see O. Klemm, A History of Psychology, 1914; M. Dessoir, Outlines of
the History of Psychology, 1912.



 Now that these points have been determined, let us proceed to a
 general discussion of the whole subject of Sensation.—ARISTOTLE

§ 9. =Sensations from the Skin.=—The skin is part of our organic
birthright. One of the great differences between the living and the
not-living lies in the possession of a skin; stone and iron weather and
rust, but even the naked amœba has its ectosarc, and flowers of tan
their plasmoderm. The skin is also the oldest of the sense-organs, and
the mother of all the rest; how old, we dare hardly guess; but we know
that the chemical elements which make up living tissue took form early
in the history of our planet, earlier than the heavy metals. So it is
natural to begin our survey of sensations by questioning the skin.

The skin is a shifty witness; and to get positive answers, we must
literally cross-examine it; we must go over its surface point by
point and line by line, with all sorts of mechanical and thermal and
electrical and chemical stimuli. The outcome is a little surprising;
we find only =four sensations, pressure, cold, warmth and pain=. The
organs of these sensations are dotted in a sort of irregular mosaic
all over the skin, and the intervening spaces are insensitive. The
organs of pressure, distributed over about 95% of the bodily surface,
are nerve-skeins twined about the roots of the hairs; on the hairless
areas of the body, we find the nerve-skein by itself. The organ of pain
is probably a little brush-like bunch of nerve-fibrils just below the
epidermis. The organs of warmth and cold are certainly distinct; the
sensations are not degrees of one sensation, as the thermometer might
lead us to suppose; but the precise nature of their nerve-endings has
not yet been made out.

You may easily find pressure spots by fastening a short horsehair with
sealing-wax at right angles to the end of a match, and applying the
horsehair point to the back of the hand above a hair-bulb, that is,
just to windward of the issuing hair; dot the horsehair about, here
and there, till the sensation flashes up. You may find cold spots by
passing the blunt point of a lead pencil slowly across the closed
eyelid. Warm spots are more difficult to demonstrate. For pain, take
the shaft of a pin loosely between finger and thumb of the right hand,
and bring the point down sharply on the back of the left hand; you get
two sensations; the first is a pressure, the second—which pricks or
stings—is a pain.

As a rule, these organs are not stimulated separately but in
groups. Itch, for instance, is due to the light stimulation of a
field of pain-endings, and superficial tickle to that of a field of
pressure-organs. The experience of =heat=, curiously enough, is a blend
of warmth and cold; there are no heat spots. It may be observed in this
way: if you apply a surface of increasing warmth to a region of the
skin which has both cold and warm spots, you feel for some time only
the warmth; but when the stimulus has reached a certain temperature,
the cold spots, suddenly and paradoxically, flash out their sensations
of cold; and the blend of warmth and of paradoxical cold is felt
as heat. Cement a smooth copper coin to a handle, and apply it at
gradually increasing temperature to the middle of the forehead just
under the hair; you will presently find the heat. Or if you cannot do
that, note the shiver of cold when you next step into an overhot bath.

When we compare these results with the show that the skin makes as a
sense-organ in everyday life, we can hardly help bringing against it
the charge of dishonesty. The pressure spots give us tickle, contact
or light pressure, and pressure proper; the pain spots, itch, prick or
sting, and pain proper. The cold spots give cold and cool, the warm
spots lukewarm and warm; cold and warm spots together give heat; cold
and pain give biting cold; cold and warm and pain give burning or
scalding heat; and that is all. Yet the skin pretends to tell us of
hard and soft, wet and dry, light and heavy, rough and smooth, yielding
and resistant, sharp and blunt, clammy and greasy, oily and sticky,
stiff and elastic, and so on. Where do we get all these experiences?

§ 10. =Kinæsthetic Sensations.=—We get them, for the most part,
from the cooperation with the skin of certain deeper-lying tissues.
Psychologists have long suspected the existence of a muscle sense. We
now know that sensations are derived, not only from the =muscles=,
but also from the =tendons= and the capsules of the =joints=. These
tissues are, of course, closely bound together, and are all alike
affected by movement of a limb or of the body. Their disentanglement,
from the point of view of sensation, has been a slow and difficult
matter. Psychology has here been greatly aided by pathology; for there
are diseases in which the skin alone is insensitive, in which skin
and muscles alone are insensitive, and in which the whole limb is
insensitive; so that a first rough differentiation is made for us by
nature herself. It is also possible artificially to anæsthetise muscle
and joint; and psychologists have devised various forms of experiment
whereby some single tissue is thrown into relief above the others.

Not only, however, are the sensations of these tissues aroused by
movement; they also form the sensory basis of our perception of the
movement of body and limbs. For this reason they have been named
=kinæsthetic=, or movement-perceiving. They are of the following kinds.

First, we have from the muscles the sensation of physical =fatigue=.
If the skin over a muscle is rendered anæsthetic, and the muscle is
thrown into forced contraction by an electric current, we have, to
begin with, a dull dead pressure; as time goes on, or if the strength
of the current is increased, this pressure becomes dragging, the
sensation of fatigue; and finally it becomes sore and achy, and passes
over into dull pain. From the tendons we get a sensation which, when
we are actively pushing or pulling, we call =effort=, and when we are
passively holding or resisting we call =strain=; it, too, passes over
into pain. Lastly, from the joints we have a =pressure=: something like
the pressure you feel if you smear the right forefinger with vaseline,
and turn it in the loosely closed left hand. Take a piece of elastic
between the forefingers and thumbs; pull it out, and then relax it;
at the moment of relaxation there is a pressure in the finger-joints,
which is the specific joint-sensation.

_Muscle and joint, then, yield sensations which are like those of
pressure on the skin; and muscle and tendon yield sensations which
are like those of pain from the skin_; it is small wonder that the
skin, the only portion of this whole sensory apparatus that is open to
view, should ordinarily be credited with the entire number. In point
of fact, there are very few of the experiences listed on p. 45 that do
not imply the cooperation of some or all of the deeper-lying organs,
the nerve-spindles of muscle and tendon and the nerve-corpuscles of
the joints. Those that really belong to the skin owe their specific
character to the context in which they are set; they change their
meaning as a particular word changes its meaning from one sentence to
another; think of the horribly clammy feel of a bit of cold boiled
potato as you set your finger on it in the dark, and of its totally
different feel when you have turned the light on and see what it is you
are touching! Wetness, for instance, proves on analysis to be a complex
of pressure and temperature; it is possible, when the observer does
not know the nature of the stimulus, to arouse the feel of wet from
perfectly dry things, such as powder, or cotton wool, or bits of metal;
and it is possible to wet the observer’s hand with water and yet to
arouse the feel only of a dry pressure or a dry warmth or cold.

So our very first adventure in psychology brings out, as clearly as
we need wish, the _difference between science and common sense_.
The skin is really living upon borrowed capital; it has added to
its own sensations those derived from the subjacent tissues; but
common sense, blind to what it cannot see, ascribes to it a ‘sense
of touch’ that includes everything and examines nothing. More than
this, common sense fails to draw the distinction between process and
meaning which we discussed in § 6, and therefore ascribes to the sense
of touch a variety of sensory experience that far outruns the facts.
Hardness and softness and stickiness and oiliness and the rest are,
no doubt, separate and distinct as meanings; but when we analyse the
corresponding experiences, we find only the half-dozen sensations
mentioned above.

§ 11. =Taste and Smell.=—The great physiologist Carl Ludwig once
remarked that smell is the most unselfish of all the senses; it gives
up everything it has to taste, and asks nothing in return. Taste is,
indeed, an inveterate borrower; it borrows from smell and from touch,
very much as the skin borrows from the underlying organs. When we have
a cold in the head, we say that we cannot taste; but how is taste
affected? The truth is that our nose is stopped, and we cannot smell.

If the surface of the =tongue= is explored with various sorts
of stimuli, and the nose is kept out of function by plugging of
the nostrils, we find =four sensations: sweet, bitter, sour, and
salt=. Think, then, how much ‘taste’ there would be in the meats
and vegetables that deck our tables, if the nose were closed and
condiments were not added! The sensation of sweet is strongest at
the tip of the tongue; bitter at the root; sour along the sides; salt
is fairly evenly distributed over all three areas; the middle region
of the tongue is insensitive to taste. The sensory cells are grouped
in flask-shaped structures, the taste-buds or taste-beakers, which
are again gathered together in or about the papillæ of the tongue’s
surface; some of these you can see, as red specks upon the dull pink
mucous membrane, if you look at the tip of your tongue in a glass.
There is only one instance of a blend of tastes; if sweet and salt are
mixed, there appears a new taste, flat or vapid in character. Apart
from these five things—sweet, bitter, sour, salt, vapid,—we ‘taste’
entirely by smell or touch.

=Smell=, on the other hand, =has more sensations than we can count
or name=; more sensations, probably, than all the rest of our senses
put together. We can make out certain great groups of odours: flower,
fruit, spicy, musky, leek, burned, rank, foul, nauseous; we may take
as examples vanilla, orange, cinnamon, sandalwood, onion, toast,
cheese, opium, garbage. Realise that the flower odours comprise the
scents of all the flowers, as well as those of vanilla, tea, hay, and
suchlike things; or that the spicy odours comprise the scents of all
the spices, as well as those of thyme, geranium, bergamot, cedarwood,
and suchlike things; and you will get some idea of the variety of the
world of smell. When we add that odours freely blend or combine to give
new scents, you will understand that the number of smell sensations is

The sensory cells are found in two patches of mucous membrane,
each about as big as the little-finger nail, which lie saddle-wise
across the blind top of the nasal cavities. They cannot be stimulated
directly; but particles carried into the outer nostrils by the
breath-stream, or into the inner nostrils by the air-stream thrown
back in the act of swallowing, eddy upward to them and thus arouse
sensation. The second mode of stimulation plays, of course, into the
hands of taste; we think we _taste_ when we swallow; we forget that
we have inner nostrils, though we know very well that we can sniff up
a lotion and bring it down into the back of the mouth. But though the
stimulation is thus indirect, the cells are extraordinarily sensitive;
a mere trace of odorous substance will set up a sensation; and the nose
is also keenly discriminative.

Yet in spite of the tens of thousands of sensations, and in spite of
the extraordinary sensitivity of the cells, we often read that in man
the sense of smell is degenerating! Of this there is not one particle
of evidence. We could not, truly, live by smell, as dogs do; but then
men have never been dogs; and even so there are cases on record—among
the Botocudos of Brazil and the aboriginal tribes of the Malay
peninsula—of savage hunters who track their game by scent. There is
no atom of evidence that, since man was man, his sense of smell has
degenerated. It is true, on the other hand, that =the sense of smell
has fallen into disuse=. The reason is that smell is essentially a
ground sense, as you may convince yourself any summer day that you
lie out on the grass, or any time that you are willing to spend a few
minutes on a dining-room floor; birds in general have a very obtuse
sense of smell, and many of them perhaps lack sensations of smell
altogether. When, then, mankind assumed the upright position, and the
nostrils were lifted several feet above the surface of the ground,
the sense was removed from its normal environment, and fell into
disuse; sight and hearing took its place. But it may still be used.
The late Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Darwin’s, once made an essay,
for instance, at an =arithmetic by smell=; peppermint stood for one,
camphor for two, carbolic acid for three, and so on. “There was not the
slightest difficulty in banishing all visual and auditory images from
the mind, leaving nothing in consciousness besides real or imaginary
scents. In this way I convinced myself of the possibility of doing
sums in simple addition with considerable speed and accuracy solely by
means of imaginary scents. Subtraction succeeded as well as addition.”
Needless to say, it is not worth our while to do this sort of work;
the very fact that odours have no settled system of names, like cold
or pain, red or blue, shows that they have not been utilized in human
life. It is fair to add, also, that sight and hearing are better suited
than smell to our everyday needs; for smells very soon fade out and
disappear; indeed, if they did not, the work of garbage collectors
or of medical students in the dissecting room would be permanently

§ 12. =Sensations from the Ear.=—Sensations of hearing fall into two
great groups, tones and noises. When we are speaking of =tones=, we
naturally think of the keyboard of a piano. The piano tones are, in
reality, not simple tones or sensations but compound tones; and we are
able, after a little practice, to break up a compound tone into its
simple constituents. You may get a fair notion of a really simple tone
by blowing gently across the mouth of an empty bottle. The tone is dull
and hollow, as compared with the bright solidity of a piano tone, but
it has also a pleasant mellowness. With these two aids, the bottle tone
and the piano keyboard, we may approach our study of tonal sensations.

Tones have, first of all, the character that we call =pitch=; they lie,
that is, up or down in the scale; they belong to the bass or the treble
or to a middle region. The word ‘pitch’ means height; it is a term
borrowed from perceptions of sight; and we cannot yet say certainly how
it came to be applied to tones. Secondly, tones have the character of
=volume=,—another borrowed word! The highest note on the piano seems
shrunken, narrowed, pointed, as compared with the deepest note in the
bass; and the difference comes out even more clearly with bottle tones.
Thirdly, tones show a sort of recurrence. If you run your finger-nail
quickly up the keyboard in a _glissando_, you perceive a change only
of pitch and volume; but if you play the notes _c_, _d_, _e_ in one
octave and then in another and then in a third, you realise that all
the sequences are alike; we talk, indeed, of playing the _same_ notes
in _different_ octaves. This recurring character of tones is called

It has recently been stated that tones have a further character, that
of =vocality=. Consider the series of vowels, U, O, A, E, I (voiced
approximately as in the words _moot_, _moat_, _mart_, _mate_, _meet_);
there is no doubt that U suggests a low bottle tone, and I a high
whistle tone. Experiments seem to show that, as we go up the scale, the
tones say M-M, U, O, A, E, I, S-S, F-F, CH (the sound in the Scotch
_loch_); and, curiously enough, that they say these things at intervals
of an octave; so that, when we have found a pure O, we find the pure A
just an octave higher, and the tones that lie between give Oa, OA, oA,
according to their position. The question is still in debate; for these
experiments are opposed by others, and the whole subject of the nature
of vowel-sounds is very thorny. It is quite clear that high and low
tones sound definitely like U and I; but some of the other vowels are
far less distinct; and the point of change from vowel to vowel does not
appear to be as sharp and precise as the first experiments indicated.
On the whole, _we shall do best to suspend judgement_.

There are some ten thousand simple tones in the complete tonal scale;
but the compound tones employed by music are only about a hundred in
number, and are selected from a middle range of hearing. The compound
tone, as we have said, breaks up on analysis into simple partial tones;
the lowest is called the =fundamental=, the others the =overtones=.
It is a remarkable fact that the overtones always stand in a definite
relation to the fundamental. The various musical instruments do not,
however, sound all the overtones alike; their construction favours
some, and weakens or destroys others; and that is the main reason why
we can tell a harp-tone, for instance, from a tone of the same pitch
played on oboe or trumpet. The compound tones thus owe their =colour=
or =timbre=, in the first instance, to _the number and relative
loudness of the overtones which accompany the fundamental_. Timbre has
other factors; but this is the primary source of difference.

_Overtones may readily be heard._ Strike a _c_, very lightly, on the
piano. When it has ceased to sound, strike loudly the _c_ next below;
you can probably, even at the first trial, hear the higher _c_ in the
lower. Now strike very lightly the _g_ next above your higher _c_,
and then the lower _c_ again loudly; you will probably hear the _g_.
Helmholtz, working with thin strings, was able to hear no less than
fifteen overtones with the fundamental.

This blending of the partial tones in a compound tone, to give a single
and unitary impression, is an example of what is called =tonal fusion=.
The best fusion is that of two tones which constitute an octave; here,
indeed, the blend is so close that it is often confused with unison;
a soprano and a bass singer, told to sing in unison, will start off
without hesitation an octave apart. Next after the octave stands the
fifth (_c_ and _g_); boys who think they are whistling the same notes
often whistle, in fact, a fifth apart. Other pairs of tones give lesser
degrees of fusion.

_Tones generate as well as blend._ If you sound together two high
tones, such as you get from a double bicycle whistle, or from small
bottles of different sizes, you hear, besides these tones themselves, a
third tone, very much deeper, larger, more booming; this =differential
tone= is easy to find and, once heard, cannot be mistaken. Only, the
two tones must not be too nearly alike in pitch; for, if they are, you
hear, instead of a differential tone, slow surges or quick rattlings of
sound. Take two bottles of the same size, and mistune one of them by
pouring in small amounts of water; have them blown steadily together;
the course of the =beats=, as they are called, from a slow surge
through a rattle to a harsh blur, may thus be followed.

=Noises=, which form a class of sensations distinct from tones, are
nevertheless aroused by the same sort of stimuli. If a tonal stimulus
is sounded for a very brief time, we hear a dry knock; if a large
number of tonal stimuli are sounded all at once, we hear a buzz or
crash. Noises have =pitch=; the spit of a pistol is higher than the
crack of a rifle, and the sizzle of frying fat is higher than the
murmur of falling rain; but no one has yet established a complete scale
of noise.

_The sensory cells are found in the inner ear_, a tiny structure with
an extremely complicated mechanism. Many different views of its action
have been put forward. That which is most generally accepted was
proposed by the German physicist H. von Helmholtz. _The ear contains
a narrow triangular membrane which carries many thousands of stiffish
cross-fibres_; and the theory is that the air-waves which impinge on
the outer ear play, selectively, upon these fibres; _every air-wave
throws into vibration the fibre which is tuned to respond to it_.
A compound tonal stimulus is thus analysed by the membrane into a
number of simple tonal stimuli, and every simple stimulus excites the
nerve-fibril attached to its particular cross-fibre. This theory
explains our ability to analyse compound tones into their simple

_The ear is, however, more than an organ of hearing._ It includes
organs, of a very ancient type, which help to regulate our balance in
walking, our precision in turning corners or avoiding obstacles, and
so on. Each ear, for instance, has three little organs that resemble
minute spirit-levels, set in the three planes of space, and that give
us the sensation of ‘swimming’ when the head is sharply jerked, and the
sensation of =dizziness= when we twirl on our heels. For the most part
these organs act reflexly, without furnishing sensations; or at any
rate furnish sensations of little strength, and of a pressure-like kind
that blends indistinguishably with the kinæsthetic sensations from the
tissues beneath the skin; but in the cases mentioned the swimmy, dizzy
sensation may be noticed.

§ 13. =Sensations from the Eye.=—You may study tones by help of the
piano and a few medicine bottles; but for the study of lights and
colours you must go beyond household appliances, and secure a fairly
large set of coloured and grey papers; sample-books may be obtained,
very cheaply, from the manufacturers. You will notice, first of all,
that as the world of sounds divides into tones and noises, so does the
world of looks divide into what we have just called colours and lights.
The colourless looks or =lights= may be arranged in a single straight
line that passes from purest white through the greys to deepest black;
they are, as sensations, older than colours, just as noise is older
than tone. =Colours= are more varied. Consider, to begin with, the
character of colour proper or =hue=, that is, the differences of colour
that show in the rainbow. Hues may be arranged, not in one straight
line, but in a square. Setting out, say, from red, you pass through
red-yellow or orange to yellow; that is one straight line; setting
out again from yellow, you pass through yellow-green to green; from
green you pass through green-blue to blue; and finally from blue you
come back, by way of blue-red (violet and purple), to the original
red. Colours have, besides, two further characters, that bring them
into relation with lights. They differ in =tint=, that is, in darkness
or lightness; brown is darker than yellow, sky-blue is lighter than
navy-blue. They differ also in saturation or =chroma=, that is,
in poorness or richness of hue; pinks and yellows look faded and
washed-out as compared with rich reds and blues. _Tint brings colours
into relation with lights_, because, if we can say that a colour is
darker or lighter than a particular grey, we can also find some grey
that matches it in darkness or lightness; and _chroma brings colours
into relation with lights_, in the sense that the better chroma is
farther off from colourlessness (that is, from grey) than the poorer
chroma of the same hue and tint.

_All lights and colours are psychologically simple._ Paints may be
mixed on a palette, and colour-stimuli may be mixed in all sorts of
ways; we learn in physics that white daylight is a mixture of all the
rays that are seen separately in the rainbow. Yet a white, considered
just as a look, is perfectly simple; and the looks of orange and
yellow-green and green-blue are equally simple. There are no compound
colours, to correspond with compound tones. Hence the number of light
and colour sensations is very large, at least ten times as large as the
number of simple tones.

The organ of vision is the eye; and _the eye is a little photographic
camera_, with shutter, iris-diaphragm, self-adjusting lens, dark
chamber, and self-renewing sensitive film. We are concerned only with
the film, that is, with the =retina= or nervous network that lines the
posterior half of the eyeball. It seems that _the retina is really made
up of three interfused films_; for simplicity’s sake you may consider
them as lying upon one another, just as three saucers might do if you
piled them together. The oldest and largest film, the bottom saucer,
gives us the sensations of _black and white_; the middlemost, somewhat
smaller, gives us _blue and yellow_; and the topmost and smallest
gives us a _purplish-red and a bluish-green_. The existence and size
of the three films can be shown by experiment; for we are all totally
colour-blind at the edge of the field of vision, and are blind to reds
and greens for some distance further in toward the centre. There are
also cases of inherited =colour-blindness=, in which the eye is blind
either for all colours (total colour-blindness) or for red and green
alone (partial colour-blindness); the latter form is fairly common,
as is natural,—for the red-green film, being the last to come, might
be expected to be the first to go. Partial colour-blindness was first
brought to scientific notice by the English chemist John Dalton in
1798. Dalton was a Quaker, but made no objection to wearing the
scarlet gown of a doctor of laws, because, as he said, “to me its
colour is that of nature—the colour of those green leaves”; it is
needless to remark that he did not see green either! The defect is
practically important for pilots and signalmen, who have to distinguish
red and green lights.

_From these three films we get all the lights and colours that we see
in the daytime, with the single exception of_ =neutral grey=; and this
appears to come, not from the eye at all, but from the brain. It may be
seen even when the retina is quite blind, provided that the rest of the
nervous apparatus is in working order; and it may be seen by night as
well as by day; it is mixed, physiologically, with all our sensations
of light and colour, though we cannot by psychological analysis pick
it out from the lights and colours. Strange enough! but we shall
understand better as we go on. The German physiologist Ewald Hering has
shown that _the processes which take place in the films are, in all
probability, chemical processes of an_ =antagonistic= _or_ =reversible=
_kind_; that is why we never see a bluish-yellow, or a greenish-red;
if we throw on the same part of the retina, at the same time, equal
amounts of black and white, or of blue and yellow, or of purplish-red
and bluish-green, the chemical processes go on in opposite directions
and cancel each other, with the result that we see just nothing. This
antagonism can be proved, under the right experimental conditions, for
blue-yellow and for red-green; if these pairs are fittingly thrown
together on the retina we see, in fact, only neutral grey; so that
our seeing of the same grey, when black and white stimuli are acting
together, does not necessarily mean that grey is a retinal mixture of
black and white; the black and white may also cancel each other, and
leave only the brain-grey to be seen.

We have, then, the three films in each eyeball, and we have the
brain-grey behind them. More than this: we have a night or =twilight
eye=. When colours fade out, as twilight deepens, another retinal
film comes into play; the lights that we still see come, not from the
black-white film, but from a fourth film, of the same size, whose only
sensation is _a slightly bluish-white_. Of course, this white is always
mixed, physiologically, with the brain-grey; we never see it by itself;
but we owe to it, among other things, the silvery look of blues in the
twilight. The very centre of the twilight eye is totally blind; if on
a moonless night you want to see a faint star or a distant street-lamp
you must not look directly at it, but just to one side of it.
Children’s fear of the dark is partly due to the fact that they cannot
see what they turn their gaze upon; there had seemed to be something
there, but when they looked at it, it eluded them; and if they think
they see it again, and look in the new direction, again it is gone.

Now suppose that you are looking out, in daylight, over a variegated
landscape. Somewhere or other you see a patch of light grey. You get
this sensation from the black-white film and the brain-grey; the
white-process is stronger than the black-process in the film, and the
excess of white, added physiologically to the brain-grey, shows as
light grey. Or again, you see a patch of dark purple. This sensation
comes from the red-green film (excess of red); from the blue-yellow
film (excess of blue); from the black-white film (excess of black); and
from the brain-grey. All the lights and colours of the landscape can be
accounted for in the same way.

Not quite correctly, however!—there are still other factors at work.
_The film-processes are antagonistic_, for instance, _even when they
go on in different parts of a film_; lights and colours =contrast=
with one another; if you lay a strip of grey paper on red, it looks
greenish; on blue, yellowish; on white, blackish; make the trial with
your own papers. So all the various lights and colours of the landscape
stand out, by contrast, against one another; the eye makes their
differences greater than they ought physically, from the nature of the
stimuli, to appear. _Black, indeed, is wholly a contrast-sensation_;
it has no physical stimulus; and you see deep black only in strong

Contrast is effective at once, the moment you cast your eyes on the
landscape. _As time goes on_, however, _the opposed film-processes
tend to settle down into a state of balance or equilibrium_; so that
actually, if you stared at the landscape long enough, without moving
your eyes, you would finally see nothing but the brain-grey. This
levelling down of all lights and all colours toward neutral grey is
called =adaptation=. Stand up two strips of black and white paper,
side by side, and stare at their line of junction for a minute or two;
even in that short time you will find that they tend toward a uniform
grey. If, now, a stimulus to which you are wholly or partly adapted
is suddenly removed, the antagonism of the film-processes shows itself
once more; you see an =after-image=. Lay a disc of red on grey; stare
at it for half a minute; flick it away, keeping the eyes steady,
and look at the grey background; you see a corresponding disc of
green. White leaves a black after-image, black a white; blue a yellow
after-image, and yellow a blue.

It is clear, then, that _the lights and colours of the landscape depend
on many things beside the stimuli there presented_; they depend on
contrast, on the previous adaptation of the eye, on the presence or
absence of after-images. The main reason that we do not notice all
these influences is that we ordinarily view the landscape, not for
itself, but for what it means; it shows us the familiar trees and
stream and houses, and we take their stability for granted. That is
the main reason; it is not the only one. We have said, for instance,
that the normal retina is totally colour-blind along its outer edge,
and partially colour-blind for some distance in toward the centre;
_the edge of the landscape ought therefore to be colourless_, and a
certain outlying portion of it ought to appear simply as blue and
yellow. There is no hint of these differences; and the explanation is
that we are accustomed to turn our eyes directly towards what we want
to see, and therefore to view it with all three of the daylight films;
head and eyes =move= so easily, and we see so much better with the
centre of the retina, that we totally disregard the altered look of
things seen ‘out of the corner of the eye.’ Even if we do not, we are
likely to _remember_ how the things appear in direct vision; we paint
them over, so to speak, with =memory-colours=, colours that represent
their natural or average appearance at the centre of the visual field;
indeed, we may _paint these colours over the whole landscape, and
in that way correct the changes due to contrast or adaptation_. We
always talk of a certain book as brown; we recognise it in all lights,
and in all states of the eye, by its brown colour; we _see_ it, in
memory-colour, as brown; whereas, if that same brown were shown us in
all the different circumstances without our knowing it to be the same,
it might give us sensations of yellow, of pale brown, of deep brown,
of black. These two factors, _movement of the eyes and memory-colour_,
lead us to overlook, in great part, the actual variation of lights and
colours in the landscape.

A final word may be added regarding _the likeness of sight and smell_.
Odours and colours fade out by adaptation; odours, like lights and
colours, contrast, and even cancel one another; and smell-stimuli as
well as sight-stimuli mix to produce new and simple sensations. It is
highly probable that the sensory cells of smell are the seat of only a
few chemical processes, by whose combination all the wealth of odours
is created, just as the cone-cells of the retina are the seat of those
three reversible processes (black-white, blue-yellow, red-green) whose
combination endows us with the variety of daylight vision. We have as
yet, however, no such definite grounds for hypothesis as we have in the
case of sight; we cannot even guess what these processes are, or how
many of them are taking place in the smell-membrane.

§ 14. =Organic Sensations.=—There are still other sensations, coming
to us from the internal bodily organs; from various parts of the
alimentary canal, from the organs of sex, from heart and blood-vessels,
from the lungs, from the sheathing membrane of the bones; but it is
doubtful if they are of new kinds; probably they consist simply of
=pressure=, =cold=, =warmth=, and =pain=. The dull deep-seated pains
that we call =aches= are, perhaps, different from the bright pains of
the skin; but most of the differences among pains, differences that we
express by the terms lancing, throbbing, piercing, stabbing, thrilling,
gnawing, boring, shooting, racking, and so on, are either differences
of time (steady, intermittent) or space (localised, diffused) or degree
(moderate, acute), or else are differences due to the blending of pain
with various other sensations.

The organic sensations, like the kinæsthetic, tend thus to occur
in groups or complexes, and we have as yet no very sure means of
disentangling them. It is, nevertheless, quite clear that in their
case, as in that of the touch-blends, we have to _distinguish between
experience and meaning_. =Hunger= and =nausea= seem, for example,
to be very different; yet the core of both turns out on analysis
to be the same dull pain; and we know that the onset of a bilious
attack is often heralded by an unusually keen appetite, so that the
beginnings of nausea are in fact confused with a growing hunger. The
difference between hunger and nausea is due partly to a difference
in the processes which ordinarily accompany the central pain,—motor
restlessness or lassitude in the case of hunger, and dizziness in
that of nausea; but more especially to a difference of meaning
or interpretation; hunger stands for want of food, and nausea for

We shall see later that _organic sensations play a large part in
emotion, as kinæsthetic sensations do in perception_. Plato set the
‘spirited’ or ‘passionate’ part of the soul in the breast; the Psalms
abound in phrases that suggest the same idea; we speak to-day of the
_heart_ coming up to the mouth, or dropping to the boots. So we read in
the Old Testament that Joseph’s _bowels_ yearned upon his brother, and
in the New Testament of bowels of compassion; and the inner stir that
the writers have in mind is familiar to everybody.

§ 15. =Sensation and Attribute.=—We have been talking all this while
about sensations, but we have not yet said what sensations are. They
make up, as you will have guessed, one class of the mental elements,
the _elementary mental processes_ of § 4, that we reach by analysis
of our complex experiences. They are therefore simple and irreducible
items of the mental world. How shall we define them?

We can define them, in strictness, only by writing down a complete
list of what we have called their characters. _Every sensation shows
itself to us under various aspects_, or, as we are accustomed to say,
possesses a number of =attributes=. We have been dealing, so far, with
the qualitative aspect of sensations. This may itself be single; the
quality of lights is just their lightness or darkness; or it may be
manifold; the quality of colours can be properly described only if
we take account of hue, tint, and chroma; that of tones only if we
take account of pitch, volume, and tonality, perhaps also of vocality.
=Quality= is the natural thing to start out from, because it is what
interests us most in everyday life, and has therefore been named; so
that, when we speak of sensations, we speak of them by their qualities.
There are, however, several other attributes; sensations possess
=intensity=, and =vividness=, and =duration=, and some of them possess
=extension=. We shall discuss these aspects later on.

_Does it seem strange, now, that an elementary hit of experience
should turn so many sides to the observer?_ Think then of chemistry,
and of the chemical elements. Sodium is a chemical element; but it has
many aspects or properties; physically regarded, it is soft, it is
fusible, it volatilises at high temperatures; chemically, it combines
with oxygen, it decomposes water, it is univalent, it has a low atomic
weight, it is electropositive, and so forth. Sodium cannot be reduced,
chemically, to anything simpler than itself, but it is nevertheless
many-sided. The same thing is true of sensations.

So a complete list of the aspects or attributes of sensation is as
near as we can come to a definition. But since that sort of statement
is clumsy; since we cannot make it complete till we have observed the
sensations under all their possible aspects; and since we know that
mental processes are correlated with processes in the nervous system;
we may adopt another plan, and _define sensation by reference to the
special bodily organ with which it is connected_. Sensations are then
elementary mental processes that come to us by way of skin, muscle,
ear, and the rest of the sense-organs.

§ 16. =The Intensity of Sensation.=—A sensation may remain the same
in quality, and yet vary in strength or =intensity=. A pressure may be
the pressure of an ounce or of half-a-pound; it is always pressure, the
same quality, but its intensity differs. The tone you get by blowing
across the mouth of a bottle may be loud or faint, though it is still
the same pitch, the same tone. The weight you carry may strain the arm
very little or a great deal; the sensation of strain from the tendons
is the same in both cases, but its intensity is different.

The study of this attribute of sensations has led to _the discovery
of a psychological law_, which has much practical importance. Suppose
that we are working with intensities of noise, the noise made by the
drop of an ivory ball upon an ebony block. Suppose that, by varying the
height from which the ball falls, we have found a series of intensities
of sensation _a_, _b_, _c_, _d_, _e_, which may be represented by the
numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; a series, that is, in which the difference
between the two noises _a_ and _b_ is equal in sensation to the
difference between _b_ and _c_, or between _c_ and _d_, or between _d_
and _e_. That sounds a little difficult; but the series may really
be established without much trouble. Now, what about the stimuli,
the heights of fall? Must the ball drop twice as far for _b_ as for
_a_, three times as far for _c_ as for _a_, and so on? No: _equal
differences in intensity of sensation do not correspond with equal
differences in intensity of stimulus. Equal differences in intensity of
sensation correspond rather with_ =relatively= _equal difference in the
intensity of stimulus_. In other words,

           the sensation-series 1 2 3 4 5 corresponds with
  a stimulus-series of the type 1 2 4 8 16;

or, mathematically expressed, _an arithmetical series of intensities
of sensation is correlated with a geometrical series of intensities
of stimulus_. In the instance given, the exponent of the geometrical
series is 2; but that is only an imaginary instance; in the case of
=noise= the actual exponent is 4/3, so that

  the sensation-series 1  2    3    4      5 corresponds with
  the stimulus series  1 4/3 16/9 64/27 256/81;

or, if we take units of some sort, such as millimetres of height of

  the sensation-series 1   2   3   4   5 corresponds with
  the stimulus-series  81 108 144 192 256.

This law of correlation was first formulated by the German physiologist
E. H. Weber in 1834 as follows: “in comparing objects and observing
the distinction between them, we perceive, not the difference between
the objects, but the ratio of this difference to the magnitude of the
objects compared.” Weber speaks of objects, because he was thinking
of experiments that he had made with weights; he should have said
sensations. His law holds, over a middle range of intensities of
sensation, for =lights=, =sounds=, =pressures=, =various kinæsthetic
complexes=, and =odours=. Its validity in the fields of taste and
temperature is doubtful.

It is because of Weber’s law that we are able to ignore the manifold
changes of illumination to which we are exposed in the course of the
daylight hours; that the painter, who cannot at all reproduce by his
pigments the absolute intensities of light in nature, can nevertheless
give us a recognisably true copy of any natural scene; and that a large
block of seats in the concert-room, at a moderate distance from the
stage, can all be sold at the same price and all have equal advantages
for hearing. You will readily find other instances of its working, if
you are clear as regards the principle involved; namely, that the less
you have of anything, the less need be added, and the more you have,
the more must be added, to make an appreciable difference; or, on the
negative side, that you are not likely to notice any difference in your
surroundings, so long as the relations of the stimuli remain unchanged.
So Weber’s law furnishes yet another reason for the apparent stability
of the landscape that we discussed on p. 63.

Questions and Exercises

(1) Mark out, by indelible ink, a sq. cm. upon the outer surface of the
forearm. Make upon transparent paper three maps of the area, marking
hairs, veins, etc. Work over the area (_a_) with the horsehair, for
pressure spots; (_b_) with a warmed carpenter’s spike, for warm spots;
and (_c_) with a cooled spike, for cold spots. Enter the spots, as you
find them, on the maps; remember to dot the hair down for pressure, but
to draw the spike slowly and evenly along the skin for temperature. Lay
the three maps together, and note the distribution and the relative
number of the spots.

(2) After shampooing, the scalp is sensitive and irritable under the
brush. Why?

(3) When you are writing with a pencil, or prodding in a pool with a
stick, the sensations seem to come from the end of the pencil or stick.
What organs are involved? And why should the sensations be localised as
they are? Try to think out some experimental means of attacking this

(4) What sensations do you get in the act of yawning? What in that of
swallowing? What unusual sensations do you have, from the face, after
you have been running hard?

(5) How do sour and sweet in the mouth affect the sense of touch? Make
solutions, in varying strengths, of sugar and of the juice of some very
sour fruit; leave plenty of time between observations.

(6) Prepare some bits of apple, onion, and raw potato. Close your eyes
and hold your nose; then pick up these morsels at random, and chew
them. Can you tell the difference? How?

(7) Is there any evidence of taste contrast?

(8) Secure adaptation to the scent of camphor; breathe regularly, and
note the length of time necessary for the odour to disappear. Now smell
at vanilla, heliotrope, absolute alcohol. Do you smell them? Try
to account for the result, arguing by analogy from what you know of

(9) The next time that you listen to an orchestra, pick out the tones
of the various instruments, and try to describe their timbre; do not
be afraid to string adjectives together, but be sure that you hear
what you put down. Later, look up in a reference-book the composition
of these various compound tones, and see if there is any correlation
between your description and the number and loudness of the overtones.

(10) If you drop a block of wood on a desk, the sound is simply noisy.
If the same block forms part of a xylophone scale, and is struck with
the wooden hammer, it gives a tone. How is this?

(11) When you next go to a reception, stand outside the main rooms for
a minute, and try to determine the pitch of the buzz of voices; try to
sing the pitch yourself. Is the buzz tonal or merely noisy?

(12) When you are listening to beats, do you hear one beating tone, or
both the primary tones beating? If one tone only, is it identical with
either of the primaries?

(13) Test the law of visual antagonism by getting the after-images of a
number of colours.

(14) To prove normal colour-blindness, get a small square of red glass;
stand before a window, with your left eye closed and your right eye
fixed upon some distant point; bring the red glass slowly into the
field, with the left hand, and note its changes.

(15) Can you suggest experiments for working out in detail the laws of
visual contrast? Try to think what sort of things would be likely to
enhance or to reduce the contrast-effect.

(16) Could a man go through life, and take an ordinary place in
society, without knowing that he was colour-blind? Give your reasons.

(17) Blue and yellow are antagonistic; yet blue and yellow paints,
mixed on the palette, give green. How is this?

(18) Dalton says: “In lecturing on optics I got six ribands,—blue,
pink, lilac,—and red, green, and brown,—which matched very well,
and told the curious audience so. One gentleman came up immediately
afterwards and told me he perfectly agreed with me; he had not remarked
the difference by candlelight.” How could these triads have been
confused? and would the candlelight make any difference?


A more detailed treatment of sensation is given in the author’s
Text-book of Psychology, 1910, 46 ff., 201 ff. The reader may further
consult: J. H. Parsons, An Introduction to the Study of Colour
Vision, 1915; H. L. F. von Helmholtz, On the Sensations of Tone as a
Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music, translated by A. J. Ellis,
1895; C. S. Myers, A Text-book of Experimental Psychology, pt. i.,
1911, chs. 2-8, 18, 19; G. T. Ladd and R. S. Woodworth, Elements of
Physiological Psychology, 1911, pt. ii., chs. 1-3; W. Wundt, Lectures
on Human and Animal Psychology, 1896, Lects. 2-7; various articles in
Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, ed. by J. M. Baldwin, vols.
i., ii., 1901-2; the chapters on sensation in E. A. Schäfer, Text-book
of Physiology, ii., 1900, and W. H. Howell, A Text-book of Physiology,
1908; E. Mach, Contributions to the Analysis of the Sensations, trs. by
C. M. Williams, 1910; E. B. Titchener, Experimental Psychology, II.,
ii., 1905, Introduction.

The special references to _smell_ will be found in E. B. Tylor,
Anthropology, 1881, ch. ix., 207; W. W. Skeat and C. O. Blagden, Pagan
Races of the Malay Peninsula, i., 1906, 200; F. Galton, Psychological
Review, i., 1894, 61 ff.; and those to _Dalton_ in W. C. Henry, Memoirs
of the Life and Scientific Researches of John Dalton, 1854, 24, 49,
172, 187. For the term _kinæsthesis_ see H. C. Bastian, The Brain as an
Organ of Mind, 1885, 543.



 Conceptions and apparitions [sensations and images] are nothing really
 but motion in some internal substance of the head; which motion
 not stopping there, but proceeding to the heart, of necessity must
 there either help or hinder the motion which is called vital; when
 it helpeth, it is called pleasure; but when such motion weakeneth or
 hindereth the vital motion, then it is called pain.—THOMAS HOBBES

§ 17. =Simple Images.=—Common sense draws a sharp distinction
between our present perception of an object or event, and our later
revival of it in memory; and psychologists have been accustomed, in
the same way, to distinguish the simple sensation, the elementary
process in perception, from the =simple image=, the elementary
process in memory. In fact, however, _it is very doubtful if there
is any real psychological difference between sensation and image_.
The statement is often made that the image is weaker, fainter, more
fleeting than the corresponding sensation. Thus, the great philosopher
David Hume (1711-1776) wrote: “All the perceptions of the human
mind resolve themselves into two distinct kinds, which I shall call
_impressions_ and _ideas_. [Hume’s terminology is different from
ours.] The difference between these consists in the degrees of force
and liveliness, with which they strike upon the mind.” Hume himself
admits that “in sleep, in a fever, in madness, or in any very violent
emotions of soul, our ideas may approach to our impressions; as on the
other hand it sometimes happens that our impressions are so faint and
low, that we cannot distinguish them from our ideas.” It is certain
that sensation and image are often confused; and some writers have
accordingly proposed to drop the term ‘image’ and to replace it by
‘secondary sensation.’ Let us look at the facts.

There is no department of sense in which sensation stops entirely
when its stimulus is removed; in all cases, even in that of sound,
the sensation is prolonged, for a longer or shorter time, and either
after an interval or without interruption, in what is called the
=positive after-image=. Blow out a match in the dark, and wave the
glowing stem about; you see complete circles or figures of eight;
the sensation persists, although the stimulus has passed from one
part of the retina to another. In some departments, the positive is
followed by a =negative after-image=; we have already mentioned the
antagonistic after-images of sight. So the removal of a continued warm
stimulus leaves a sensation of coolness; and the swimming in the head
that you feel while twirling round is followed, when you come to rest,
by a swimming in the opposite direction. Lastly, the name of =memory
after-image= has been given to an experience which is most familiar,
perhaps, in the taking of dictation; as you write the words last
spoken, the speaker’s voice still rings in your ears; the sound hangs
for a few seconds, as if arrested, and your pen is guided by the mental
echo. Similarly, an attentive glance at an object may set up a sort of
photographic image that remains distinct for several seconds.

All the after-images are sensory in character. So too are the =memory
colours= that we habitually lay over familiar objects (p. 63), and that
make us see snow as white and gold as yellow and coal as black, just
because they are ordinarily or typically white and yellow and black.
So also are the =recurrent images=, those troublesome and haunting
images to which most of us are subject at times: the tunes that run
in our head and that we cannot get rid of, the rows of figures that
obsess us after a long morning of calculation, the bright disc that
keeps cropping up after we have spent several hours at the microscope.
So, again, are the images that serve to complete and round out an
imperfect perception. A favourite device of modern advertising is to
outline the human figure only in part and to leave the remainder to
the imagination; and you will perhaps notice, if you look attentively
at such a figure, that the outline, so far as the suggestion of the
neighbouring lines is unambiguous, is indeed completed in image, black
on white or colour on colour; only where the completion is uncertain
do the images fail. These =tied images=, so called because they are
unequivocally bound up with the sensory portion of the perception,
occur also in the sphere of sound; a missing orchestral part, if it is
familiar, may be clearly heard by the conductor.

_Not everyone has recurrent images; and perhaps only a large
minority have tied images._ The image—even if we decide that it
is only a secondary sensation, psychologically indistinguishable
from sensation—nevertheless represents a later stage of biological
development than the sensation proper, and our equipment of images is
correspondingly variable; your own experience may be richly imaginal,
while your friend, under the same conditions, has hardly a trace of
imagery. Those who do possess recurrent and tied images agree that
they are distinguished from sensations rather by their context, by the
presence or absence of certain other processes, than by any difference
of nature. The same thing holds of those abnormal phenomena to which
Hume referred. =Hallucinatory images= are by no means uncommon in the
drowsy period that precedes sleep; we hear the telephone bell, or we
hear our name called; some of us—there are, again, great differences
in individuals—have hallucinations of sight. =Dream images= also
differ markedly from individual to individual; but the dream is nearly
always accepted as a real event. One of the most puzzling facts in this
connection is the occurrence of concomitant or =synæsthetic images=. In
the commonest case, that of =coloured hearing=, any auditory stimulus
arouses, along with the appropriate sensation of hearing, whether tone
or noise, a visual image of light or colour. The sound of the word
Tuesday, for instance, may be seen as a light grey-green followed by a
yellow! We might suppose, at first thought, that coloured hearing is
due to association, to a connection between sight and hearing set up
in childhood and continued into adult life; but the evidence points to
some inborn connection in the nervous system; coloured hearing tends
strongly to run in families. Moreover, we know of no natural or normal
association of colours with tones, although the attempt has often
been made to illustrate music by colours; the recent colour-scoring
of the Russian composer Scriabin is, for instance, nothing more than
an idiosyncrasy, and will make no general or permanent appeal to the
musical public. There are many other kinds of synæsthesia, besides
this connection of sight and sound; and we have no reason to think
that every instance is to be explained in just the same way; in all
cases, however, we have a particular sensation uniformly accompanied by
another, which we may call either a secondary sensation or an image of
sensory character.

Coming back to the normal life, we have next to note the part played
in certain minds by =habitual images=. Just as, in Wagner’s operas,
the performer comes upon the stage to the accompaniment of some
characteristic musical phrase, some ‘motive,’ as it is called, which
recurs again and again as he enters and reenters to take his share
of the action, so in minds of the imaginal type such general notions
as ‘virtue’ and ‘commerce’ and ‘summer’ may regularly call up mental
pictures, little groups of images, which illustrate or characterise the
notions: thus, virtue may be pictured mentally by the flash of a human
figure, standing very upright. These pictures are usually incomplete,
mere impressionist sketches; but they may remain unchanged for years.

Finally, we come to the images which enter into our ideas of memory and
of imagination. We discuss these ideas later; here we need only say
that the psychological distinction between sensation and image, if it
is to be drawn at all, must be drawn between sensation and the =free
images of memory and imagination=, and cannot be drawn earlier. Some
psychologists believe that a memory-image can always be distinguished
from a sensation, that the two processes differ in their intrinsic
nature. It is difficult to put the question to the test of experiment;
but what evidence we have seems to look the other way. We shall do best
to suspend judgement.

The word ‘image’ is unfortunately used, as the foregoing paragraphs
have shown, both for the simple image and for groups or clusters of
images; thus, the recurrent image and the habitual image are always
complex. Summing up our results, with this warning in mind, we may
say that positive and negative after-images, memory colours, and
synæsthetic images are definitely sensory in character; that the simple
images which make up memory after-images, recurrent and tied and
habitual images, hallucinations and dreams, appear to be of the same
kind; and that the simple images which compose our ideas of memory and
imagination may or may not be intrinsically different from sensations.
The simple image may therefore be defined as _an elementary mental
process, akin to sensation and perhaps indistinguishable from it,
which persists when the sensory stimulus is withdrawn or appears when
the sensory stimulus is absent_. We may say further that, while every
normal person has very much the same equipment of sensations, there
are great individual differences in the matter of secondary sensations
or images; in some cases they are interwoven into the whole tissue of
experience, in others they are infrequent or even lacking; we shall see
presently how they may be replaced. In general, images of sight and
sound are common; then come images of touch and temperature, and then
again images of taste and smell, which are uncommon; organic images are
very rare. Kinæsthetic images undoubtedly occur, and probably occur
frequently; but they are likely to blend with kinæsthetic sensations,
and so to escape notice.

§ 18. =Simple Feelings and Sense-Feelings.=—Many of our experiences
are indifferent; but many of them, again, are pleasant or unpleasant.
These two words, _pleasant_ and _unpleasant_, denote elementary mental
processes of a different sort from sensations and images; they are
known as =simple feelings=. The term ‘feeling’ is itself even more
ambiguous than the term ‘image’; it is natural to speak of ‘feeling’
a strain or effort, a warmth or cold; but we shall henceforth use it
only in its technical meaning, to indicate the way in which stimuli
affect us, pleasantly or unpleasantly. We must discard altogether the
words _pleasure_ and _pain_, although they have long been current as
the names of the simple feelings, and although they are much less
clumsy than pleasant and unpleasant. We discard them because pain is a
sensation (p. 43); and pains, while usually unpleasant, may at times be
pleasant; the scratching that relieves an itch and the nip of the wind
on a brisk winter’s day are both pains, but they are also both pleasant.

_The main difference between sensation and simple feeling is that
a feeling cannot be made the object of direct attention._ Try to
attend to the pleasantness or unpleasantness of an experience, and
the feeling evaporates, eludes you; it is like clutching a ghost; you
find yourself beyond the feeling, so to speak, and face to face with
some obtrusive sensation or image that you had no wish to meet. This
peculiarity of feeling must, of course, be taken account of in our
conduct of the psychological method of observation. The formula of
observation (p. 19) was:

  psychological (vivid experience → full report).

In the case of sensation, the observer is set or disposed, beforehand,
to attend to sensation and to report upon sensation; the sensation
comes, and is attended to; and the report which follows is determined,
under the influence of the preliminary set or disposition, by the
nature of the sensation. In the case of feeling, the observer is set to
attend to sensation, but to report upon the feeling which accompanies
the sensation; the sensation comes and is attended to; and the report
then describes, under the influence of the preliminary set, the feeling
which accompanied the sensation. That sounds a little paradoxical; but
the method is not difficult in practice; and it has the advantage that
we can use all manner of sensory stimuli (colours, tones, everything)
in our study of feeling.

We find, first of all, that _pleasant and unpleasant are really
opposites_; the colour or tone that is most often reported as pleasant
is least often reported as unpleasant, and conversely. An obvious
result? Not at all; for what is obvious to common sense demands very
careful consideration at the hands of science; and the fact that, in
this instance, common sense turns out to be right does not at all
mean that we should have been justified in taking it for granted. We
find, secondly, that _intensity of feeling behaves like intensity of
sensation_ (p. 67); the more pleasant or unpleasant an experience is,
the more must the stimulus be changed if we are to feel a difference;
and the less pleasant or unpleasant it is, the less change need be made
to produce a change of feeling.

_There is no convincing evidence of any qualities of feeling other
than pleasant and unpleasant._ There is evidence, on the other hand,
that the simple feelings form intimate and characteristic blends with
sensations, and especially with kinæsthetic and organic sensations; we
may call such blends =sense-feelings=. Every sensory stimulus, even so
local and trifling a thing as a tone of moderate intensity, sets up a
widespread organic disturbance: a result that is natural, perhaps, in
view of the manifold interconnections within the nervous system, but
that we are nevertheless likely to overlook. This organic stir brings
out kinæsthetic and organic sensations which may form the body of a
sense-feeling, developed round about the disturbing tone, and giving
it a peculiar tinge of feeling that it would not otherwise possess.
The same thing holds of other stimuli. We can distinguish _six types
or classes of these sense-feelings: the agreeable and disagreeable,
the exciting and subduing, and the straining and relaxing_. Tastes
and smells are preeminently agreeable or disagreeable. Deep tones are
solemn and serious, that is, subduing; high tones are cheerful and
playful, that is, exciting. The painter’s ‘warm’ colours, red and
yellow, are exciting; his ‘cold’ blues are subduing; the gloom of a
darkened room is positively depressing. Warmth and cold are themselves
exciting and subduing. The straining and relaxing feelings are
dependent upon the temporal course and succession of sensations; the
interminable pedal-point in _E_♭ with which Wagner begins the _Ring_
sets up a feeling of tension which is relaxed when the _B_♭ is added,
only to grow again, and again relax when new tones are introduced; and
if you follow the strokes of a slow-beating metronome you get a similar
alternation of the two sense-feelings. Notice that the six names
are all alike class-names; _the sense-feelings themselves appear in
numberless variety_; but any particular sense-feeling may be referred
to one or more of the classes. Notice also that the paired names are
all opposites: a sense-feeling may be agreeably exciting, or agreeably
subduing, but it cannot be excitingly subduing; and so on with the
rest. Remember finally that the simple feeling taken alone, and not
blended with sensory qualities into a sense-feeling, is always a bare
pleasant or unpleasant.

We must next discuss _the organic disturbances that accompany feeling
itself_. We know that feelings ‘express’ themselves in various ways;
we blush for shame and pale from fear; we shake with rage, and our
‘heart beats high’ with hope. Now it is possible to measure all these
organic changes; to record the rate and height of pulse, for instance,
or the variation in the volume of a limb according as blood flows into
it or is withdrawn from it; physiology puts the necessary instruments
at our disposal. The observer may therefore be harnessed to some such
system of recording apparatus, and may be subjected to some pleasant or
unpleasant stimulus; he reports what he feels, and the experimenter
is able to compare the report with the record from the instrument. The
results of work of this sort are summed up in the following table;
where a + stands for an increase, and a-for a decrease, of rate or
height or volume, as the case may be.

                          PLEASANT    UNPLEASANT
  Rate of pulse              -             +
  Height of pulse            +             -
  Volume of arm              +             -
  Rate of breathing          +             -
  Depth of breathing       ? -           ? +

The table asserts that, during a pleasant experience, our pulse is
slowed and heightened; blood flows from the trunk into the extremities;
and our breathing quickens and, perhaps, grows more shallow. During an
unpleasant experience, the reverse of all these things takes place.

The pleasant and unpleasant experiences here referred to are, of
course, agreeable and disagreeable sense-feelings; and we have the
right to correlate the organic changes with pleasant and unpleasant
feeling only because they remain the same so long as feeling remains
the same, whatever may be the character of the sensory stimulus. There
can be no doubt that similar tables may presently be made out for the
other sense-feelings; indeed, that must be the case, in so far as the
sense-feelings are stable blends of simple feeling with sensations.
But it is not easy, in the case of the other pairs, to secure a stable
blend, to keep the nature of the ‘excitement’ or the ‘relaxation’ just
the same from experiment to experiment; and we shall therefore make
no attempt here to list their bodily expressions. We come back to the
general subject of expression when we deal with emotion (§ 51).

Can we now say anything definite about _the nervous correlate of the
simple feelings_? Can we say what is going on in the nervous system
when we feel pleasantly or unpleasantly? Unfortunately no: _we have
many theories, but no positive knowledge_. There is, however, one view
of feeling which has persisted from Aristotle to the present day; and
we must say a word about it, if only because you cannot read far in
psychology without running against some form of it, and you should not
blindly accept it. We may call it the =biological theory= of feeling.
Aristotle said that pleasure (we must now use the old-fashioned terms)
accompanies the unimpeded exercise of any faculty, that is, the healthy
exercise of any mental faculty upon its appropriate object; and that
pain accompanies impeded activity. In more modern language, pleasure
is for Aristotle a matter of efficiency. Herbert Spencer puts the same
idea into evolutionary language; “pains are the correlatives of actions
injurious to the organism, while pleasures are the correlatives of
actions conducive to its welfare.” Does this statement really mean,
though, that a man’s personal pleasures are always good for him and
his personal pains bad for him?—because, if that is meant, it is
not difficult to think of any number of cases to the contrary. No,
not quite that; Spencer would qualify by saying that nature can only
strike an average for the species; she cannot attend in detail to the
individual; the sentence means that on the whole, in the long run,
pleasures are good and pains are bad for us. We might reply that it is
rather a poor average that makes the tearing off of a finger nail so
exquisitely painful, though the loss hardly matters, and that allows
the ravages of pulmonary tuberculosis to run so long a course before
warning is given to the suffering organism. But let us offer a definite
objection: a surgical operation is not pleasant; yet it may be the one
thing necessary to save life. Spencer has his answer: “special and
proximate pleasures and pains must be disregarded out of consideration
for remote and diffused pleasures and pains.” In that case,
however,—if the feelings are merely witnesses to the state of affairs
at the moment, and not prophets of the future,—the correlation does
not help us very much; nature’s achievement is less important, even
for the species, than it seemed at first. Or take another objection: I
am overheated, and I sit in a cooling draught; the result is catarrh
or pneumonia; yet the coolness was pleasant. To be sure, says the
biologist; and the local effect was good for you; the testimony of
the feelings is limited in space as I have just acknowledged it to be
limited in time. Again, however, we must rejoin that, in that event,
the correlation is of less importance to the race than it was asserted
to be; if things that are ‘sweet in the mouth’ are going to be ‘bitter
in the belly’ we want to know it; it is small comfort to be told that
the organ of taste is benefited by the pleasant sweetness. And so the
argument might go on.

There is yet another difficulty. “Every pleasure,” says Spencer,
“increases vitality; every pain decreases vitality. Every pleasure
raises the tide of life; every pain lowers the tide of life.” Yet we
read elsewhere that “pleasures are the incentives to life-supporting
acts, and pains the deterrents from life-destroying acts.” Pain, then,
is thoroughly bad for us, because it is detrimental to life; but pain
at the same time is thoroughly good for us, because it prevents our
doing what is detrimental to life. Pain as detrimental ought to have
been eliminated by natural selection; pain as warning of what is
detrimental has been conserved by natural selection. Can the two points
of view be reconciled?

_It would be foolish and overhasty to reject outright the biological
view of feeling_; the very fact that it has lasted through so many
centuries and, in some form or other, has appealed to so many
psychologists—the quotation which heads this chapter is a case in
point!—raises a presumption in its favour. Our conclusion must rather
be this: that general formulas, which need to be qualified almost as
soon as they are phrased, and which lay themselves open to all kinds of
specific objections, cannot help us to a psychology of feeling—or of
anything else. When we have found out, by detailed experimental work,
what the nervous correlate of simple feeling really is, then we may
perhaps advance to some general biological view; but the detailed work
must come first.

Questions and Exercises

(1) Answer the questions printed on pp. 255, 256 of F. Galton’s
_Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development_ (Everyman’s Library,
E. P. Dutton & Co., New York; price 35 cents). When you have answered
them, read Galton’s discussion of mental imagery, pp. 57 ff. (You will
find many other interesting things in the book; for instance, the
discussion of synæsthesia, pp. 105 ff.)

(2) Try to secure a memory after-image, (_a_) by glancing attentively
at a lamplit study-table, and then closing the eyes; and (_b_) by
listening attentively to a short musical phrase or to a dictated
sentence. How do you distinguish this image from a positive after-image?

(3) Describe the tied images that you find in the following figure.


(4) How is it that very great differences in mental imagery may go
undetected in everyday life?

(5) Try to give instances, from your own experience, (_a_) of the
confusion of sensation and image, (_b_) of memory-colours, and (_c_)
of the alteration of a perception by an image-complex. (An instance
under (_c_) would be, for example, your failure to find something that
you had lost, although it lay in plain sight, because you had a mental
picture of it, different from its actual look in perception.)

(6) The following have been given, by various psychologists, as
differences between sensation and simple feeling. What have you to
say about them? (_a_) Sensation depends upon a present stimulus;
feeling depends not only upon stimulus, but upon the whole state of
the individual at the moment. (_b_) Sensations range between maximal
differences; feelings between maximal opposites. (_c_) All sensations
have corresponding images; there is no image of pleasantness or
unpleasantness. (_d_) Sensations may be localised; feelings are not

(7) Professor Wundt, who first distinguished the groups of agreeable
and disagreeable, exciting and subduing, straining and relaxing
feelings, thinks that these experiences are not sense-feelings, but
are all simple feelings; so that there are three dimensions of simple
feeling, the pleasant-unpleasant, the exciting-subduing, and the
straining-relaxing, corresponding in a way with the three dimensions of
space. What criticism have you to offer? And how would you test Wundt’s

(8) Do you think that a mixed feeling, a feeling which is at the
same moment pleasant and unpleasant, is a possible experience? Give
your reasons, and support them by observations. Can you remember any
references, that bear on the question, in poetry or fiction?

(9) Analyse the sense-feelings of smarting pain, of health, of hunger,
of oppressive heat.

(10) Can you give, from your own experience, any evidence for the
belief that Weber’s law holds for intensity of feeling?

(11) The chapter teaches that the pleasantness of a perfume, of a word
of praise, and of a kindly action is, as simple feeling, identical;
there are no qualitative differences in the pleasant. To many persons
this teaching is repugnant. Why? and how should their objections be

(12) Define (without looking at the book!) sensation, simple image,
simple feeling.


On images: Galton, as above; D. Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature,
1739, bk. i., pt. i., § 1; J. E. Downey, An Experiment on Getting an
After-image from a Mental Image, in Psychological Review, viii., 1901,
42; E. B. Titchener, Lectures on the Experimental Psychology of the
Thought-processes, 1909, Lect. 1; Text-book of Psychology, 1910, 194

On feeling: H. Spencer, The Principles of Psychology, i., 1881, ch.
ix.; The Data of Ethics, 1887, chs. vi., vii.; J. M. Baldwin, Mental
Development in the Child and the Race: Methods and Processes, 1906, ch.
xvi., § 3; W. Wundt, Outlines of Psychology, trs. C. H. Judd, 1907,
§§ 7, 12; E. B. Titchener, Lectures on the Elementary Psychology of
Feeling and Attention, 1908, Lects. 2-4; Text-book of Psychology, 1910,
225 ff. For experimental methods: Titchener, Experimental Psychology,
I., i., 1901, ch. vii.; ii., 1901, ch. vii.; C. S. Myers, A Text-book
of Experimental Psychology, i., 1911, ch. xxiv.



 Quaeritur utrum intellectus noster possit multa simul intelligere.
 Respondeo dicendum quod intellectus quidem potest simul multa
 intelligere per modum unius, non autem multa per modum multorum.—ST.

§19. =The Problem of Attention.=—We have now finished our survey of
the elementary processes of mind; _all our complex experiences may be
analysed into sensations, simple images, and simple feelings_. There
has been no special difficulty, so far, in exchanging the common-sense
point of view for that of scientific psychology. You may not have
realised, positively and intimately, that sensations and simple images
are all meaningless; that we have described them simply as processes,
as experiences going on; you may have been surprised, in view of the
everyday distinction of perception from memory and imagination, to
find that the simple image is only doubtfully to be distinguished from
the sensation; and you may also have been surprised to learn that
the feelings owe their manifold variety of tang and tincture to the
sensations with which a simple feeling, pleasant or unpleasant, is
blended. There is, however, no real difficulty, when once these things
are pointed out, in taking up a scientific standpoint towards the
mental elements.

As soon as we pass to consider _attention_, the case is changed; we
come into definite conflict with popular psychology. =Common sense
regards attention as a voluntary concentration of the mind.= For
instance: I am sitting at my desk, thinking out and writing down the
sentences of this paragraph. As I write, I am subject to all sorts
of sensory stimuli; the temperature of the room, the pressure of my
clothes, the sight of various pieces of furniture, the sounds from
house and street, the scents coming from the room itself or borne
in through the open window, organic excitations of various kinds. I
could easily let my mind wander; I could lapse into reminiscence,
or give the rein to my imagination. Yet I am perfectly well able to
ignore all these distractions, and to concentrate upon my self-imposed
task. Surely, says common sense, surely the whole situation implies a
selective and spontaneous mental activity; I give my attention, of my
own accord, to a certain topic that I have myself chosen; I could, if
I liked, attend to something wholly different. That is _the nature of
attention as it is viewed by common sense_.

Let us see, however, how things look when we try to =describe=
attention, without making any effort to interpret or explain it.
Suppose that, as I sit writing this paragraph, I am called to the
telephone, or am interrupted by the entrance of a friend. My attention
is thus diverted to a new object. What happens? Something happens
that we can only describe as =a shift of the vividness of our mental
processes=. A moment ago, my psychological ideas were vivid, set (as it
were) in the focus of attention, while all other ideas and perceptions
were dim and marginal; now the incoming ideas—my friend’s business
or the subject of the message—drive to the front; they in their turn
become vivid and focal, while the psychological ideas, just lately
central and dominant, fall back, along with the perception of my
sensory surroundings, into the dim background. _Attention, therefore,
if we consider it purely descriptively, hinges not upon mental
activity, but upon the vividness of mental processes_; and the state
of attention may be described as a certain pattern or arrangement of
mental processes; whenever our experience shows the pattern of vivid
centre and dim background, of bright focus and obscure margin, then we
have attention before us.

What, then, is =vividness=? The answer has been given already (p. 66):
vividness is _one of the universal aspects or attributes of sensation_.
Just as all sensations vary in intensity, so do all sensations vary
in vividness. If you want a more positive answer; if you want to know
how precisely vividness ‘feels’ in experience; observe your mental
processes now, as you are puzzling over this book; the difference
between foreground and background, focus and margin,—between the
dominant ideas aroused by what you read, and the obscure perceptions
derived from your surroundings,—will show itself at any rate in the
rough. _Be careful not to confuse vividness with intensity_: when you
are listening intently for a very faint sound, the sound, as it comes,
is the most vivid experience you have, although it is near the lower
limit of intensity; and when you are absorbed in your work, the sound
of the dinner-gong in the hall may be very dim and obscure, although
it is loud enough to be heard all over the house. _Be careful, too, not
to confuse sensory vividness with definiteness of meaning_ (p. 29). A
patch of colour in an oil-painting may strongly attract your attention,
may thus be extremely vivid, and may yet be altogether unintelligible;
and another patch of colour, that you have passed over with ‘half a
glance’ and that remains permanently in the background of experience,
may carry the perfectly definite meaning of a dead soldier. Differences
of vividness are neither differences of strong and weak in sensation,
nor of distinct and indistinct in understanding; they are more like
differences of robust and weakly, or of self-assertive and retiring.

These preliminary remarks are, perhaps, enough to show the nature
of _the problem that attention sets to a scientific psychology_. We
shall be concerned with sensory vividness; we have to find out under
what circumstances a sensation or image becomes vivid, and under what
circumstances it becomes obscure; we have to trace the pattern of
attention in greater detail and with more accuracy; we have to ask how
many sensations may be vivid at the same time, and how long they remain
vivid; and so on. We must keep the common-sense view always in mind,
so that the scientific alternative stands out clearly and distinctly
against it; and we must take scientific account of all that common
sense lays down.

§ 20. =The Development of Attention.=—If we consider a large number
of cases of attention, we find that they fall into three great
groups; and each one of these groups seems to represent a stage in the
development of mind at large, a level of mental evolution. We speak
accordingly of =primary=, of =secondary=, and of =derived primary
attention=. Let us consider them in order.

(1) _Primary attention._—There are certain classes of stimuli
that force attention upon us; they take us by storm, and we can
offer no resistance; when they appear, we must attend, whatever our
preoccupation may be. _Intensive_ stimuli belong to this class: very
loud sounds, very bright lights, strong tastes and smells, severe
pressures, extreme temperatures, intense pains, one and all take
possession of us, dominate us in their own right. A stimulus that is
often _repeated_ is also likely to attract the attention, even if at
first it went unremarked. _Sudden_ stimuli, and sudden changes of
stimulus, have the same effect. So with _movement_: the animal or bird
that crosses the landscape, the melody that rises and falls to a steady
accompaniment, the insect that crawls over our hand as we lie on the
grass, all alike constrain our attention. A _novel_ stimulus has the
same power; it stands alone and unrelated; it startles or arrests us.

Here then is a fairly long list—high intensity, repetition,
suddenness, movement, novelty—of controls to which the human organism
is subject. Let any one of them come into play, and _the corresponding
sensation is made vivid_, shoots to the focus, engrosses us. We may
very quickly shake off the control, and return to the business that
it interrupted; but we cannot altogether escape it. The irresistible
appeal of these various modes of stimulation shows us attention at its
first developmental level.

(2) _Secondary attention._—This casual and forced attention is not,
however, what we ordinarily mean when we speak of ‘giving attention’
to something. We mean rather the sustained attention that we pay to a
task, a lecture, a puzzle; we often mean an attention that goes against
the grain, in which _we_ seem to do the forcing, holding our mind
by main force upon a tedious and uninteresting subject. Is not this
secondary attention very different from primary attention? Let us see.

If you think how many sense-organs man has, all of them open to
manifold stimulation at the same time; and if you think, further, how
many different lines of interest man has, all of them likely to bring
up ideas of memory or ideas of imagination; you will realise that only
very powerful stimuli, those that make an unescapeable biological
appeal to the organism, can compel attention—that is, can thrust
their sensations to the focus—as if in disregard of competition. Such
stimuli are _hors de concours_; all the rest have to face their rivals.
This fact gives us the answer to our question. Secondary attention is
in reality nothing else than _a conflict of nerve-forces, each one of
which, if it were acting alone, would make its sensation or image the
most vivid bit of experience at the moment, but each one of which is
continually checked and thwarted by other forces that are urging their
own sensations or images to the front_. We might say, in brief, that
secondary attention is a conflict of two or more primary attentions;
but we must remember that the actual fighting is done in the nervous
system; we shall say more of that presently. We can observe some part
of this struggle; our mind wanders, our eye is caught by some chance
movement and we lose the thread of our work, we surprise ourselves
thinking of something else, we look at our watch to see how the hour
is going; in a word, the focal processes are instable; now one and now
another perception or idea becomes more vivid than the rest; and the
continual shift of vividness is proof of the conflict of the underlying

And the outcome? The outcome is that _the stronger side always wins_.
Not necessarily the stronger side as we observe it; there may be a
more impressive array of ideas on the side that finally gives way; but
the side that has the stronger nerve-forces. It is quite certain that
_nervous forces or tendencies_—think of the force of habit!—_may
guide and direct the course of our thoughts, even though they do not
themselves contribute to thought_, even though (that is) they have no
sensory or imaginal correlates. We shall have more to say of these
guiding tendencies later; meantime let us give an illustration of
their power. Suppose that an observer comes into the laboratory to
take part in a certain experiment, and that the experimenter carefully
explains to him what he is to do. The next day he comes again, and
the explanation is repeated. The next day he comes again; this time
the experimenter says nothing; the experiment just goes on in the
usual way; and so on the following days. Suppose, however, that on the
twentieth day the experimenter says: ‘Are you thinking about what I
told you to do?’ The observer, fearing that he has done wrong, and
feeling very repentant, says: ‘No! to tell the truth I had forgotten
all about it; it had absolutely gone out of my mind; have I been
making mistakes?’ He had not made any mistake; but his reply shows
that a certain tendency, impressed upon his nervous system by the
experimenter’s original explanation, had been effective to direct his
ideas long after the idea of the explanation itself had disappeared.
And what happens here, in a few days’ work in the laboratory, is
happening every day of our lives in the wider experience outside of the

We see, therefore, that there is nothing spontaneous or active about
secondary attention. It is merely primary attention over again, but
_primary attention under difficulties_; it is a direct consequence of
the multiplication of perceptions and ideas, and of the complexity of
the nervous system.

(3) _Derived primary attention._—One of the strongest proofs that
there is no real difference between primary and secondary attention
is that, in course of time, these difficulties vanish. Habit, as we
say, becomes second nature; the thoughts that at first moved haltingly
and with all sorts of interruption gradually become absorbing; work
that was once done with pains and labour grows fascinating, and makes
an unquestioned demand upon us. So the period of struggle ends, and
_we slip back again into primary attention; only this derived form is
controlled, not by the great biological stimuli, but by impressions
that fit in with our acquired interests_. The collector, the inventor,
the expert are roused to keen attention by stimuli which the rest
of the world pass without special notice. Most of the striking
coincidences of life are accounted for by this law; you are thinking
about certain things, and something happens that, because you are
thus thinking and because it is akin to the subject of your thought,
captures your attention. ‘What an amazing coincidence!’ you cry; but if
you had been occupied with some other topic, there would have been no
coincidence. The man in Mr. Kipling’s story who wondered, years after
the event, ‘how in the world he could have written such good stuff as
that’, had written under this same law of attention; for when you are
thoroughly absorbed in a subject, relevant facts and ideas crowd upon
you; the mind stands open to them, while it is fast locked against the
irrelevant; and you surpass yourself. There is, to be sure, another
side to the picture; the enthusiastic adoption of a belief or theory
throws into brilliant relief all the facts that tell in its favour, but
blinds you to the considerations that make against it.

In sum, then, =attention appears in the human mind at three stages
of development=: as primary attention, determined by any stimulus
that is biologically powerful; as secondary attention, during which a
perception or idea dominates the mind in face of opposition; and as
derived primary attention, when this perception or idea has gained
practically undisputed ascendency over its rivals. Looking at life in
the large, we may say that the period of training or education is a
period of secondary attention, and that the following period of mastery
and achievement is a period of derived primary attention. Looking at
experience more in detail, we see that education itself consists,
psychologically, in an alternation of the two attentions; habit is
made the basis of further acquisition, and acquisition, gained with
effort, passes in its turn into habit; the cycle recurs, so long as the
nervous system remains plastic. Secondary attention thus appears as a
stage of transition, of conflict, of waste of nervous energy, though it
appears also as the necessary preliminary to a stage of real knowledge.
Meanwhile and all the while there is no escape from interruption by the
original primary attention; but the interruptions grow less and less
disturbing as civilisation proceeds.

§ 21. =The Nature of Attention.=—Our next task, in the words of p. 93,
is to _trace the pattern of attention_, to describe as accurately as
possible the arrangement of our vivid and obscure sensations. Notice
that, in popular parlance, attention covers only the vivid processes of
the moment; psychologically, however, the term includes both the vivid
and the obscure, those that we are ‘distracted from’ as well as those
that we are ‘attending to,’ This being understood, we may attempt a

It seems that, _in most cases, the state of attention is_ =twofold=
_and only twofold_. There is a cluster of sensations at the centre, all
of approximately the same vividness, and there is a mass of sensations
in the background, all of approximately the same obscurity. Suppose
that you are looking at one of the puzzle-pictures that are published
in certain magazines,—trying to find a face outlined in the branches
of a tree. At first, the whole picture is vivid, and the rest of your
experience is obscure. Suddenly you find what you are seeking; and
what happens? In all likelihood, the picture drops with a jerk into
the general dimness of the background, while the face that you have
discovered stands out by itself in all imaginable vividness; you forget
the picture, and see nothing but the face. The state of attention,
then, in this its usual form, may be represented by two concentric
circles; a small inner circle stands for the focus of attention, a
large outer circle circumscribes its margin. There is experimental
evidence that, when our sensations are thus arranged, their vividness
and obscurity are, as the arithmetics say, inversely proportional; _the
more vivid the central processes, the more obscure are the marginal_;
or, in untechnical language, the more we are concentrated upon any one
thing, the less liable are we to distraction by other things. This
twofold arrangement seems to be, for most of us, the regular pattern
of attention; but certain observations in the laboratory, which are
borne out by statements in various text-books of psychology, make it
practically certain that _there is another, less frequent and more
complicated type of arrangement_. Here the picture does not drop clear
down into the background, when the face is found, but remains poised
somewhere between focal vividness and marginal obscurity; so that three
degrees of vividness—sometimes even four have been reported—may be
distinguished in one and the same state of attention. In such cases,
attention must be represented by three or four concentric circles; the
inner and the outer still show the focus and margin of the total state;
the others indicate that there are sensations present whose vividness
lies somewhere between those extremes. Whether the focal processes
suffer from the rivalry of the moderately vivid sensations; whether,
that is, attention in its threefold or fourfold pattern is necessarily,
even at the best, of a lower degree than the best attention of the
twofold kind, we do not know.

Our description of attention is so far complete; but there are two
further questions that naturally occur. Do we not attend to what
‘interests’ us? In that case, however, attention must imply feeling.
And is not sustained attention tiring? In that case, attention would
seem to imply muscular sensation. These are undoubtedly points to
be considered, and we must try to get at the facts. _Are feeling
and kinæsthesis necessary in attention_, or are they merely chance
accompaniments of the attentive state?

It all depends upon the stage of development at which attention
appears. At first, in =primary attention=, the organism _perceived_
the strong or sudden or novel or moving thing, as sight or sound or
touch, and also _felt_ it, as disturbing or startling or surprising;
attention implied a sense-feeling. At the same time, the organism _took
up an attitude_ to the stimulus, in the literal sense; faced it, as
peering and listening and frightened animals face such stimuli to-day.
At this stage, then, _the shift of vividness is always accompanied
both by feeling and by sensations_,—sensations due to internal bodily
changes and to muscular attitude. Then comes =secondary attention=,
with its conflict between various claimants for the inner circle of
attention; and the conflicting stimuli will, naturally, arouse a medley
of sense-feelings and set up a struggle of more or less incompatible
motor attitudes. In civilised man, the scene of the conflict has been
largely transferred from perception to idea; but _the effort that we
make when we apply ourselves to a task, the difficulty that we have
in settling down, the fatigue that results from sustained work upon
a difficult theme_, all these things are reminders of the general
uneasiness and restlessness that characterise secondary attention
at the perceptive level. Only when we come to =derived primary
attention= do feeling and kinæsthesis cease to be necessary factors
in the attentive state. What we call mechanical, habitual, expert,
professional attention means extremely vivid experience; but it _need
not involve either feeling or kinæsthetic sensation_. Attention is no
longer turbid with organic processes; the stream of mind has cleared
itself. Common sense would say, and rightly, that a cool and critical
poise has replaced the older animal excitement, and would emphasize the
value of this change. We do not question the value; but we are at the
end of our psychological enquiry when we have shown what the change in
experience actually is, and how it is brought about.

But are we at the end? Should we not say something about =inattention=,
which in everyday life we take to be the opposite of attention? have
we not still to describe the inattentive state? No: _in the normal
waking life there is, in strictness, no such thing as inattention_. We
give that name to an attention which is directed upon what we regard
as an improper object. The inattentive person is merely attending to
something else; the pattern remains the same. It is possible that, in
certain abnormal cases, all mental processes alike run their course in
relative obscurity; but even here we are not dealing with inattention;
there is some weakness or obstruction of nerve-forces, which prevents
sensations from reaching their full normal vividness.

§ 22. =The Experimental Study of Attention.=—The question of the
=range= of attention,—how many sensations or images may occupy the
focus at the same time,—was canvassed in the Middle Ages: witness our
quotation from St. Thomas. The first appeal to experiment seems to have
been made, in the late thirties of the past century, by the Scottish
philosopher Sir Wm. Hamilton. “You can easily make the experiment for
yourselves,” Hamilton tells his students, “but you must beware of
grouping the objects into classes. If you throw a handful of marbles on
the floor, you will find it difficult to view at once more than six, or
seven at most, without confusion; but if you group them into twos, or
threes, or fives, you can comprehend as many groups as you can units.”
The experiment is not very rigorous; but more accurate work on the
subject shows that Hamilton was not far wrong. _If a field of simple
visual stimuli is shown for a brief time, the practised observer is in
fact able to grasp six of them_; and if familiar groups are substituted
for the separate stimuli (short words for letters, or playing-card
fives for single dots), the range of visual attention remains the same.

_In this case the stimuli are presented together in space; they may
also be presented in time._ If you listen to a metronome beating,
say, 15 in the minute, you will be able with practice to hold _six
successive strokes_ in the focus of attention, but not more; if you
try to group the seventh stroke with the preceding six you become
confused; the series breaks, and cannot be welded together again. As
the speed of the metronome is increased, the beats fall of themselves
into groups of twos and threes; and you can still grasp and hold six
of these rhythmical impressions. When the speed has reached some 200
in the minute, the rhythmical grouping becomes more complicated; as
many as eight single beats may be bound together in a rhythmical unit;
and the attention is adequate, again after practice, to five of these
complex groups; the focus comprises no less than forty separate strokes
of the pendulum. _This result, we may note, agrees very well with the
canons of musical and poetic composition._ The musical phrase never
contains more than six measures, and the poetical line or verse never
contains more than six feet; a seven-measured phrase or a seven-footed
line falls to pieces, ceases to be unitary. The rhythmical wholes of a
higher order, the period in music and the stanza or strophe in poetry,
never contain more than five phrases or verses; as a rule, neither
contains more than four.

So much for range; we turn to consider =duration=; how long can a
sensation maintain itself at the focus? how long can we attend to a
single simple impression? The early experiments on this question were
most ingenious. The observer was required to look steadily at a little
disc of very light grey, shown against a white background, or to listen
intently to the very faint sound of a stream of fine sand; and the
theory was that, since these stimuli were barely distinguishable at
the outset, any lapse of attention, any decline in the vividness of the
sensations, would blot them out altogether; they would disappear. The
sensations did disappear, after a few seconds; and then, after another
few seconds, came back; and so the conclusion was drawn that attention
fluctuates, that we can attend to a single simple impression only for
a few seconds at a time. No doubt attention fluctuates; but these
experiments, unfortunately, are not to the point; for the disappearance
and reappearance of the sensations can be accounted for by changes in
the sense-organ, by adaptation, by twitching of the eyes, and so on.
Other experiments have therefore been suggested. If we have recourse
to smell and touch, we find that the course of adaptation to an odour,
or to the pressure of a small weight laid upon the skin, may be
followed attentively, without noticeable fluctuation, for two or three
minutes; and the observers report that they could have kept up their
attention still longer. Again, however, objection may be raised; for
as adaptation advances, the sensation grows fainter and fainter; and
the attention is thus continually spurred to hold it; the observer is
not attending to an unchanging process, but is sharpening his attention
to something that becomes more and more difficult to fix. Here we are,
for the present, at a standstill. _There is no doubt that attention
fluctuates_; the bare fact is plain enough in our everyday experience;
but we have no experimental ground for a more definite statement.

Experiments have also been made to determine the =bodily changes= which
occur in the state of secondary attention (p. 102). It is found that
the volume of the brain increases, while the volume of the arm (save in
experiments in which tactual stimuli are employed) decreases. Breathing
becomes shallower; and expiration becomes relatively longer as compared
with inspiration, so that the quotient _I_: _E_, time of inspiration
divided by time of expiration, becomes less. There are changes in the
rate of pulse; but they seem to differ according as the attention is
‘sensory’ or ‘intellectual,’—according, that is, as the focal process
is a sensation or something more complicated, a perception or idea:
in sensory attention the pulse beats more slowly, in intellectual
attention more quickly, than its normal rate. It is natural that the
blood, in attention, should be drawn from the members to the brain; it
is natural, too, that this rule should be broken when a limb is itself
the ‘object’ of attention; and we all know that there is a tendency,
when we are attentive, to hold the breath; so that the changes of
volume and breathing are not surprising. Nothing more can be said at
present of the changes in rate of pulse.

§ 23. =The Nervous Correlate of Attention.=—It remains to say a word
about the nature of the nerve-forces (§ 20) which underlie attention.
Physiologists tell us that one nervous process may influence another
in two opposite ways: by helping and by hindering, or, in technical
terms, by =reinforcement= and =inhibition=. Let us take an elementary
example of what they mean. Suppose that a frog has been reduced, by
the removal of its cerebral hemispheres, to a mere nerve-and-muscle
machine; it lives, but it cannot sense or feel, and it does not move
‘of its own accord.’ If, now, a weak pressure is applied to the frog’s
hind foot, there is no visible response; the limb remains passive. But
if at the same moment a light is flashed into the eye, the leg-muscles
may be thrown into strong contraction. Here we must suppose that the
two nervous processes, from skin and eye, have in some way helped
each other; there is nervous reinforcement. If, again, a pressure is
applied to a certain part of the frog’s body, the animal croaks. If a
strong pressure is applied to another part of the body, it replies by a
contraction of the muscles. If, however, the two pressures are applied
together, the frog does not both croak and move; it does neither; there
is no response to the stimuli. Here, therefore, we must suppose that
the two nervous processes interfere with each other; there is nervous

It seems plain that these two influences are at work among the nervous
processes correlated with attention. _The vivid sensations at the
focus are sensations whose corresponding nervous processes have been
reinforced, and the dim sensations of the background are sensations
whose corresponding nervous processes have been inhibited._ No doubt,
the distribution of these forces, in a given instance, is really a
matter of _degree_; the reinforced nervous process receives more
reinforcement than inhibition, and conversely. No doubt, also, the
_removal_ of an existing inhibition may produce the same effect as the
addition of a reinforcement, and conversely. We are still too much in
the dark as regards the intimate character of the nerve-forces, we
know too little of their actual course as nervous function in nervous
structure, to be able properly to distinguish cases. There is evidence
that _inhibition_ may be extraordinarily effective: thus the late
Dr. W. B. Carpenter relates that he “has frequently begun a lecture,
whilst suffering neuralgic pain so severe as to make him apprehend
that he would find it impossible to proceed; yet no sooner has he,
by a determined effort, fairly launched himself into the stream of
thought, than he has found himself continuously borne along without the
least distraction, until the end has come, and the attention has been
released; when the pain has recurred with a force that has overmastered
all resistance, making him wonder how he could ever have ceased to feel
it.” _Reinforcement_ also may be carried to a high degree: how else
could the listener follow the part assigned to some special group of
instruments in the orchestra, while he still hears the full harmony?
and how, still more, could the conductor single out the particular
violin-player, who has mistaken a note, from the group of sixteen who
are all playing precisely the same part?

We may suppose, therefore, that _one and the same pattern of attention
is due to very varied combinations of reinforcing and inhibiting
nerve-forces_. How then shall we account for the fact that, in any
given instance, vividness and obscurity are inversely proportional
(p. 100)? The reason seems to be—though we could not have learned
it from the experiments on the frog—that a reinforcement and a
corresponding inhibition always go hand in hand; you cannot reinforce
one process without at the same time inhibiting others, and you
cannot inhibit without reinforcing. _The nerve-forces are thus
interlinked or, as we might say, double-acting._ We are struck by
the inhibition in Carpenter’s case; but the case has another side;
for the more successful the inhibition of the neuralgia, the better
was the lecture delivered. So we are struck by the reinforcement in
the case of the conductor; but that, too, has another side; for the
keener his attention to the music, the more oblivious is he of his
other surroundings. We shall come back later to this notion of the
interlinking of the nerve-forces, and shall indicate the evidence upon
which it rests.

In summary, we may repeat our general statement that _vividness
is paralleled by nervous reinforcement, and obscurity by nervous
inhibition_. Only we must realise that the processes actually going on
in the brain may be very complicated; many separate forces may be at
work behind the single mental pattern, and their action may be brought
about in different ways; and we must remember also that every one of
these separate forces is double-faced, reinforcing and inhibiting at
the same time.

Questions and Exercises

(1) “So numerous and varied are the ramifications of attention, that
we find it defined by competent authorities as a state of muscular
contraction and adaptation, as a pure mental activity, as an emotion
or feeling, and as a change in the clearness of ideas. Each of the
definitions can be justified from the facts, if we put the chief
emphasis now upon one phase and now upon another of its varied
expressions” (W. B. Pillsbury, Attention, 1908, 1). Discuss this

(2) Give instances, from your own experience, of the three levels of
attention. Trace the development (still from your own experience) of
derived primary from secondary attention.

(3) Describe carefully the attitudes (_a_) of the scout (secondary
visual attention) and (_b_) of the eavesdropper (secondary auditory
attention). How do you account for their difference?

(4) A child that has fallen and hurt itself stops crying if you offer
it a toy; a soldier who in the heat of battle has received a serious
wound may know nothing of it, and may go on fighting till he drops from
exhaustion; many a martyr has suffered at the stake with calm serenity.
How far are these cases explicable by the laws of attention?

(5) Criticise Sir Wm. Hamilton’s experiment. Do not be satisfied till
you have found several reasons for distrusting its result.

(6) Do the lower animals ever give evidence of derived primary

(7) You can follow the movement of a single instrument in the orchestra
better, when it has been playing a solo before, than when the whole
group of instruments begin together. Why is this? Give other instances
of the same law.

(8) It has been proposed to measure the degree of attention by
measuring the degree of effort which accompanies it. What have you to
say to the proposal?

(9) How could you tell, by outward observation, whether a child is
attentive or inattentive? and whether it is adequate to its task or
is in difficulties? Do not just list the symptoms; make your answer

(10) Determine the range of attention (_a_) by help of an ordinary
metronome, set at various rates. You must not count the beats, since
every count would mean a separate attention. Determine the range also
(_b_) by help of the letter-diagram and cardboard screen figured by W.
Wundt, An Introduction to Psychology, 1912, 19. Notice the remark (p.
23) that the experimenter must practise covering and uncovering the

(11) Paint or paste a small disc of light grey on a white cardboard
ground. Move so far away that the spot is only just distinguishable.
Call out Gone! and Back! as it disappears and reappears, and have the
times noted on the seconds-dial of a watch. Explain the fluctuation, in
your own words, as due to adaptation and eye-movement. Can you devise
a simple method of showing (by means of the negative after-image) that
unnoticed eye-movements really occur?

(12) St. Thomas asks whether the mind can grasp more than one thing at
a time; and replies that it can, if the various things are regarded
as making up a single whole, but that it cannot, if they are regarded
in their variety and particularity. Can you put all this into
psychological language? And can you find any difference between St.
Thomas’ question and our own question as to the range of attention?


Sir W. Hamilton, Lectures on Metaphysics, i., 1859, 254; W. B.
Carpenter, Principles of Mental Physiology, 1888, ch. iii.; W. James,
Principles of Psychology, i., 1890, ch. xi.; W. Wundt, Lectures on
Human and Animal Psychology, 1896, Lect. xvii.; Outlines of Psychology,
1907, § 15; W. B. Pillsbury, Attention, 1908; E. B. Titchener, Lectures
on the Elementary Psychology of Feeling and Attention, 1908, Lects.
v.-viii.; Text-book of Psychology, 1910, 265 ff.



 If we cross the fingers, a single object beneath them appears to be
 two; and yet we do not say that there are two, for sight is more
 decisive than touch; but if touch were our only sense, our judgment
 would declare that the single object is two.—ARISTOTLE

§ 24. =The Problem in General.=—The chapters on the mental
elements—sensation, simple image, feeling—have made you acquainted
with the _results_ of psychological analysis; it was only occasionally
that you were asked to analyse for yourself. Henceforth we shall be
dealing with experiences that offer themselves _for_ analysis; with
experiences that, however simple they may at first sight appear, turn
out on investigation to be complex. We shall thus be following the
example of those men who, long centuries ago, tried to bring order
into mental phenomena and to establish a science of mind. We have an
enormous advantage; for they were working in the dark, and we are
working in the light of their discoveries. Still, our procedure will
be the same as theirs; and the change of work brings with it certain
difficulties that you must realise at the outset and be ready to face.
Well begun is half done.

First of all, then, your reading henceforth will be more difficult,
because you will have to _keep more things in mind_. The analysis even
of so comparatively simple a thing as a perception or idea cannot be
performed in one breath. A knot in a rope may be beautifully simple,
and yet you may spend a week in learning it! Secondly, the examples
chosen by the author may not be just the right _examples_ for you;
even perceptions and ideas, again, differ a good deal in different
minds; and an example that is illuminating to one reader may leave
another quite blind. So you must look for your own examples in your
own experience. Thirdly, you have now to wrestle with the problem of
_meaning_ (p. 26); for all perceptions and ideas, and all our still
more complicated experiences, mean something; a perception is always
the perception _of_ a tree or a wedding or what not; and an idea too is
always the idea _of_ something, whether of the landing of Columbus or
of the quarrels of the gods in Homer. You must get clear, then, about
the psychology of meaning. Fourthly, these concrete experiences that
you are to analyse have a long _history_; and in seeking their nervous
correlates we shall be obliged, oftentimes, to go far back, even beyond
the individual, to the development of the race. In doing this we do not
change the problem of psychology (p. 18), but we enlarge our view of
it; a mere reference to the organ of sense or the present condition of
the nervous system is no longer enough.

All this means, in summary, that we are passing from the abstract to
the concrete, from the meaningless to the meaningful, from the simple
to the complex. We still keep to our scientific point of view, and
we still employ our scientific method. The change is not in us, who
are psychologising, but in our subject-matter; the plot begins to
thicken; and this growing complexity of subject-matter naturally makes
increasing demand upon our scientific resources.

§ 25. =The Analysis of Perception and Idea.=—Sensations and simple
images can hardly occur, by themselves alone, in our everyday
experience. The practised psychologist may be able to focalise a
sensation, to make it so vivid that it stands out almost as it would
under the experimental control of the laboratory; but his is an
exceptional case. The units of our daily experience are rather such
things as the sound of the piano in the next room, the sight of the
tree budding just outside the window, the memory of last winter’s
snow-piles, the forecast of to-night’s Pathetic Symphony; that is, they
are _perceptions_ and _ideas_. Notice that they come to us in the first
place as units, as wholes; they show no lines of natural cleavage;
they are unitary and self-contained. Yet they are not psychologically
simple; if they were, we should never have lit upon sensations and
simple images. _All perceptions and ideas may be analysed._

A typical =perception= _resolves, to begin with, into a number of
sensations_. The sound of the piano is, after all, the sound of certain
compound tones, played together and in succession; and the sight of
the tree is an arrangement of colours. The characteristic part of a
perception, then, the part that we may conveniently call its core or
nucleus, may thus be analysed into sensations. Only the core, however;
for _the sensations are supplemented, secondly, by various images_.
The sound comes to us as the sound of _the_ piano, the instrument
of that familiar look; and we may have an imaginal hint of the child
playing, of the score, of its special difficulties, of all sorts of
related things. The tree, too, is _that_ tree, the familiar cherry that
the caterpillars infest so badly, that grew so much last year, that
will presently cut off the view across the street, that very likely
will interfere with the beech. Remember that these are the author’s
instances, and that you must replace them by your own! The point is
that the complement of images is there; and you will notice that it is
not stable; it may be full or scant, and it may lead the mind this way
or that; but, whatever it be, it puts more into the perception than the
sensory stimuli can account for; we perceive more than we hear or see.

Yes, and we perceive more than is furnished us by sensations and
images. It is a fact (which you will better understand presently) that
_every perception is shaped and moulded by the action of nerve-forces
which show themselves neither in sensation nor in image_. The nervous
system, whether by racial heritage or by individual habit, meets its
impressions halfway, and throws them into certain customary forms. We
take both the tree and the piano to be real things, and we take them
to be things that occupy real space; we perceive them as objects of
the outside world, and we perceive them as solid or space-filling. We
do this because we have a natural and ingrained tendency to cast our
perceptions into the forms of ‘thing’ and ‘space’; and this tendency of
the nervous system does its work automatically; it has no correlate
of sensation or image; but it is none the less effective, so to say,
_behind_ the sensations and the images, in determining the perception.
You must just accept this statement now; it will become clearer later

A typical =idea=, in the same way, _has a core or nucleus of images_.
Last winter’s snow may come to us in many different ways, because our
equipment of images is very variable (pp. 75 f.); it will come to most,
perhaps, as a visual picture, an uneven spread of white, with streaks
of grey-brown on the peaks and along the valleys, honeycombed and
broken from some partial thaw. To-night’s music will come, possibly,
as the sound of the opening adagio measures, or of some theme from
the allegro. Here again, however, the nucleus has its surroundings;
_other images cluster about it_; we recall the day so-and-so got his
feet wet, or the big fall of that December Thursday; we see our place
in the concert-hall, or hope that this time the tympani will be in
tune. _Nor is the idea altogether a matter of images._ We can hardly
think of those opening measures without kinæsthetic sensations from the
throat, or from some muscular beat of the rhythm; we can hardly think
of getting our feet wet, or of seating ourselves in the hall, without
some actual movement that arouses sensation. Find your own instances,
once more, and do not trust the author! You will find that _the typical
idea is thus in part sensation, just as the typical perception is in
part image_. Finally, the idea, too, is subject to the pressure of
the _directive nerve-forces_; it takes the same customary forms as
the perception. Columbus is thought of as a real person, acting in a
real world of space and time; and Zeus as an imaginary person in an
imaginary world; but there is no difference in the form of the ideas,
and no difference of form between these ideas and the perception of the
stranger who has just passed the window.

So we have _the characteristic nucleus; the varying complement; and the
brain-habit behind all_. And if we can analyse the perception or idea,
nucleus and surroundings both, into its mental elements; if we can say
what nervous processes are correlated with these elementary mental
processes; and if we can further establish the nature of the guiding
and shaping nerve-forces; then our psychological account will be, in
strictness, complete. Yet we shall have passed over something that,
as we have ourselves admitted, is in everyday life most strikingly
characteristic of these experiences; the fact, namely, that they
=mean=; that our perception of the tree means the tree, is a perception
_of_ that tree, and our idea of snow means the snow, is an idea _of_
that snow. _What, then, from the psychological point of view, is this

§ 26. =Meaning in Perception and Idea.=—We learned in § 6 that mental
processes are not intrinsically meaningful, that meaning is not a
constituent part of their nature. We have seen, indeed, that the whole
notion of meaning is really foreign to science. When we ask, then, what
meaning is, from the psychological point of view, are we not asking an
irrelevant and unscientific question?

Not necessarily. A science cannot free itself, offhand, from its own
history; and, historically, psychology has been much concerned with
meaning. Moreover, meaning is of very great practical importance; we
communicate meanings, we apprehend meanings, we act upon meanings; and
although science is not bound to treat only of what is practically
important, yet it can hardly neglect a matter of great practical
importance that comes its way. Our question, if we rephrase it a
little, merely asks _that a term, familiar to us in our daily life,
be translated into the language of science_; and if the translation
out of common sense into science is to be made at all, psychology is
the science in which the equivalent of meaning will be found. For
these reasons we are justified in discussing the matter here; and the
question at issue—let us be quite clear about it—is this: What mental
processes, in perception and idea, are the scientific equivalent of
what we know in everyday life as meaning? _what processes carry the

The answer is that the processes which surround the nucleus carry the
meaning. _Psychologically regarded, meaning is always context_; and
the context is the fringe of related processes that gathers about the
central group of sensations or images. Ordinarily, as our analysis has
shown, the two come together; but they may be disjoined. When the word
‘house’ becomes meaningless with repetition (p. 26), it is because the
bare sound grows more and more vivid and dominant; like the nestling
cuckoo, it drives out its normal associates; and these associates,
the carriers of its meaning, sink lower and lower into the obscurity
of the background. So the meaning, almost literally, drops off, falls
away. When one and the same experience has different meanings, it is
because the context varies; we read, for instance, that so-and-so
received a warm welcome, and we put directly opposite interpretations
on the words, according as so-and-so was friend or enemy. When we
mistake a meaning, it is because we supply a context of our own: what
child, reading that “the quality of mercy is not strain’d,” has not
thought of mercy being wrung out through a strainer, as the cook wrings
the water out of cottage-cheese in a muslin bag? The context of images
is obvious; the rain falls freely, like water poured through a sieve;
but what is _strained_ comes out grudgingly in drops. When one and
the same meaning attaches to several experiences, it is because these
different experiences are received into the same context, or into a
context so nearly the same that for practical purposes the differences
disappear; for example, the experiences may be named, that is, may
be received into a context of verbal ideas; and verbal ideas tend to
become stereotyped, as it were, into permanent groups. All the facts of
§ 6 are to be accounted for in this way, by the distinction of nucleus
and context.

_Originally, we must suppose, meaning was carried exclusively by
kinæsthetic and organic sensations._ Think of the animal that we
pictured on p. 101 as startled by some sudden stimulus and as facing
the stimulus by way of a bodily attitude; the sensation is hemmed in,
like a jewel in its setting, by the sensations of organic stir and
motor posture; and these sensations give the meaning; they cry out
‘Danger!’; they are the psychological equivalent, the carriers, of that
meaning; without them the sensation would be meaningless. _Meaning is
thus older than the free image_; and kinæsthesis is still, for many of
us, the characteristic context, the common denominator of our meanings;
we hinted at this rôle on p. 47. None the less, the development of
free images, the images of memory and imagination, changes the whole
situation; kinæsthesis now has many rivals; and it depends on our
individual equipment of images, on our ‘type of mind,’ whether a
meaning shall be carried by a quiver of the stomach or some muscular
set, or whether it shall be carried by some complex of images. If we
were to work out a great number of cases, we should probably find that
_any sensory or imaginal process whatsoever is able, in our adult human
experience, to carry the meaning of any other_.

There is yet a further stage: a stage in which _meaning is carried
not by any sort of sensation or image, but simply and solely by
physiological processes_, by some set or disposition of the brain.
When the practised reader skims a number of pages in quick succession;
when the musician renders a composition in the prescribed key; when
an accomplished linguist shifts from one language to another as he
turns to his right or left hand neighbour at a dinner table; in cases
of this kind there need be no discoverable context; the stimuli press
the button, and the brain, prepared by constant practice in the past,
now does the rest. The experiences _mean_, positively enough; the
‘sense’ of the pages is grasped, as the eye hurries over the lines;
the three flats on the staff set the player’s hand and eye for the key
of E♭; the question put in French is suitably answered in the same
language; everything takes place _as if_ there were a fringe of images
that gave meaning to the bare perceptions; and yet imaginal fringe
and kinæsthetic setting may be conspicuous only by their absence.
Of course, there _has been_ context; one does not learn French and
German, or transpose on the piano, by gift of a ready-made nervous
system; even after years of work one may be a little uncertain of the
German auxiliaries, or have a repugnance to four sharps. The point is,
however, that an habitual and often-repeated context does, presently,
lapse altogether; the nucleus is not always supplemented; the nervous
system can now do, by a set or disposition that has no mental
correlate, what it used to do by processes that had as accompaniment
the sensations or images of the context.

It is plain, therefore, that _perception and idea are not always
so rich and complicated as we have described them_; we spoke, for
that very reason, of the ‘typical’ perception and idea. They range,
according to their age and use, from the cluster of nuclear processes
surrounded by a group of contextual associates, all under the guidance
of a directive nerve-force, down to a mere rag and tag of sensory or
imaginal process, wholly bare of associates, and dependent for its
meaning upon some habitual nervous set.

§ 27. =The Types of Perception.=—Our perceptions are based upon
three of the attributes or aspects of sensation: upon quality, upon
duration, and upon extension (p. 66).

The =quality= of sensation has already been discussed. We may take,
as instances of qualitative perception, the taste of coffee, the
resistance of a jammed door, and the note of a musical instrument. The
_taste of coffee_ analyses into sensations of bitter, the real taste
of the coffee-berry; of warmth; of pressure, the feel of the liquid
in the mouth; and of a peculiar fragrance, the odour of coffee. Along
with these goes a colour, the clear or clouded brown of the coffee
in the cup, and various other contextual processes. The _resistance_
analyses into the qualities of pressure from the skin; of strain from
the tendons of the arm; and of pressure, or something akin to pressure,
from the binding of the joints and the contraction of the muscles.
There is probably some organic stir; there is the sight of the door;
and there may be a further context. The _musical note_ analyses into
fundamental tone and overtones, and into the noise characteristic of
the instrument; the thud of the piano, the scrape of the violin, the
pluck of the harp. The supplement is perhaps visual; but here, as in
the other cases, verbal ideas may enter into the context; we may think
‘Violin, of course,’ All our qualitative perceptions are of this kind;
they come to us as meaningful wholes, and they may be analysed into a
number of sensory qualities, run or fused or blended together, and set
in various contexts of associated processes.

The attribute of =duration= has not yet been defined. It is the bare
going on, going forward, keeping like itself, that may be observed in
any and every sensation; you recognise it most easily, perhaps, if you
listen to a tone, or attend to the kinæsthetic complex as you slowly
extend your arm from the elbow. It is _the elementary time-factor
in all our perceptions of time_,—in the perceptions of period, of
interval, of rate, of rhythm, and so on; though in some of these
perceptions it is overlaid and obscured by other factors. Qualitative
perceptions undergo relatively little change, just because they are
qualitative perceptions; the best and easiest way to _mean_ a quality
is to _be_ it; the best way to mean the coffee-taste is to be the
coffee-taste; and so our perception of that taste remains practically
the same all our life long. Time-perceptions, on the other hand,—and
the same thing is true of space-perceptions,—change enormously; the
nervous system finds all manner of short-cuts to the meaning of time;
and these short-cuts have to be _un_practised, to be practised out,
if we are to observe the perception in its original form. Thus, to
take the simplest case, a period of time may seem long because the
kinæsthetic strain of waiting becomes intense, or because a great
number of perceptions and ideas occur during its course; the strain and
the number of ideas have come to _mean_ length of time, and the primary
experience of duration, so to say, drops out of sight. If, therefore,
we wish our observers in the laboratory to compare periods of time; if
we wish to find out accurately what durations can be grasped by the
attention and held in the memory; then we must break them of these
time-habits, and must somehow train them to disregard strain and to
discard imagery. We cannot often carry the unravelling of a perception
to the very end, though we can go some distance behind the appearances
of everyday life.

The attribute of =extension= is the bare character of patch or spread
that inheres in all sensations from eye and skin, and possibly also in
kinæsthetic and organic sensations. No point of light or pressure is so
fine that it is not areal. Extension is _the elementary space-factor
in all our perceptions of space_. It enters most obviously into the
perception of surface, as duration enters most obviously into that of
period; but it is the basis also of our perceptions of form, size,
distance, locality, direction. Like duration, it is often obscured and
overlaid by other factors.

Here, however, you will raise an objection. Have we not said, on p.
115, that perception is shaped and moulded by nerve-forces that have
no mental correlates? and did we not take as an example the casting of
perceptions into the forms of ‘thing’ and ‘space’? How, then, can we
now speak of perceptions _of_ space?—Well, for one thing, there are
various kinds of spatial perception; and it will not do to assume that
they are all alike a matter of brain-habit, without mental correlate.
Secondly, however, there is a difference between perceiving the piano
or the tree _as_ spatial, and turning our attention directly upon its
spatial characters, its size or form, its distance or direction. In the
latter case, we may rightly speak of a perception of space; we may so
speak, even if the various kinds of spatial perception do turn out to
be matters of brain-habit; and we must examine every kind for itself,
precisely in order to determine how far it is sensory and imaginal,
and how far it is a form impressed on sensations and images by the
trend of the processes in the brain.

So the objection is answered. Coming back to the subject, we note
that some of our more =complex perceptions= have a twofold basis:
thus the perception of melody is at once qualitative and temporal,
and the perception of movement is at once temporal and spatial. Nay
more, the perception of a scene, a situation, an event, is threefold:
qualitative, temporal and spatial; think of a scene of grand opera, or
of an accident on the street. In general, the analysis of these complex
perceptions follows from that of the simpler modes, though every one of
them has its own psychological problem.

It may seem strange that we have not distinguished a group of
perceptions based upon sensory =intensity=. The fact is, however, that
while intensity enters into all sorts of perceptions (lemonade must
not be too sour, the members of a rhythm must be variously accented, a
distant sound is faint), it only rarely characterises a perception; and
when it does, the perception thus characterised belongs to one or other
of the groups already mentioned. We say ‘What a heavy child!’—but the
perception of weight, like that of resistance, is itself qualitative.
Or we say of a certain composer ‘He always overdoes the drums!’—but
the drum-rhythm is itself a temporal perception. _We cannot point,
then, to a separate class of intensive perceptions._

§ 28. =The Perception of Distance.=—A complete psychology of
perception would contain an analytical treatment, up to the limits of
our present knowledge, of all the various perceptions, qualitative,
temporal and spatial, as well as complex, that occur in experience.
Such a treatment is here out of the question. We must pick and
choose; and as a sample of perception at large we shall consider the
_perception of distance_. We seem, quite immediately and directly, to
_see_ distances; we see that our friend is coming nearer, we see that
he has passed the bridge, we see that he is entering the gate, we see
when to shake hands with him. Yet there is no sensation of distance,
and there is no specific stimulus to distance. What, then, really

In the first place, there are plenty of =visual cues= to distance. We
take familiar things to be far off if they look small, and near by if
they look large; the size of the men and vehicles in the street makes
us realise the height of the building we are gazing down from. We take
things to be far off, again, if they are hazy and bluish, near by if
they are clearly outlined and varied in colour; everyone knows or has
read of the deceptive nearness of distant mountains in clear dry air.
We notice the distribution of light and shade; a morning or evening
landscape, a shaded face or sphere, looks deeper, more solid, more
plastic, than the landscape at high noon or the outline drawing. We
notice the course of boundary lines and the visibility of surfaces;
that is nearer which cuts across the rest or blots part of it out;
the telephone wire is thus nearer than the elm, and the elm is nearer
than the house. We notice the number of objects that the eye must
traverse to arrive at its goal; and the more numerous the objects, the
farther off do we take the goal to be; the town looks near, we say,
but there are all those fields, and the wood, and the churchyard, and
half-a-dozen farmhouses to pass, and then the outlying houses; it must
be a good two miles. We get various hints from movement; a crawling
train or car is far away; and if we are looking at a near object and
move the head to one side, distant objects move in the same direction,
while if we are looking at a far object and move the head, near objects
go in the opposite direction; and so on. _All these things—linear
perspective, aerial perspective, chiaroscuro, interposition, number,
movement—are, however, secondary affairs_; they represent short-cuts
to the meaning of distance (p. 123); they do not lead us to the
perception of distance itself. At the same time, we should bear in mind
that these secondary processes were there, ready to take up the burden
of meaning, all the while that the perception was forming.

Having thus cleared the ground, we naturally appeal to experiment; but
unfortunately the first step that we take lands us in difficulties.
It is found that, when all the cues above mentioned are ruled out,
the estimation of distance is still possible; and many psychologists
believe that it depends upon =kinæsthetic sensations= set up in and
about the eye. Each eyeball is slung in its orbit upon six muscles; and
the contraction of these muscles is, naturally, greater for convergence
of the eyes upon near objects than for their convergence upon far; so
that the _sensations of convergence_ seem fitted to play a part in
the perception of distance. If only one eye is used, these sensations
may be replaced by others, derived from the muscular system, within
the eyeball, that adjusts or accommodates the lens for clear vision
at different objective distances. The _sensations of accommodation_,
though, in ordinary binocular vision they are entirely subordinate to
the sensations of convergence, can nevertheless—within a lesser range
of distances—play the same part in perception. Unfortunately, as was
hinted just now, the results of these experiments are disputed; we
shall come back to them, and to the possible rôle of the kinæsthetic
sensations, later on.

Meantime, what is to be said of the =eyes= themselves, and of the
impression that a solid object, a tridimensional stimulus, makes upon
them? If you hold up a closed book, back towards you, in the middle
line of the face, and if you observe it alternately with the right and
left eye, you will find that the two views do not tally; the left eye
sees the back and the cover to the left, the right eye sees the back
and the cover to the right. If you now make outline drawings of the
two views, mount them upon a suitable card, and look at them through
a =stereoscope=,—which, as you know, combines them into a single
view,—lo! you have before you a solid book, the back near you, and the
edges away in space. _It is as if the two eyes had reconciled their
conflicting views, and the result were depth or solidity._

But is not this the very thing we were in search of? have we not at
last got at the secret of visible depth? No; we are rather _at the
crucial point of our discussion_. For this binocular picture, the image
seen in the stereoscope, cannot be, of its own nature and in its own
right, deep or solid, unless there is a depth-sensation; and that
conclusion goes against everything that we know both of sensation and
of the stimuli that arouse sensation. To avoid it, some psychologists
call in the kinæsthetic sensations from the muscles of the eye. _Depth
or distance, they say, is psychologically a blend or fusion of visual
and kinæsthetic sensations._ Our binocular view of the book, its
appearance to the two eyes, is in itself flat; but we run the eyes
over it, and the muscular sensations thus blend with the visual. Nay
more, even if we hold our eyes fixed, there is still a _tendency_ to
move them; and this tendency, now ingrained in our nervous system, is
enough to realise the perception. Indeed, if experiment fails in every
case to show the sensations of convergence and accommodation, that is
just because the fusion is so long-established and so ingrained; we
perceive distance, the fusion itself; we can hardly expect to recover
the kinæsthetic sensations that originally entered into it; the wonder
rather is that they should ever appear, that experiment should be able
to reveal them at all.

No one can say positively that this hypothesis is wrong; but it
is difficult to believe that the blend of visual and kinæsthetic
sensations should yield a result so different from either,—namely,
the perception of space. It seems safer to say that _the binocular
picture_, the appearance of the book to the two eyes or the combined
image of the stereoscope, _carries the immediate meaning of depth or
voluminousness_. The picture is not itself deep or solid; but we cannot
help perceiving it _as_ deep and solid; and this pressure is laid upon
us by what we have called racial heritage, an inherited disposition
of the nervous system: _the brain meets the impression halfway_. The
binocular picture thus becomes the core or nucleus of the perception;
and the meaning of depth is carried by a nervous disposition that
has no correlate in sensation or image. The kinæsthetic sensations
may then very well serve, as a secondary context, to give precision
and accuracy to the perception, to develop the perception of crude
voluminousness into the perception of definite distances. As to the
nervous disposition, we can only say that it has been set up by the
same biological causes that have made the organism a motor organism,
one that moves freely in space; beyond that general statement we cannot

So far we have dealt with the space of sight; but there is also a
=space of touch=; and we have next to ask _whether the perception of
distance can be couched in terms of touch alone_. Our appeal lies to
those who are born blind. Observations show that, in their case, the
direct perception of solidity, of plasticity, is rare and fleeting;
it arises, perhaps, when they clasp a child to their breast, or when
they have been trained by long manipulation to distinguish objects of
various shapes and sizes; it does not form a permanent item of their
mental furniture. The blind _behave as if_ they perceived distance;
they avoid obstacles,—near obstacles by the pressure or temperature of
the air reflected back upon their face, and remote obstacles by sounds;
they can be taught geometry, and they measure objective distances by
pacing; but the meaning of distance seems always to remain abstract,
very much as the meaning of light and colour must remain abstract;
there is no realising perception of distance. The brain mechanism which
is ready to act at once at the behest of sight thus seems to be lacking
where touch alone is present; even the perception of crude volume, of
depth, has to be built up afresh by the individual. _The blind live
mainly in a world of sounds_; touch is employed, as a rule, only for
special and limited purposes, such as dressing, reading, handicraft;
and their world is therefore not pervasively spatial, like the world of
the seeing.

Go back now, for a moment, to the objection raised on p. 124! We have,
as a matter of fact, been led to the belief that =the meaning of depth
is carried, in the last resort, by a brain-habit=. But how differently
does this sentence read before and after the discussion! You have
learned something of the difficulties of the study of perception;
you see why it is necessary to look at perception historically,
developmentally; you have been taken behind the obvious visual cues to
the perception itself; you have seen how the kinæsthetic sensations and
the binocular picture may be made the subject of experiment. Even the
bare outline that the narrow compass of the present book allows should
convince you that the objection was duly answered.

§ 29. =The Problem in Detail.=—Every one of our familiar perceptions
might, now, be treated in this same fashion, and in indefinitely
greater detail. We should start out with our pattern of sensory
nucleus, imaginal context, and brain-habit; and we should push our
analysis back and back, in the effort to reach the primary and
ultimate form of the perception we were discussing. The quest is
fascinating; for these are old, old bits of the mental life; to trace
them home would be to go back to the Stone Age—or further; the
earliest men we know of perceived the things that we perceive. Whether
psychology will ever reach the final goal cannot be said; but at any
rate the problems are genuine problems; they can be resolved only by
intensive and long-continued work; and they demand an extraordinary
ingenuity in the devising of experimental controls and an unusual
degree of patience in experimenting. Men spend their lives among dead
languages and buried cities; why not excavate and explore the inner
world of perception?

Let us take an instance or two. Consider, first, the perception
of =movement by the eye=. Many psychologists assume outright a
special sensation of movement, something that we might call a
_travel-sensation_. That hypothesis cuts the difficulty; but the
sensation is no more admissible than the depth-sensation, and for like
reasons. Other psychologists call attention, in a more scientific
spirit, to the fact that in all cases of sudden change there is a
_sensory index_ of that change. If, for instance, a tone is quickly
changed to a higher tone, or a light suddenly reduced to a duller
light, there is a moment of sensory blur or confusion, a moment in
which the quality or intensity ceases to be clear and distinct; so
that, if you were called upon to identify it, you could say only
‘It lies somewhere about such-and-such a part of the scale.’ _This
blur is the sensory index of change_; not a new sensation, but a
modification of existing sensation. We have it in the perception of
visual movement; there is a blur of positions; and it may reasonably be
referred to the positive after-image. A shooting-star flashes across
the sky; it leaves a trail of after-image as it moves; you see it both
at the place it started from, and at the place where it disappears, all
in the same present time; thinking of it, nevertheless, as a star, a
point of light like other stars, you perceive movement. The same thing
holds for the perception of rapid movement on the skin.

So far everything is in order. Now, however, let us make a simple
experiment. You know the =stroboscope= or zoetrope that is sold in
the toy-shops: a cardboard drum, open at the top, that twirls on a
handle; a strip of paper, on which are printed phases of some movement
(the flight of a bird, the gallop of a horse), is placed inside, round
the bottom of the drum; and you look down at the strip, while the
instrument revolves, through vertical slits cut at regular intervals in
the upper half of the drum-wall; you then see a continuous movement.
Suppose that you make a new strip, on which you draw simply two lines,
a vertical and a horizontal; you draw them some distance apart, but in
such wise that, if they came together, they would form a right-angle.
Turn the drum slowly, and you see the two lines; turn it swiftly, and
you see the right-angle, like a letter L; turn it at a middle rate, and
you see—according to the direction of turn—the vertical _fall over
into_ the horizontal, or the horizontal _rise up into_ the vertical.
You see movement, where there is no movement to see! Here, then, is a
case of _perception of movement in terms of sheer brain-habit_, of
a settled nervous disposition that now has no mental correlate, but
whose establishment has depended on the past history of the individual,
possibly of the race.

Take, as a second instance, the perception of =melody=. Primitive
melodies seem to be of two types. In the one, the scale arises
by synthesis of small tone-steps or tone-distances, which are
approximately ‘whole tones’; the melody consists only of two or
three of these steps, and the last and lowest tone is the principal
note of the tune. In the other, the scale arises by analysis of the
larger consonant intervals, fourth and fifth; these intervals are
broken up into smaller steps; the octave appears as a drone-bass;
the first and highest tone is the principal note. An intermediate
type keeps for the most part to small steps, but shows ascents and
descents _portamento_ through octave, fifth and fourth; it, too,
makes the first and highest tone the principal note. We can account
for a good deal of this development: we know that the voice cannot be
evenly sustained in recitative, but naturally drops; we have reason
to believe that the memory of absolute pitch is strongly developed
in primitive peoples (parrots repeat their tunes at the same pitch,
and the same thing is largely true of young children); we know the
recurrent tonality of the octave (p. 52); we know that the fourth is
the natural drop of the voice at the end of a sentence, and the fifth
its natural rise in asking a question; we know that men, women and
boys, singing in ‘unison,’ will really sing in octaves, and often in
fifths and fourths; we know that the semitone, the final unit of our
own scales, is the smallest tone-step that can be accurately sung;
we know that musical instruments were invented very early, and that
they must have helped to give stability to the vocal scale. These
things, however, are not enough. For behind all music lies what we must
call an =intent to express=, as behind all speech lies an intent to
communicate; and this intent baffles us; we can only say, once again,
that it is carried by some native and ingrained disposition of the
nervous system. The possibility of music is further bound up with the
possibility of =transposition=; the melody must be reproducible and
recognisable, whatever note it start from; and primitive melodies do in
fact begin on different notes, and yet keep the same form. It may be
that the primitive singer felt his tones, felt the adjustment of his
larynx, more keenly than we do. Movements of the larynx are muscular
contractions, and their sensations are subject to Weber’s law (p. 68);
so that, whether the vocal cords are slack or tense, their tension
must be increased _in the same proportion_ to get equal differences in
muscular sensation. Here is a possible organic basis for the relative
constancy of the tones within a melody; the difficulty is that even
primitive melodies seem to be shaped, not by feel, but by ear.

We may take, as a third instance, a group of perceptions that have
been named =optical illusions=. In a certain sense, most of our
space-perceptions are illusory. Distance, for example, soon closes up
on itself; if we try to stop, halfway, a friend who is walking down a
long corridor, we shall be likely to call out before he has gone more
than a third of its length. Size is illusory; the size of the moon in
the sky is that of a pea held at arm’s length before the eyes. Form
is illusory: how often do we see a table square? Only direction is
adequately perceived. Yet we do not, somehow, think of all these things
as illusions; we are used to them, and can make allowance for them.

There are, on the other hand, certain simple arrangements of dots and
lines that yield, in perception, a result markedly different from that
which measurement would lead us to expect. These figures have, in
recent years, been made the subject of detailed study; that which is
here shown has, in particular, been repeatedly discussed and variously
explained. The simplicity of the forms is, indeed, treacherous and
misleading; analysis is very difficult; and there is no present
prospect that investigators will agree.


The two horizontal lines are equal in measurement; they are unequal to
the eye. Why? One suggestion is that _the eye moves freely along the
one, and hesitatingly and obstructedly along the other_; the obliques
tempt out, in the one case, and hem in, in the other. The suggestion
can be tested; for movements of the eyes can be recorded; and it turns
out to be correct. The eyes, in passing over a line, like the lines of
the figure or of a printed page, move by sweeps or jerks; they go so
far, halt, and start again. Experiment shows that movements along the
lower horizontal take a longer sweep, and oftentimes come to a halt
only when they have shot beyond the end-points of the line; whereas
movements along the upper horizontal are themselves shorter, and
frequently come to a halt before the extremities of the line have been
reached. Here, then, is a kinæsthetic context to carry the meanings
‘longer’ and ‘shorter.’ Is the analysis adequate? Not for every case;
the illusion is found to vary with _our general attitude toward the
figures_. If we take them as wholes, the large open area below and the
closed diamond-shaped area above strike the attention; we say, from
total impression, that the lower horizontal is the longer. If, however,
we take the figures critically, part by part, limiting our attention
to the horizontals and disregarding the obliques, then the illusion
is greatly reduced and may, with practice, disappear. Here, then, is
a second context, which involves a brain-habit. Another suggestion is
that _linear perspective_ may be at work; the larger figure is a book
opening toward you, the smaller is a book opened away from you; the
lower horizontal is therefore further off, and should (if the two books
were of the same size) be smaller than the upper; since it is not,
the lower book is seen as the larger. There are, without doubt, many
figures in which perspective influences the perception; but there seems
to be no reason to invoke it here. A fourth suggestion is that we read
into the figures _ideas of our own muscular state_; the lower figure
has room to expand, it is stretching and yawning; the upper is cramped
and huddled; and so the illusion of length is produced. There is no
doubt, again, that this putting of oneself in place of the lines plays
a part in certain perceptions; but its influence here is negatived by
the swallow figure; the birds flying toward each other are further
apart than those flying from each other. On the whole, we may be
satisfied with the two contexts first mentioned; the discussion shows,
however, how many and how various motives may enter in to determine an
illusory perception.


§ 30. =The Types of Idea.=—Idea takes its plan from perception; and
ideas may therefore be classified, like perceptions, as qualitative,
temporal and spatial. When, however, we speak of =types of idea=, we
usually have a different classification in view. Our ideas differ
as our equipment of imagery differs; some minds are rich in visual
or auditory images, others are poor or deficient. When first these
differences were brought to light, they seemed to be permanent and
clearly marked; children, especially, were classed _as eye-minded,
ear-minded, and touch-minded_ or motor-minded, according as their
ideas consisted predominantly of visual, auditory, or kinæsthetic
images; and it was thought no less necessary to discover a child’s
type, and to instruct him in accordance with it, than it is to test the
colour-vision of pilots and engineers. Moreover, since all ideas may
be translated into words, and since verbal ideas may also be visual,
auditory or motor,—ideas of the word seen, heard, or spoken,—three
sub-types were added to the main types of idea; _the verbal-visual, the
verbal-auditory, and the verbal-motor_. The doctrine of types found
support in pathology; thus, the famous French physician J. M. Charcot
reports a case of eye-mindedness in which visual ideas were suddenly
lost. The patient writes: “I possessed at one time a great faculty of
picturing to myself persons who interested me, colours and objects of
every kind; I made use of this faculty extensively in my studies. I
read anything I wanted to learn, and then shutting my eyes I saw again
quite clearly the letters with their every detail. All of a sudden this
internal vision absolutely disappeared. Now I cannot picture to myself
the features of my children or my wife, or any other object of my daily
surroundings. I dream simply of speech. I am obliged to _say_ things
which I wish to retain in my memory, whereas formerly it was sufficient
for me to photograph them in my eye.”

Nowadays the case could hardly be recorded in so simple a way; we
have learned that _ideational type is a very complicated and itself a
very variable matter_. Marked differences of imagery, as between one
mind and another, undoubtedly exist; but the distribution into types
is made difficult by two facts. The first is that there are great
differences in the nature of images even where the gross type is the
same; thus, of two predominantly eye-minded persons, the one may have
vivid and precise, the other vague and obscure images. The second is
that imagery varies with the nature of the test made, the situation
or material that arouses the images; in strictness, we can only say
that, under such-and-such conditions, the imaginal type proved to be
such-and-such. With these cautions before us, we can, however, make
out four common types. The =versatile= type uses visual, auditory and
verbal-motor images more or less indifferently. A second type prefers
=visual= images, with verbal-motor a good second. A third type prefers
=verbal images of the auditory-motor kind=, with visual images a poor
second. A fourth is almost exclusively =verbal-motor=. In this last
type, kinæsthesis, in the special form of the feel of articulation, has
reconquered the place that it held in the long-gone past, before speech
had come (p. 119).

We observe nothing of these differences in daily life, simply because
we are interested in meanings and not in processes; so long as the
audience gets somewhere near the meaning that the speaker or writer
is trying to convey, everything necessary for practical purposes has
been accomplished. All the same, _there are many signs of ideational
type_, if we are on the alert to seize them. The attitude of attention
is different, according as a man’s ideas are visual or auditory-motor;
the child’s mode of recitation is different, slow and systematic in the
former case, quick and impulsive in the latter; the mistakes made are
characteristic; and you can tell by an author’s style whether he has
visual images and whether he hears his sentences ring in the mind’s
ear. _It is natural to connect the dominance of certain images with
the choice of certain professions; but a correlation cannot be made
out._ “I should have thought,” remarks Galton, “that the faculty of
visualisation would be common among geometricians, but many of the
highest seem able somehow to get on without much of it;” and again “men
who declare themselves entirely deficient in the power of seeing mental
pictures can become painters” of acknowledged rank. The late Professor
James wrote to the same effect: “I am myself a good draughtsman, and
have a very lively interest in pictures, statues, architecture and
decoration. But I am an extremely poor visualiser.” These statements,
to be sure, were made without any thorough-going investigation; we
must remember that there are different ways of geometrising as there
are different styles and ideals of painting; and we may add that there
are plenty of instances on the other side; Goethe and Dickens were
magnificent visualisers. The study of imaginal type, in relation to the
interests and achievement of its possessor, thus offers an inviting
field of work.

Questions and Exercises

(1) State in your own words, and without looking at the book,
why the psychologist has to do with meaning, and what meaning is
psychologically. Illustrate from your own experience; find, in
particular, a case of meaning carried by kinæsthesis, and a case of
meaning carried in purely nervous terms.

(2) Draw diagrams to illustrate the typical perception and idea, and
the various stages in its reduction to the skeleton-type described at
the end of § 24.

(3) Qualitative perceptions undergo relatively little change. What
changes have they undergone? How is it that these changes have not
unfitted them to mean quality?

(4) A stereoscope and a set of slides prepared by the author may be
obtained from the C. H. Stoelting Co., 3047 Carroll Avenue, Chicago,
Ill. Explain the construction of the stereoscope, part by part; and
work carefully through the slides, writing down what you see. It is
useless to play with the instrument; take the experiments seriously.

(5) If you are touched with a pencil on wrist and chest, and try to
retouch the places stimulated, you are more nearly right on wrist than
on chest. Why? Try the experiment several times over.

(6) You have probably often heard the rising tone of a siren-whistle
sounded by some manufactory or given as a fire-signal. Can you image
it? If so, what is the index of change? If not, try to lay your finger
on this index when you next hear the whistle.

(7) If tastes and smells have not the attribute of extension, how do
you account for their apparent spread in space? If sounds are not
spatial, how is it that we can localise them?

(8) Is there such a thing as a purely visual rhythm? How would you
approach the question experimentally?

(9) Perform Aristotle’s experiment, by crossing the second over the
first finger of the right hand, and pressing on a marble placed under
the crossed joints, (_a_) Is Aristotle’s statement correct? Write out
your observations. (_b_) Is sight decisive? Helmholtz said, on the
contrary: “We are continually controlling and correcting the notions of
locality derived from the eye by the help of the sense of touch, and
always accept the impressions on the latter sense as decisive.” (_c_)
Can you work out the perception of a _thing_ or _object_, somewhat as
the book has worked out the perception of distance?

(10) Can you suggest methods for the determination of imaginal type?

(11) Close your eyes, (_a_) Let an experimenter draw a blunt-pointed
pencil _at an even rate_ along the inside of your arm from the shoulder
to the tip of the middle finger. The point seems to travel more quickly
at some places than at others: why? Draw a diagram of the arm, and mark
the places of apparent slowing and quickening. (_b_) Tie two pencils
together with a bit of rubber between, so that the points are 1-1/4 to
1-1/2 in. apart. Let an experimenter set the two points crosswise on
the skin at the shoulder, and draw them with even speed and pressure
along the inside of your arm to the finger-tips. The points seem to
converge and diverge: why? Draw a diagram as before.

(12) If a rough thread is drawn by an experimenter between your
forefinger and thumb, at first quickly and then slowly, it will seem
shorter in the first experiment than in the second. Why?


J. M. Charcot, Clinical Lectures on Diseases of the Nervous System,
iii., 1889, Lect. xiii.; W. James, Principles of Psychology, 1890,
i., chs. xiii., xv.; ii., chs. xviii., xix., xx.; C. H. H. Parry, The
Evolution of the Art of Music, 1896; article on Optical Illusions,
in Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, ii., 1902; W. Wundt,
Lectures on Human and Animal Psychology, 1896, Lect. xi.; Outlines of
Psychology, 1907, §§ 9, 10, 11; M. R. Fernald, The Diagnosis of Mental
Imagery, 1912; E. B. Titchener, Experimental Psychology, I., i. and
ii., 1901 (experiments on perception); Text-book of Psychology, 1910,
303 ff.



 Here is a kind of attraction which in the mental world will be found
 to have as extraordinary effects as in the natural, and to show itself
 in as many and as various forms.—DAVID HUME

§ 31. =The Association of Ideas.=—The doctrine of the ‘association
of ideas’ is one of the oldest and most influential in the history
of psychology. It begins, in a somewhat casual way, with Aristotle.
Suppose, Aristotle says, that we are trying to recall something that
has slipped our mind; what do we ordinarily do? We hunt through a
number of things, beginning with something that is like what we want
to recall, or contrary to it, or that was next it in time, or adjacent
to it in space. These other things, the like, the contrary, the just
before or just after, the adjoining, have the power to suggest what we
have forgotten. Aristotle gives the impression that everybody acts in
this way, as a matter of course; and no doubt his hearers acquiesced;
for the statement sounds reasonable. We want, for instance, to remember
a certain picture that we saw ten years ago: how do we set to work?
We start from something like it: ‘I remember that it reminded me of
Van Eyck’; or from something opposite: ‘I remember smiling to think
how a Venetian would have treated it’; or from something next it in
time: ‘I remember coming to it after three whole hours of Dutch
_genre_’; or from something next it in space: ‘I remember that it
hung beside a Mabuse portrait.’ Seeing how natural and obvious such
remarks are, we can understand that Aristotle’s single sentence had
tremendous consequences for psychology. It foreshadowed the four ‘laws
of the association of ideas,’ _the laws of similarity, of contrast,
of succession in time, and of coexistence in space_. According to the
doctrine of association, one idea ‘calls up’ another _because_ it is
like that other, or contrasts with it, or was next to it in time or
space; likeness and difference, succession and adjacency, somehow give
an idea the power to recall, and render it liable in its turn to be
recalled. The four laws thus represent an attempt to _explain_ the
course of our ideas, and for that reason they have always appealed to
common sense.

But, for the same reason, the laws have not proved an unmixed blessing
to psychology. Aristotle, it is clear, was simply raising a practical
question; and practical questions are answered in terms of meaning,
not of process. Moreover, Aristotle was temperamentally a logician,
and he could not help throwing even this bit of everyday practice into
formal logical shape. Notice the arrangement in pairs: like-contrary,
coexistent-successive; that is logical. Notice also the nature of the
pairs. Like-contrary is the extreme way of saying like-unlike; and when
you mention succession, you mention the only kind of non-coexistence
that can come into account for psychology; so that both pairs have the
form ‘A and not-A’ (like and not-like, coexistent and not-coexistent);
and that is logical again. _Aristotle’s four rules are therefore not
really empirical_, in the sense that they are directly derived from
a study of experience; they rather show the inveterate logician, who
is bound to schematise and tabulate. Later writers, swayed now by
experience and now by logic, have both increased and decreased the
number of these ‘laws’ of association; _the general tendency has been
to reduce them to two, or even to one_. Thus, we can make contrast,
logically, a case of likeness; the palace reminds us of the hovel,
apparently by contrast; yet are not the palace and the hovel alike,
as human habitations? We can, still more easily, reduce space to
time. If the two pictures hung together on the wall, they were seen
at the same time. Simultaneity, however, is one kind of contiguity in
time; succession is another; and temporal contiguity thus includes
everything. The four laws have become two: _similarity, and contiguity
in time_.

Can we go further? Yes, if we go on arguing. The picture reminded me
of Van Eyck; it was _like_ a Van Eyck; the association seems to be
an association by similarity. Yet it is practically certain that the
picture in question was, at some time or other, present in my mind
_along with_ some picture by Van Eyck. It is practically certain,
in other words, that the two ideas were in temporal contiguity; and
every instance of association by similarity raises the same sort of
presumption. That being the case, we may discard the law of similarity;
and =contiguity= stands alone, the sole survivor of the Aristotelian
quartet. Only, =this is all logic=, a matter of meanings, a translation
of psychological fact; we have not got to the facts themselves.

We shall come to psychology presently. Meantime _you should try to
realise how well this doctrine of association works for practical
purposes, and how strong is the appeal it makes to the practical side
of our nature_. It explains the appearance of every single idea that
has ever occurred to anybody; it offers to take us to the very heart
of psychology without need of training or preparation; it flatters us
into the belief that we have all our lives been talking and thinking
psychology without knowing it; it covers up the gap that separates
common sense from science. Small wonder that Hume compared the law of
association in psychology with the law of gravitation in physics! All
the great names in British psychology (and the fact throws a good deal
of light on the psychology of the nation itself) are connected with the
doctrine of association; a whole science has taken its national colour
from a single principle of explanation. Association has also played its
part, though less dominantly, in France and Germany.

Realise all this; and realise also that the doctrine was of great
service in the days when psychology was in the making; it is not only
agreeable to common sense, it is not only historically important,
but it also _did true psychological service_. Let us admit all this:
and then we must add that _the reign of associationism was over as
soon as ever psychology became scientific_; as soon, that is, as the
proper task of psychology was recognised and formulated (p. 18). For
let us take an instance: what does the word ‘summer’ suggest to you?
Very likely it suggests ‘winter.’ How, then, is this association to be
explained psychologically? By contrast? But the ideas of summer and
winter may be exactly alike, both of them verbal-auditory-motor, or
both of them mental pictures; the contrast is a contrast of meaning,
not of mental process or pattern; the real summer, what we mean by the
word ‘summer,’ contrasts with the real winter, and not the idea of
summer with the idea of winter. By resemblance? But, if the ideas of
summer and winter are exactly alike, so are they also like thousands
of other ideas, verbal-auditory-motor or visual-imaginal; there is
no reason in their psychological likeness why the one should suggest
the other; and if they do suggest each other by ‘resemblance,’ the
resemblance is again a likeness of meaning (they are both seasons
of the year) and not of mental constitution. Try the matter out for
yourself, in any concrete case of association, and you will reach
the same result; the ideas of associationism are not psychological
ideas. James sums things up for us: “Association,” he says, “so far
as the word stands for an _effect_, is between _things thought of_;
it is things, not ideas, which are associated in the mind. And so
far as association stands for a _cause_, it is between _processes
in the brain_; it is these which, by being associated in certain
ways, determine what successive objects shall be thought.” =The
brain associates, and meanings are associated.= We have already said
something of the psychology of meaning (pp. 26 ff., 117 ff.); what can
we now say of the associative functions of the brain?

§ 32. =Associative Tendencies: Material of Study.=—We want to find
out how those processes in the brain which are the correlates of
our ideas go together, get connected or associated. The brain is a
machine; and it is not only complicated, but it is also plastic, that
is, it is subject to change and modification. The _complexity_ of the
machine makes it necessary for us to work with simple stimuli and by
strict methods; only if we work with simple stimuli shall we get to the
bare essentials of the associative functions; and only if we work by
strict methods shall we obtain results which other investigators can
repeat and verify. Even so, the _plasticity_ of the machine makes it
impossible for us to lay down hard and fast laws of connection; we can
speak only of connective tendencies or of =associative tendencies=;
what actually happens, in any particular case, is likely to be the
joint result of many tendencies, weak and strong, conflicting and

The task before us is, therefore, not easy; but it is straightforward;
and that is the next best thing. We want to find out how associative
tendencies in the brain are set up; and to do this we must, evidently,
find some way of _creating_ a bond between one nervous process and
another; we must devise experiments in which we _make_ or _construct_
brain-connections. We need not look far afield; for we make such
connections whenever we =learn= anything new; so that we have only to
learn under experimental conditions, and the task is accomplished. But
what shall we learn? what stimuli shall we employ in the experiments?
‘Words,’ you will say; and words have many advantages for learning;
but they have, in this case, the supreme disadvantage that they are
ingrained meanings. Words therefore will not do; but something very
like them will. The question of the stimuli to be employed was, in
fact, answered for us, thirty years ago, by the German psychologist
Hermann Ebbinghaus, who—by one of those happy thoughts that come after
long and intensive occupation with a subject—hit upon the notion of
the =meaningless syllable=. Ebbinghaus made up over 2000 meaningless
‘words,’ all consisting of a vowel or diphthong between two consonants;
syllables standing in the same relation to his own language that leb,
rit, mon, yup, kig, wes, der, zam, for instance, bear to English. See
the advantage of this kind of material for the work we have in view!
The syllables are just like words, in that they may be seen, heard,
or felt in the throat; they are unlike words, and vastly superior to
them, in that they have no habitual associates; they lack context and
meaning; every syllable in a series may be considered to have the same
chances of making connections as every other. The material is so rich
and varied that endless experiments can be made; it is so simple and
uniform that the results of one experiment may be compared directly
with the results of another; it may be drawn from any language, and
so may be used in the laboratories of any country. Moreover, it is
absolutely under control; it is just the kind of material that we need
when we are tied down to strict and accurate method; we can vary at
will the manner of presentation to the learner, the number of syllables
in a series, the rate at which they follow one another, and so on;
and the report required from the learner himself is easy and natural;
there are no long descriptive phrases; he has only to say or to write
the syllables he has learned. Lastly, _we may proceed from experiments
with this meaningless material to experiments with real words_,
words that mean; and we may hope in that way to pass beyond the bare
essentials of the brain’s associative function, and to get a clue to
the complex interplay of associative tendencies in real life. All in
all, it is not too much to say that Ebbinghaus’ recourse to meaningless
syllables, as means to the study of associative tendencies, marks the
most considerable advance, in this chapter of the psychological system,
since the time of Aristotle.

§ 33. =The Establishment of Associative Tendencies.=—The use of
=meaningless syllables= has brought with it a whole armoury of
technical methods for the study of the associative tendencies. We have
here no space to treat of these methods in detail; fortunately, the
results that we shall mention speak for themselves; and it may be added
that all the methods of experiment are, in principle, changes rung
upon one simple model, in which the observer sits down before a series
of syllables, reads them through, so-many times over, in a state of
attention, and then, either immediately or after an interval of time,
repeats them ‘from memory.’ We proceed, then, to answer the question:
How are associative tendencies established in the brain?

Their establishment depends, first and most obviously, upon the _number
of syllables_ in the series presented to the observer. While he can
recite correctly, after a single reading, a series of 6 or 7, a longer
series simply throws him into confusion. The first and last terms have
a definite advantage; they may, indeed, be the only syllables that can
be repeated after a single reading of a 12-term series. Secondly, the
tendencies are strengthened by _repetition_. The first reading is more
important than any other single reading; after that, there is for a
while little if any improvement; then the results take a sudden step
up; and thenceforward progress is fairly steady until the limit of
the experiment is reached. Thirdly, the tendencies are furthered by a
_grouping_ of the syllables. The observer learns a series more quickly
if, for instance, he throws it into a rhythm. Fourthly, it is important
to _distribute_ the readings in time. Two readings a day for 12 days
give better results than four a day for 6 days, or eight a day for 3
days, although the total number remains the same. Fifthly, the _rate_
of reading has its effect; the syllables must not follow one another
too fast or too slowly. There are great differences between individual
learners; but we may say in general that the syllables should at first
be presented at a moderate rate (perhaps two in the second), and that
the rate should be slowly increased as the readings proceed. Sixthly,
not only repetition itself, but also the _manner of repetition_, makes
a difference. Meaningless syllables are learned somewhat better if the
whole series is read through, over and over, from end to end, than if
they are taken a few at a time, in small lots. Lastly, _recitation_
or reading aloud is ordinarily more effective than silent reading;
largely, perhaps, because the separate pronouncing of every syllable
equalises attention; every term of the series is brought out sharply
and clearly, and there is no chance to slur.

Here, however, we must remember the differences of imaginal type (p.
138); and it is true that a markedly visual learner will profit less
by recitation than an auditory-motor learner. These experiments have,
indeed, revealed other typical differences between individuals, such as
those of _slow and quick_, and of _receptive and ingenious_ learning.
Some of us, it seems, are naturally quick, and some are naturally slow
learners, just as some work best at night and others in the morning.
Some observers, again, accept the series of syllables, passively and
without question; others embroider and interpret the meaningless
forms in all manner of ways; _mon_ becomes man, and _kig_ king, and
_wer_ where, and so on. We know nothing at present of the correlated
differences in the nervous system.

The results just given may be compared with those obtained when
=meaningful stimuli= are employed. Thus, 8 or 9 one-syllable words,
and 10 to 12 one-place numbers, can be recited after a single reading.
Meaningful material, which is grouped or unified by its topic, may be
learned ten times as quickly as meaningless syllables. It may also be
presented more rapidly; iambic and trochaic verses, for instances,
may be taken at double the rate of the syllables. Dates of historical
events, and the words of a foreign language, are best learned like the
meaningless syllables; and connected meaningful material, like a poem
or an oration, should very decidedly be read as a whole, from end to
end, in the successive repetitions. If there are brief passages of
unusual difficulty, they may, of course, be gone over by themselves, in
the intervals between the total readings; the general rule, however,
is to learn by wholes. This appears, in fact, to be the procedure
generally followed by bards and tellers of folktales; and actors who
play many rôles in quick succession are able to ‘wing a part,’ as
the phrase goes, by reading it through several times over at brief
intervals. Children who memorise a poem in sections, a stanza now and a
stanza to-morrow, waste a great deal of time.

Let us now come back to the =meaningless syllables=, and ask what is
_the net result of all the influences_ that we have listed. Suppose,
in other words, that a series of syllables has been presented at
a certain rate, thrown into a certain rhythm, repeated a certain
number of times with fitting distribution in time, recited at every
repetition: what is the final outcome, as regards the establishment
of associative tendencies in the brain? It is this: _that a strong
connection has been set up between the successive terms of the series,
in the order of their presentation; and that weaker connections have
been set up between every term and every other term, whether the terms
are near or remote in the series, and whether they are taken forwards
or backwards_. Let us illustrate by reference to the alphabet. If the
alphabet represents a series of meaningless syllables, then there is a
strong connection between _a_ and _b_, _b_ and _c_, ... _y_ and _z_;
but there are also weaker connections between _a_ and _d_, ... _v_
and _z_; and further, there are connections backward between _z_ and
_y_, _z_ and _x_, ... _d_ and _a_. The series of syllables has thus
impressed the brain with _a very complex meshwork of associative
tendencies_, stronger in some places (direct forward connection)
and weaker in others (remote and backward connection), but still
functionally interconnected through all its parts.

§ 34. =The Interference and Decay of Associative Tendencies.=—If a set
of associative tendencies, such as we have just described, is left to
itself, and neither disturbed nor renewed, it _gradually disappears_;
the loss is at first very rapid, then proceeds more slowly, and
thereafter goes on only at a snail’s pace. To make the matter concrete,
we may think of the meshwork of tendencies as a meshwork of channels,
deeper and shallower, in the substance of the brain; then the rule is
that the channels tend to fill up,—the shallow ones speedily, the
deeper ones at first quickly and then more and more slowly,—until
everything is smooth again. This is a mere figure, but it carries the
meaning that we desire. The same thing happens with _the tendencies
set up by meaningful material_; they too slowly die away; but _it is
doubtful if they ever wholly disappear_; in their case the brain, if
it has been thoroughly impressed, seems never wholly to ‘forget.’
Ebbinghaus learned some stanzas of Byron’s Don Juan, for experimental
purposes, and did not look at them again for 22 years; yet he relearned
those stanzas in 93 per cent. of the time required to learn new
stanzas; a saving of 7 per cent. Some stanzas that he had learned more
thoroughly were not read again for 17 years; these were relearned
with a saving of nearly 20 per cent. He had no memory whatever of the
verses formerly learned; but his brain ‘remembered’; the associative
tendencies had not completely disappeared.

As a rule, however, a particular set of tendencies is not allowed to
die a natural death; it is interfered with by others. _All associative
tendencies need a certain time to establish themselves_, to settle
down; and if this time is not granted, but stimulus treads on the heels
of stimulus, there is no impression of the meshwork, and no connections
are formed; we have seen that a series of excessive length simply
throws the learner into confusion. A recently acquired connection may
even be abolished, as most of us know to our cost, by interruption of
the train of thought; you have just got to your point, to the insight,
the phrasing, the argument, that will clinch things; you are distracted
by some irrelevant matter; and when you come back to your work, the
point has gone. So nicely balanced and so easily disturbed are the
associative tendencies, that you may never recover it; no wonder that
the constructive worker, in literature, in science, in affairs, ‘hates
to be interrupted’!

With meaningful material, interference may arise in other ways. Take
the alphabet again; _a_ is connected with _b_ through the frequent
repetition of _abc_, but is also connected with _z_ by the phrase
‘_a_ to _z_.’ If, then, _a_ appears; and if the _b_-tendency and the
_z_-tendency are of approximately equal strength; then there may be no
connection at all; the two tendencies cancel or inhibit each other.
A question may leave you dumb, not because you have no answer, but
because you have so many different answers that no one of them can
force through to expression. This sort of interference, which comes at
the end of the associative process, is called =terminal inhibition=;
there is another kind, coming at the beginning of the process, which
we may call =initial inhibition=. If _a_ is already connected with
_b_, then it is difficult to connect it with _k_; _b_ gets in the way.
You have some particular fault of style, or you have fallen into the
habit of spelling wrongly some particular word; you want to correct
the fault, to spell aright. But every time that you are off guard, the
mistake recurs; the existing connection _a-b_ heads off the desired
connection _a-k_.

Fortunately, there are compensations. If a group of tendencies, for
instance, does escape interference, then _the brain settles down of
itself_. Schoolboys, with a keen sense for economy of effort, learn
their lessons only partway overnight, and find that a hasty review next
morning is enough to fix them; the associative tendencies work while
their owners sleep. The practised speaker, knowing that he has to talk
on a certain subject at a certain date, marshals his present ideas in
half-an-hour of concentrated attention, and then drops the whole thing;
his brain incubates it for him; and when the appointed day comes near,
he finds that his associative tendencies have practically prepared his
address. Besides, the tendencies may converge, as well as interfere;
we have seen how continued attention opens the mind to relevant facts
and closes it against the irrelevant (p. 98). If they did not, it
would be impossible for us to follow the thread of a paragraph, to say
nothing of a chapter or of a whole book. =Convergence= thus offsets
interference. We shall meet it in various forms later (§§ 42, 45,
65); meantime we leave the brain, and pass to the mental processes
themselves. How are they connected?

§35. =The Connections of Mental Processes.=—So far as the elementary
processes are concerned, this question has already been answered in
our discussion of perception. We found that there were _two modes of
sensory connection_, two ways in which sensations may go together. In
qualitative perceptions, such as the perception of a musical note,
there is a blend or =fusion= of qualities; we can, to be sure, analyse
the compound tone, after practice, into fundamental and overtones; yet
it still comes to us as unitary, as a single impression; it stands only
at one remove, so to speak, from the simplicity of sensation itself.
The tastes of coffee and lemonade, with their blending of taste and
smell, of touch and temperature; the organic feels of hunger and thirst
and nausea; the kinæsthesis aroused by grasping and pulling, by lifting
the arm and swinging the foot; all these experiences are fusions,
more or less intimate, more or less complex, of sensory qualities.
They too can be analysed; but the analysis is not easy; the qualities
cling together, seem in a way to merge into one another. In spatial
perceptions, on the other hand, in such perceptions as the sight of my
desk with its litter of writing materials, the elementary processes
stand out side by side; brown contrasts with blue, dark with light;
here, we might say, is no confluence, but rather concourse. In the
perception of rhythm we have the same separateness of sensations, only
that it is now temporal instead of spatial; and in the perception of
change (p. 132) we find both modes of connection, separate qualities
or intensities passing into one another by that peculiar blur or
fusion which we have called the index of change. This second type of
connection, whether it is the side-by-side of space or the end-to-end
of time, may be named =conjunction=.

The associative tendencies which we have been more recently discussing
are set up by series of meaningless syllables, that is to say, by
discrete stimuli. It is clear, then, that the connection of the
correlated mental processes is of the conjunctive type; we have said
nothing of the brain-processes which underlie sensory fusion. We can,
indeed, say nothing of them; we have no knowledge of their nature.
It has been suggested that qualitative perception is correlated with
a _synergy_ of the brain-processes, that is, with a cooperation so
close that every process taking part in it loses something of its
individuality. That is possible; we cannot say more.

When we leave the elementary processes for _complex experiences_, for
perceptions and ideas, and ask how these are connected, we cannot
return any completely satisfactory answer. Experiments may be made;
thus, a familiar visual stimulus (word or simple picture) may be shown
for a few seconds to the observer, with the instruction that he receive
it passively and report the consequent course of his mental processes.
Under these circumstances, it invariably happens that the stimulus is
immediately named. After that, apparently, any one of _three typical
things may happen_. First, the named perception is supplemented by
a sense-feeling. A word printed in very small letters on a large
background aroused the feeling of loneliness; a word printed in red, a
feeling of excitement; the word ‘blinding,’ the disagreeable feeling
of a dazzling light. Then the feeling gives way to an idea, which
supplants the meaning of the stimulus. Secondly, the named perception
is resolved into the idea of some object previously seen. An outline
drawing of a face may be replaced by the idea of a friend, whose
features are, so to say, read into the drawing; or the word ‘Tell,’
printed on a blue ground, may be replaced by the idea of the familiar
picture of William Tell springing from a boat to the rocks; the blue
of the background becomes the blue sky of the painting. Thirdly, and
only occasionally, the named perception is followed by an idea which
comes separate and detached; we have the traditional pattern of the
‘successive association.’ These three types of connection (there
are, of course, intermediate forms) do not furnish a satisfactory
answer to our question, mainly because the experiments are not
properly under control; the observer comes to them with all sorts
of associative tendencies at work; and unless we make a very large
number of observations, we cannot be sure that our results are either
representative or exhaustive.

At the same time, such experiments help us; they show, for instance,
that the doctrine of association—quite apart from its logical
leanings, or perhaps just by reason of them—regarded the course of
ideas in too ‘intellectual’ a way; _the sense-feelings, and other
feeling-blends that we shall mention later, play a larger part in
our thinking than the associationists dreamed of_. They show, too,
that _the ‘successive association’ is not the commonest, but rather
the least common, form of mental connection_. Listen to a quotation
from Hobbes! “In a discourse of our present civil war,” he writes,
“what could seem more impertinent [less to the point] than to ask,
as one did, what was the value of the Roman penny? Yet the coherence
to me was manifest enough. For the thought of the war introduced the
thought of delivering up the king to his enemies; the thought of that
brought in the thought of the delivering up of Christ; and that again
the thought of the thirty pence, which was the price of that treason.
And thence easily followed that malicious question: and all this in
a moment of time, for thought is quick.” Hobbes has worked out the
logical coherence, the coherence of meaning; but he is very far from a
psychology of the situation. What actually took place in the mind of
the questioner we shall never know; we may be very sure, however, that
his mental processes did not follow one another in logical order, as
Hobbes imagines. There was a convergence of associative tendencies,
which expressed itself in the question; there need not have been any
succession of ideas at all.

§ 36. =The Law of Mental Connection.=—We have spoken at some length
of the establishment of associative tendencies in the brain, of their
decay with time, and of their mutual interference. Can we sum up our
knowledge of them in _a single general statement_? And can we then
translate this general statement into =psychological= language, and so
reach a _formula of mental connection_ that may stand in place of the
logical laws of association? Let us try.

We must proceed very carefully, even if our care drives us into
clumsiness of expression. We cannot, for instance, leave out the fact
that the meaningless syllables are given in the state of _attention_.
It appears, indeed, that attention is necessary to association; we may
doubt if any amount of repetition—to take that example—would set up
an associative tendency, were it not for attention. Repetition, we
remember, is one of the determinants of attention (p. 94); so that the
repeated experience is likely to become vivid in the very nature of the
case; but if it does not, if for any reason our attention is diverted
or we fail to notice the stimulus, repetition has no associative power.
How many of us would like to recall the carpet or wall-paper of the
room we slept in as children! Thousands of times we saw the colours and
the patterns; but our adult memory is an absolute blank; those repeated
stimuli never ‘impressed’ us.

We cannot either leave out the fact that the meaningless syllables
are bracketed all together, so to speak, by a certain _situation_,
namely, the situation created by the experiment. The observer comes to
them, in accordance with this situation, intending to learn them, to
memorise them: a fact of very great importance!—and a fact that needs
to be dwelt on for a little, if we are to see our way clearly in what
follows. We said on p. 149 that _meanings_ are associated. Yet we have
been studying the formation of associative tendencies in the brain,
the associating organ, by the help of—meaningless syllables! Is there
not a flat contradiction here between theory and practice? No, that is
really not the case; and the key to the riddle lies in this fact of the
‘situation’ which we are now discussing. The syllables are meaningless
_as_ syllables; they are thus set apart from ordinary syllables that
are meaningful; and it is this difference from _words_, combined with
their likeness to words in other respects, that makes them useful to
the experimenter (p. 151). For since they are themselves meaningless,
we can put upon them a constant meaning of our own; we can introduce
them into any situation of our own making; and the meaning that we give
them, in the study of the associative tendencies, is the meaning of
‘an experimental series to be learned under certain instructions’: a
meaning which is definite, and which remains the same throughout the
experiments. You see, then, that the ‘situation’ is important.

Attention, as we know, means reinforcement of certain nervous processes
and inhibition of others (p. 107); and the intention to learn implies
the activity of directive nerve-forces (p. 96), the existence of a
special set or disposition of the brain. Let us keep these things in
mind; and let us call the brain-processes that are correlated with
mental processes ‘psychoneural’ processes. Then we may say: _When a
number of psychoneural processes, all of which are reinforced and
all of which stand alike under the directive influence of a nervous
disposition, occur together under certain favourable conditions, then_
=associative tendencies= _are established among them, such that the
recurrence of any one tends to involve, according to circumstances, the
recurrence of the others_. The phrase ‘under favourable conditions’
refers to the effect of repetition of the series, of their distribution
in time, and so forth; and the phrase ‘according to circumstances’
means that heed must be paid to the lapse of time since learning, to
the working of initial or terminal inhibition, and so forth.

So much for a generalised law of associative tendency, derived from the
work with meaningless syllables! That is _a law of nervous action_;
now let us turn to =psychology=, and see if we can formulate a law of
mental connection. We shall be dealing with perceptions and ideas;
and we shall be dealing with them as experiences, made up of core and
context (p. 117).

_Attention_ is again necessary. Intention, on the other hand, seems
not to be necessary; there need be no special purpose behind the
experiences, as the intention to learn is behind the experiments with
meaningless syllables; attention is enough. The idea of a surgical
operation, for instance, may be permanently connected with the idea
of the surgeon who performed it, although the intervention of that
particular surgeon was quite casual and unexpected. The reason is
that _attention brings a situation, its own situation, with it_;
the determinants of primary attention are, as we put it on p. 97,
the ‘great biological stimuli,’ things that an organism _must_ take
notice of, if it is to persist as a living organism at all; and the
determinants of derived primary attention are also what we may call
‘situational’ affairs, things that appeal in certain circumstances
to certain sides of our nature, things that interest or ‘impress’
us. So attention, too, implies a set or disposition of the nervous
system; common sense is so far in the right—though its words are
misleading—when it talks of a ‘concentration of the mind,’ of ‘pulling
oneself together,’ and the like; and _this general set is sufficient_,
without the presence of a distinct purpose. Our law will read, then,
somewhat to this effect: _If a number of vivid perceptions or ideas,
whose situational context is the same, occur together under favourable
conditions, then the later appearance in the same situational context
of any one will tend to be accompanied, according to circumstances, by
the reappearance (as ideas) of the others_.

That is correct, so far as it goes; though, as we shall see in a
moment, it does not go quite far enough. Meanwhile, you must clearly
realise that _the processes which compose the perceptions and ideas
are extremely variable_. We have already discussed this matter; we
have seen that the perception of an object and the idea of the same
object do not by any means correspond, term for term, like original and
copy; the form of our ideas depends, in the first instance, upon our
imaginal type, and secondarily upon the special circumstances under
which they appear (pp. 139 f.). When, therefore, we speak of ‘the later
appearance of an idea in the same situational context,’ we really mean
the appearance of that complex of mental processes which, under the law
of imaginal type and under the special circumstances of the moment,
has taken the place of the original complex. In the next chapter we
shall be discussing the ‘memory-image,’ and you will then be shown
how radically an idea may be transformed; so radically, that it may
be likened rather to a translation than a copy of the perception,
rather to a rendering into another language than a reproduction. If you
want a catch-phrase, to hold this fact of change in mind, _think of
association as a marriage by proxy_; the marriage-bond, the situational
context, remains the same, but the parties are represented by very
variable mental complexes.


Now for the law once more! _The formula does not go far enough; for
while it covers the movement of ideas within a single situational
context, it does not show how we may pass, as we undoubtedly do, from
one situational context to another._ Here a diagram will, perhaps, make
things plain. Suppose that we start out with an idea _a_, composed of
core and context, and lying within the wider situational context of
the right-hand oval. The appearance of _a_ is followed, let us assume,
by the reappearance of _b_, which lies within the same situational
context. The idea _b_ may be followed, in its turn, by _c_. But since
_b_ belongs also to a second situation, represented by the left-hand
oval, it may be followed instead by the idea _x_; and in that event we
shall have travelled from the one situational context to the other.
Whether _c_ or _x_ comes up is a matter which depends entirely upon
the relative strength of the associative tendencies at the moment.
The diagram, it is needless to say, is immensely over-simplified; we
have placed _a_, _c_, and _x_ within _one_ situational context only,
and we have made the ideas _follow_ one another in single file; but it
shows how our formulation of the law must be extended, if we are to
‘get in’ all the facts. We must add: _If certain of these reappearing
ideas belong also to a different situational context, they will tend
to be accompanied, again according to circumstances, by the ideas
which formerly occurred together (as perceptions or ideas) within that
context_. In point of fact, most ideas belong to very many different
situations, so that the interweaving of the associative tendencies may
be highly complicated.

These paragraphs will strike you as both difficult and clumsy; but,
if you review the course of the whole chapter, you will perhaps agree
that our attempt at formulation has been worth while. We began with
Aristotle’s four rules, and found that they are logical and practical,
and also that they may logically be reduced to one, the ‘law of
association by contiguity.’ That law did not satisfy us; we agreed with
James that the _brain_ associates and that _meanings_ are associated.
So we went to the brain; and by the aid of meaningless syllables we
traced the history of the associative tendencies. Coming back to
psychology proper, we distinguished the fusion and the conjunction of
mental processes, and noted that the experimental method does not yet
permit us to follow the patterns of mental connection in the large;
though the experiments already made furnish additional proof that
the old ‘laws’ of association are psychologically valueless. Now, to
conclude, we have sought, first, to bring all that we know of the
associative tendencies under a single formula; and then, building
upon that formula and upon our partial knowledge of the patterns of
mental connection, to write a psychological law that shall replace the
logical law of contiguity. We have had to safeguard and qualify, and
to leave loose ends for individual variation; but at any rate we have
something positive whereby to support our criticism of the doctrine of

§ 37. =Practice, Habit, Fatigue.=—The establishment of an associative
tendency may be looked upon as the establishment of a _habit_ of
brain-function; the learning of series of syllables improves with
_practice_; and continued learning gives rise to _fatigue_. It is
natural, therefore, that we should here pause to say something about
these three things in their relation to psychology.

All =practice= begins in the state of _attention_; but practice, once
started, may go on when attention is distracted from the matter in
hand. We give a great deal of attention to our first finger-exercises
on the piano; presently, if we have continued them long enough, we
may practise Chopin on the clavier while we are reading a book or
thinking out a problem; the fingers do the practising for themselves.
If we follow _the course of practice_, from day to day, we find that
improvement is not steady; we gain very quickly at first, then come to
a point at which we remain stationary for a while, then make another
and slower gain, then rest at a second plateau or level of practice,
and so on. It is doubtful, however, whether this stepwise advance is
characteristic of practice itself, that is, of the nervous change
produced by repeated stimulation of the same nerve-elements; it seems
rather to be due to changes in our method of working, to the sudden
discovery of some new trick of procedure, or the sudden release from
some hampering peculiarity of method. We cannot speak in positive terms
since, unfortunately for psychology, the investigators of practice have
been more concerned with outward results and practical value than with
description of the correlated mental processes.

In psychological experiments, _the practised observer has a threefold
superiority over the unpractised_: his attitude to the stimuli, in
successive observations, is more nearly uniform; his attention is
sustained at a higher level; and his discrimination is more refined.
This means that the focal mental processes are few in number; that they
are extremely vivid; and that they are protected, by strong inhibitory
forces, against intrusion from the outside. It is clear therefore that
practice is very desirable; but it is clear also that experimental
results may be compared only if the stage of practice at which they are
obtained is the same. This rule has some odd examples: an observer,
for instance, who is practised in the discrimination of lifted weights
grows physically stronger with his practice, and may therefore judge
quite differently from the unpractised observer.

=Habit= is, in general, the outcome of practice; if practice shows us a
nervous set or disposition in the making, habit is the set taken, the
disposition established; the plastic organ has hardened in some special
way. Like practice, habit in its early stages requires _attention_;
but it is to be noticed that a habit may be formed, not only by the
repetition that practice brings, but also by any single stimulus that
violently impresses the nervous system; the plastic mechanism may be
thrown, by a sudden wrench, into a new and permanent arrangement; just
as we may give a permanent bend to a fencing foil by a single violent
lunge. We have already seen, in our discussion of the development of
attention (p. 99), that habits already formed are the basis of new
acquisition; and we may remark in passing that the moral and practical
importance of habit has often been written upon and can hardly be

In all experimental work of a serial kind, habit shows itself as a
_tendency to experience and report the same things_. Suppose, for
example, that we wish to ascertain the least perceptible difference of
tonal pitch. We begin with two identical tones, and gradually separate
them in the successive experiments of the series. The observer begins
with the experience and report of ‘same’ or ‘alike.’ If, now, the
differences between the tones are made very small, so that the series
of observations is long drawn out, the observer may get into the habit
of hearing and reporting ‘same’; although the tonal difference is
definitely perceptible, it nevertheless passes without notice. The
focal processes are here, as they are in the case of practice, few in
number; but they run their course at a low level of attention; they
are intrinsically obscure, and the report of them simply follows the
line of least resistance. The observer is correspondingly liable to
distraction from the outside; the inhibitory protection is weak.
Habituation is consequently to be avoided, as practice is to be desired.

=Fatigue= appears to be due to a sort of blood-poisoning;
waste-products thrown off by the other tissues are poured into the
blood-stream and there accumulate. It shows itself first of all by way
of _muscular sensation_ (p. 46), and soon becomes a sense-feeling;
whereupon the biological theory of feeling lays hold of it (p. 84),
and bids us stop work because we are suffering harm. _The feeling of
fatigue, however, gives no sure evidence that the capacity of the
nervous system is reduced_; the biological theory signally breaks down;
not only can we work effectively, but we often do our best work, after
we have begun to feel tired. We should take our cue to rest not from
the feeling of fatigue, but rather from the impairment of our work,
in quantity and quality, on the one hand, and from derangement of the
great bodily functions, such as digestion and sleep, on the other.

In psychological experiments, fatigue _lowers the level and lessens
the duration of attention_, and so, like habituation, makes against
discrimination; unlike habituation, it tends also to _inhibit
expression_, and thus renders the observer’s report hesitating and
uncertain. It is characterised, unlike practice and habituation both,
by a special mental complex; a diffused feeling of lassitude which may
be dominated by some local strain or pain.

In conclusion, we may mention that a great deal of controversy has
centred about the questions _whether special practice has a general or
a merely local effect_, and _whether general fatigue may be estimated
from the results of some special and local test_. The first question
may be answered in the words of Professor Thorndike: “One mental
function or activity improves others in so far as and because they
are in part identical with it, because it contains elements common to
them. These identical elements may be in the stuff, the data concerned
in the training, or in the attitude, the method taken with it.” The
second question cannot yet be answered. We have every reason to think
that fatigue is everywhere and always one and the same state, that
mental and muscular fatigue, for instance, are identical; if we are
mentally fatigued, we get rest neither by a change of mental work nor
by physical exertion. But no single test or index of the danger-point
of fatigue has yet been discovered.

Questions and Exercises

(1) Criticise the following statements. (A good plan would be, first,
to go behind the expression to the meaning, and to make sure of that;
then to take up precisely the opposite position, and see what can be
said for it; and then finally to write your comments on the statements
themselves.) (_a_) When two elementary brain-processes have been active
together or in immediate succession, one of them, on reoccurring, tends
to propagate its excitement into the other. (_b_) There is no tendency
on the part of _simple_ ‘ideas,’ attributes, or qualities to remind us
of their like, (_c_) Association marries only universals. (_d_) Brick
is one complex idea, mortar is another complex idea; these ideas, with
ideas of position and quantity, compose my idea of a wall.

 W. James, Principles of Psychology, i., 1890, 566, 579; F. H. Bradley,
 in Mind, xii., 1887, 358; J. Mill, Analysis of the Phenomena of the
 Human Mind, i., 1869, 115.

(2) How does the dominance of associationism in British psychology
throw light upon the psychology of the nation itself?

(3) What sort of service could the doctrine of association render to

(4) Can you give specific reasons for the fact that too long a series
of syllables throws the learner into confusion? and for the advantage
that results from distribution of the series in time?

(5) Do you think that the quick or the slow learner has the better
chance to retain what he has learned? Have you any evidence?

(6) Associative tendencies decay with time; yet we have said that the
practised speaker drops his speech, and lets his brain incubate it. Is
there not a contradiction here? Consider the two cases carefully.

(7) Can you give instances, from your own recent experience, of the
working of initial and terminal inhibition?

(8) Later writers have added to the four ‘laws’ of Aristotle
(similarity, contrast, succession, coadjacency) various other laws:
means and end, cause and effect, whole and part, thing and properties,
sign and thing signified, and so on. Can you suggest any reason for
these additions? Can you give an instance under every ‘law,’ and reduce
it psychologically to our own law of association? Try to get real
instances, taken from your own or your friends’ experience.

(9) Trace the connection of mental processes in your own case as
follows. An experimenter prepares a set of simple pictures, and
arranges to show them for 3 sec. by removal and replacement of a
cardboard screen. Sit at a convenient distance, and let the stimulus
have its way with you; report your mental processes as they come; the
experimenter writes down what you say. Try to give the facts, and not
to express yourself in meanings. Do not be discouraged if the task
seems, at first, to be too difficult.

(10) (_a_) Can you give any reason why your work might be unusually
good when you are feeling a little tired? (_b_) What is the relation of
interest to practice?

(11) State, in your own words, what the doctrine of association
professes to do, and what cardinal mistake it falls into when it tries
to do it.

(12) (_a_) Write out, in common-sense terms, the facts that the law
of mental connection has to translate into psychological language.
Next, write out, in your own words, the law itself. Now compare your
formulation with that of the text: do they tally? If not, do you
understand the difference? Do not be satisfied to leave any point
obscure. (_b_) Show that the law of mental connection does justice, as
the older ‘laws’ of association do not, to the facts of § 35. (_c_)
You often read in fiction of situations whose every detail makes an
indelible impression; you will find one described, for instance,
in Mrs. Deland’s ‘Philip and his Wife,’ ch. xxix. Is the writer’s
psychology sound?


W. James, Principles of Psychology, i., 1890, chs. iv., xiv.; F. H.
Bradley, The Principles of Logic, 1883, 273 ff.; H. Ebbinghaus, Memory,
trs. H. A. Ruger and C. E. Bussenius, 1913; C. S. Myers, A Text-book
of Experimental Psychology, i., 1911, chs. xii., xiii.; O. Kuelpe,
Outlines of Psychology, 1909, 169 ff.; E. B. Titchener, A Text-book
of Psychology, 1910, 374 ff.; M. Offner, Mental Fatigue, trs. G. M.
Whipple, 1911; E. L. Thorndike, Educational Psychology, ii., 1913; E.
Meumann, The Psychology of Learning, trs. J. W. Baird, 1913.



 Inventors seem to treasure up in their minds, what they have found
 out, after another manner than those do the same things, who have
 not this inventive faculty. The former, when they have occasion to
 produce their knowledge, are in some measure obliged immediately to
 investigate part of what they want. For this they are not equally fit
 at all times; so it has often happened, that such as retain things
 chiefly by means of a very strong memory, have appeared off hand more
 expert than the discoverers themselves.—HENRY PEMBERTON

§ 38. =Recognition.=—The working of the associative tendencies in
the brain guarantees the revival of past experiences; it does not, so
far as we have described it, guarantee that we remember. For _memory,
in the psychological sense, implies recognition_; the remembered
experience is not only revived, but is also familiar, comes to us
as a bit of our own past history. We must try to find out what this
familiarity is.

Suppose that you are entering a street-car. As you enter, you run your
eyes over the line of faces before you. The first half-dozen of your
fellow-passengers are strangers; their faces arouse no interest and do
not arrest your gaze. At the end of the car, however, you see a friend
whom you have not met, perhaps, for some time; you recognise him. Your
indifference is suddenly gone; you call him by name, take a seat at his
side, and begin to talk with him. What has happened?

Something has happened that, if you analyse it, recalls the first
of the three connective patterns discussed on p. 161. The visual
perception of your friend is supplemented by a _verbal idea_, his name.
Along with the name comes a peculiar _sense-feeling_, a feeling that
you may characterise as a glow of warmth, a feeling of intimacy, a
feeling of sociable ease, of relaxation from the formal manner that you
wear with strangers. And hardly has the feeling formed when _ideas_ of
sorts begin to crowd upon you, and the conversation starts. All this
complexity of mental connection is there, and the whole experience may
be called a recognition; but we cannot, of course, accept it at its
face-value; we must still ask how much of it is essential, and whether
one or more of the three factors—name, feeling, ideas—may be left out
while recognition remains.

Experiment shows that the _one thing necessary to recognition is the_
=feeling of familiarity=. In some cases the incoming ideas, and more
especially the direct verbal supplement of the perception, the name,
seem to be integral factors in the experience; but recognition is
possible in their absence; and, what is more, recognition may fail in
their presence; a perception may call up ideas that are objectively
correct, and yet there may be no recognition of the thing perceived.
_Recognition, then, is essentially a feeling, a sense-feeling of
the agreeable and relaxing type, diffusively organic in its sensory
character_; any perception or idea to which this feeling attaches is,
by that very fact, the perception or idea of something recognised.
That is as far as analysis can take us. If we care to go further, and
speculate, we may venture to guess that the feeling of familiarity is
a weakened survival of the =emotion of relief=, of fear unfulfilled.
There is a distinct touch of pleasurable relief, of the letting-down
of strain, in the feeling as we have it; and the derivation is
therefore psychologically reasonable. Moreover, primitive man was so
defenceless an animal that the strange must always have been cause
for anxiety; language, indeed, bears witness on the point; for ‘fear’
is, etymologically, the state of mind of the traveller, the ‘farer’
away from home; and ‘hostis,’ which we translate enemy, originally
meant simply stranger. The bodily and mental attitude which expresses
recognition thus seems to be still the attitude of going off guard, of
ease and confidence. In our everyday life, as you will readily see,
the tinge of sense-feeling may be overlaid by the heavier colours of
some positive emotion; we may recognise an acquaintance with whom we
are heartily angry, or whose conduct has brought us sorrow; primitive
man himself recognised his enemies! But in the laboratory, where
these disturbing influences are ruled out, the nature of the feeling
of familiarity comes clearly to light; intrinsically, recognition is
always an agreeable and relaxing experience.

In everyday life, again, our _recognitions may be of all degrees of
definiteness_. They are indefinite when the feeling of familiarity
comes up alone, without the name or the associated ideas; when, for
instance, we pass someone on the street, and say to our companion
“I’m sure I know that face!” and so pass on. They are somewhat more
definite when the perception is supplemented by a general name. As
we glance down the line of strangers in the street-car we may think
to ourselves “doctor,—farmer,—commercial traveller—soldier”;
the feeling of familiarity then represents our recognition of the
class. Lastly, they are definite when one or more of the contributory
factors—the name, the organic stir of the feeling, the incoming
ideas—carry an unequivocal reference to our past experience, mean
some definite incident of our past life. We chance to overhear a name
in conversation; and “Why,” we break in, “that’s the man I went up the
Gross Glockner with in ‘98!”—the recognition is definite. _There is no
real psychological difference_ between the three cases; the difference
lies only in the range of meaning which the contextual processes carry.

_There is a psychological difference_, however, between all the cases
of recognition which we have hitherto mentioned and certain other
cases: a difference _between direct and indirect recognition_. The
recognition is direct when the perception at once, of itself, calls up
the recognitive feeling. It is indirect when the feeling attaches, not
directly to the perception, but to some idea or some other perception
connected with the given perception. We pass a stranger on the street;
but we are suddenly hailed by a familiar voice; the recognition of the
voice makes us look hard at the stranger’s face, and we then recognise
him as an old college friend. We try to find our host’s face in a
group-photograph of schoolboys, and we are wholly puzzled to identify
him; the face is pointed out in the picture, and we turn from it to
the mature face with which we are familiar; the photograph grows more
and more like, the more closely we compare the two; presently we get a
sudden conviction of their identity, the recognition of the photograph
is complete, and we wonder that we could have failed to pick the right
boy at the outset. In both these instances, _recognition hinges on the
feeling of familiarity_; but something else happens, something that
reminds us of the second connective pattern of p. 161, where an idea
is read into a perception, or the perception resolved into an idea.
There are times, too, when recognition is halting and partial, when the
feeling of familiarity alternates with a feeling of strangeness; in
such experiences the play of associative tendencies may be extremely

§ 39. =Direct Apprehension.=—We saw on p. 120 that meaning, which was
at first a fringe of mental processes, a contextual setting of some bit
of bare experience, may in course of time be carried by nerve-processes
which have no mental correlates of any kind. The same thing seems to
hold of recognition. We do not, in strictness, ‘recognise’ the clothes
that we put on every morning, or the desk at which we are accustomed to
write; we =apprehend= them, directly, as our clothes and our desk; we
take them for granted. The feeling of familiarity, the feeling of being
at home with our own things, changes first to something that is still
a feeling, though weaker and more nebulous; to something that we may
describe as an ‘of-course’ feeling, which is still some distance away
from sheer indifference. As the days and weeks go on, this of-course
feeling itself dies out; the stimuli no longer have power to arouse
a feeling at all, and the organism faces the habitual situations
without any organic stir. We apprehend the clothes and desk _as_ ours,
precisely as we perceive the tree and the piano _as_ spatial (p. 115).
In experiments on the recognition of greys, the author has reported
positively that a particular grey had been seen before, without
being able to find anything whatsoever, in the way of verbal idea or
kinæsthetic quiver or organic thrill, that might carry the meaning of
familiarity; the brain-habit just touched off the report ‘Yes,’ and
that was all that could be said.

_That brain-habit, however, had a psychological history behind it;
and the history shows itself whenever our direct apprehension is in
some manner disturbed or prevented._ We reach out to our inkstand,
and find that the pen which always lies in it has disappeared; or
we glance round the breakfast-room, and notice that a picture which
always hangs upon a certain wall has gone. We have not been wont to
recognise the pen and the picture; they were just matters of course.
Now that they are absent, however, the situation jars upon us; we
have a pronounced feeling of helplessness or of displeased surprise.
That is as far, perhaps, as ordinary observation goes; but there is
really more to be observed. For at the moment of disturbance, before
the disagreeable feeling has arisen, the ‘of-course’ feeling springs
up in unusual strength; it is as if, for a brief space, we reverted
in imagination to a true recognition of the missing object. And even
after the displeasure is there, we may go back more than once to the
familiar state of affairs; we can’t believe, as we say, we can’t
trust our eyes, the thing has always been in that place; so that the
glow of recognition alternates with the dominant feeling. In a word,
_the disturbance of apprehension has brought back to life certain
stages in the past history of the brain-habit_, stages in which the
nerve-processes had as their correlates the mental processes that make
up the feeling of familiarity.

This passage of recognition, from the characteristic feeling of
familiarity through the weaker of-course feeling into a sheer
brain-habit or nervous set, illustrates the descending phase of a
progression which is typical in psychology, and which is summed up in
the =law of mental growth and decay=. We are constantly finding that
a mental formation, a particular complex of mental processes, is at
first thin and scant, then enriches itself by various supplementary
processes, and then again thins out or tails off—finally, into
mental nothingness; and recognition illustrates the downward half of
the curve. The law was strongly insisted on by the late G. H. Lewes,
an author who wrote largely on psychological topics, but who is
better known to the general reader from his association with George
Eliot. “This process,” Lewes tell us, “underlies all development.
The voluntary actions become involuntary, the involuntary become
automatic; the intelligent become habitual, and the habitual become
instinctive. It is the same in the higher regions of intellect: the
slow acquisitions of centuries of research become condensed into axioms
which are intuitions.” We have already met the law in our discussions
of attention and meaning; and we shall meet it again when we come to
discuss action.

§ 40. =The Memory-Idea.=—But where, all this while, is the
memory-image? If you had been asked, before you read the foregoing
paragraphs, what happens when you recognise somebody or something, you
would probably have replied, as the associationists reply: ‘The present
sight of the object calls up an _image_ of that object, by the law of
similarity; then the image or idea is compared with the perception,
and the two are found to agree; and this agreement is what I mean
by recognition.’ If it were then objected that observation fails to
show any such idea or image, you would perhaps have said: ‘The whole
thing takes place so quickly that the factors cannot ordinarily be
distinguished; but all the same that is what must happen.’ And so you
would have kept your faith in the image.

_Such an image may, in fact, appear._ It may appear in the cases
of halting and partial recognition that we referred to on p. 181;
but it need not necessarily appear even there; its intervention is,
indeed, as rare as the third type of mental connection, the clean-cut
succession of p. 161. You will perhaps get at the heart of the matter
most easily if we lay down, at once, the general principle that _no
imaginal process or complex of imaginal processes is in its own right a
memory-idea_. Even if the simple images which compose it are different
from sensations (p. 77), it must still be called a complex image, and
nothing more; not an idea of memory. A complex of imaginal processes
becomes, _is made into_, a memory-idea by an attendant feeling of
familiarity; just exactly as a perception, a complex of sensory
processes, is made into a recognition of something by the same feeling
of familiarity. So that _an idea, in order to be a memory-idea, must
bear the memory-label_; and the label will be either the sense-feeling
of familiarity proper, or else some weaker and more fleeting feeling of
the ‘of-course’ kind. It is true, again, that an idea which has lived
through this history may be taken _as_ a memory-idea when the label has
dropped away; but even then it is a memory-idea, not in its own right,
but in right of the brain-habit behind it. No group of images, taken
out of its mental setting or removed from the directive pressure of a
brain-habit, can be known as a memory; it might be hallucination or
dream or imagination or anything else; it is just a group of images.

Our quarrel with popular psychology goes further still. _The whole
notion that a memory-idea is a copy of past experience is wrong_; the
idea may copy the perception, but it need not; and usually it does
not. You remember that, after we had formulated our own law of mental
connection, we introduced the catch-phrase ‘marriage by proxy’; and you
remember why. What, now, is the essential thing about a memory-idea?
Not, surely, that it should copy past experience, but that it should
_mean_ past experience. Our individual equipment of images is so
variable (p. 139) that we should be very badly off if we were limited,
in what we remember, to copies of our perceptions; _A_, who has no
visual images, could then remember nothing that he had seen, and _B_,
who has no auditory images, could remember nothing that he had heard!
Such are the straits to which popular psychology must logically reduce
us. In point of fact, _A_ remembers well enough what he has seen;
only, the visual parts of his experience are translated into other
modes, perhaps verbal-motor. In that event a verbal-motor image, set
in the right context and accompanied by a feeling of familiarity, may
mean for _A_ some visual object that he perceived so many years since.
It goes flat against common sense to assert that a verbal-motor image
is the ‘memory’ of the visual perception; and yet that is just what the
verbal-motor image, in its present setting, actually is.

_This translation of perception into imagery of another mode has
curious consequences._ I may declare positively that I remember having
heard Patti sing forty years ago, when all that I really remember is
the statement itself, the form of words which carries my meaning. Nay
more, if my mind is of the imaginal type, I may have taken my cue
from the verbal statement, and have conjured up a mental picture of
the performance, a picture now so familiar that I could swear to the
pink dress,—were it not that a contemporary notice writes it down as
cream! _Words often repeated are in this way highly deceptive_; and
there is good psychology in the story of the traveller who told his
romantic tales so often that he finally believed them himself. Many of
us, if we would but confess it, remember things that happened before
we were born; the account of them was impressed on us in childhood,
and was later bodied forth in images; and now their ideas bear the
memory-label. Here, then, is one source of the ‘untrustworthiness’ of
memory, which is at the same time a possible source of the Platonic
doctrine of reminiscence.

§41. =Illusions of Recognition and Memory.=—Psychologically, an
illusory memory is a memory, just as an illusory perception is a
perception. We speak of _illusion_ when our experience fails to square
with what, from our knowledge of external circumstances and of other
like experiences, we might have expected; the distinction is therefore
practical, not scientific. We shall avail ourselves of it, partly for
convenience’ sake, and partly because certain cases of illusion offer
special problems to the psychologist.

Most of us, probably, have an occasional acquaintance with what is
called =paramnesia= or wrong recognition: a definite ‘feeling that all
this has happened before,’ sometimes connected with a ‘feeling that
we know exactly what is coming,’—a ‘feeling’ which persists for a
few seconds and carries positive conviction, in spite of the fact and
the knowledge that the experience is novel; Dickens gives an instance
in _David Copperfield_. Various explanations have been offered of
the phenomenon. It occurs most frequently after periods of emotional
stress, or in the state of extreme mental fatigue; that is, at a time
when the associative tendencies in the brain are abnormally weak; and
it seems to depend, essentially, upon a disjunction of mental processes
that are normally held together in a single state of attention. Suppose
the following case: you are about to cross a crowded street, and you
take a hasty glance in both directions to make sure of a safe passage.
Now your eye is caught, for a moment, by the contents of a shop window;
and you pause, though only for a moment, to survey the window before
you actually cross the street. Paramnesia would then appear as the
feeling that you had already crossed; the preliminary glance up and
down, which ordinarily connects with the crossing in a single attentive
experience, is disjoined from the crossing; the look at the window,
casual as it was, has been able to disrupt the associative tendencies.
As you cross, then, you think ‘Why, I crossed this street just now’;
your nervous system has severed two phases of a single experience, both
of which are familiar, and the latter of which appears accordingly as a
repetition of the earlier. The illusion will evidently be strengthened
if, as is only natural, the casual look at the window does not recur to
you. This is an imaginary case, simplified for clearness of exposition;
and we cannot be at all sure that the explanation which it suggests is
correct; for cases of paramnesia cannot be realised at will, and the
nervous condition that leads to them is not favourable to scientific
observation; but something of the sort must take place.

Illusions of memory have been touched upon on p. 186. We may remember
something that never happened; we may remember something that happened,
but could not have happened to us; we make all kinds of mistakes in
memory; we fail to remember a great deal that has happened. These
chances of error are inherent in the laws of associative tendency, and
in the character of the memory-image. There is one illusion, however,
that requires a word of comment: the illusion of the ‘=good old days=,’
the tendency of every man past middle age to be _laudator temporis
acti se puero_. This has often been referred to the principle that we
remember pleasurable experiences better than unpleasurable; we are so
constituted, it is said, that the disagreeable events of our past life
are forgotten and the agreeable are conserved in memory. The principle,
however, has never been established, and there is some experimental
evidence against it. In all probability, _the illusion is due to many
contributing factors_. First of all, our nervous system takes its
general set in childhood; it is then that we acquire standards of right
and wrong, of social position, of daily intercourse and occupation.
In so far as later experiences interfere with this set, the old order
will be preferred. Secondly, our self-centredness (p. 2) leads us
to idealise our past self; we think of ourselves as more important,
more heroic, more dominating, more regarded, not only than we were,
but also than any youngster of our sort could possibly have been;
autobiographies, however truthful in intention, bring out the point
with sufficient clearness. So we contrast our present struggles with
the triumphs of an unreal past. Thirdly, the old days were, in one
sense, really happier for us than the new; happier because we had no
responsibilities, because there was a generation of adults to whom we
could appeal; and we are very prone to confuse our own greater comfort
with a better status of society. These are obvious considerations, but
they and things like them are enough to account for the illusion.

§ 42. =The Pattern of Memory.=—Psychology cannot yet offer any
adequate description of the pattern that mental processes display, the
arrangement that they fall into, when we are remembering. Memory, as
we are all aware, may occur in the state of primary attention, when we
call it remembrance, or in the state of secondary attention, when we
call it recollection. Something may be said under both heads; but our
account must be largely figurative and conventional.

Let us take =remembrance= first. There seems to be, as it were in
the background, something that holds us down to a particular circle
of ideas, or, in other words, that limits the play of ideas to some
particular situation. This something may be a group of contextual
mental processes, or may be merely a nervous disposition; we shall
have more to say of it later (§ 48). Upon the background move mental
processes of extraordinary instability, all of them tinged more or less
strongly by the feeling of familiarity. Attention is labile and fluid;
the focus is occupied now by visual or other imagery, now by scraps
of kinæsthesis, and now by organic or verbal processes that carry a
personal meaning and reference; and the whole mental stream contracts
and expands, pauses and hurries, and shows the most abrupt changes
of direction. All of which is sadly vague! but let the reader catch
himself ‘reminiscing,’ and he will realise the general truth of the
description, and also the extreme difficulty of making it more concrete.

In =recollection=, the background is filled by the intent to recall;
and this intent may, again, be constituted by contextual mental
processes or carried by a nervous set. The course of recollection may
then be characterised as _a reconstruction along the lines of least
resistance_. Some bit of imagery, some form of words comes up, and
is at once met, so to say, by the feeling of familiarity. Further
ideas present themselves, in more or less disorderly fashion, and the
feeling plays upon them, accepting here and rejecting there, serving
throughout the experience as a court of final appeal. Some of the
ideas are directly recognised; some seem to force our acceptance by
their vividness; some pass muster because familiar verbal ideas, names
or phrases, are connected with them. Some, that leave us in doubt as
they arise, are shelved for the time, to be judged later on, when the
positive acceptances are done with; and they are likely to be judged
in the light of these acceptances, and of our general knowledge of
the situation which we are trying to recall; even a weak recognitive
feeling is enough to give them status. In and out among these ideas
run threads of kinæsthesis, which imitate or repeat fragments of the
original experience. There is thus a veritable tangle of processes; the
situation is not reproduced in image, and its items read off in logical
order; it is rather reconstructed; and the reconstruction follows, as
has been said, the lines of least resistance at the moment. Yet we
are so accustomed to the logical order of speech that our narrative,
as recollection proceeds, may give but little hint of the tangled
interplay of ideas; at most we may correct ourselves at points, or
remark that just now we left something out. Observe the flow of mind
itself, and the disorder is apparent.

We may say, then, that _the pattern of memory is a discursive movement
within fixed boundaries_; the boundaries are given by the set or
background, as we have named it, by the fact (in other words) that we
are recalling a particular situation or event; and the discursiveness
reveals itself in roaming of attention and shift of ideas, which imply
a variable activity of the associative tendencies. The characteristic
processes are the _feeling of familiarity_ and the _imitative

§ 43. =Mnemonics.=—Rules for remembering, tricks of memorising, were
considered of great importance in the ancient world; oratory was
highly esteemed; and no orator before the time of Augustus would have
ventured to use notes. As the art declined, these rules were less and
less regarded; we hear practically nothing of them between the first
and the thirteenth centuries of the present era. From that date,
however, interest in _artificial memory-systems_ has never died out;
they have been recommended for sermons, for lectures, for disputations,
for public speeches, for the learning of foreign languages, for
examinations, for practically every occasion in which memory is
employed, as well as for the improvement of memory itself.

_The great principle of mnemonics is that you remember the novel
and the disconnected by bringing it into arbitrary relation to the
familiar and the connected._ Everybody, for instance, is thoroughly
at home in his own house; the positions of the rooms are known, and
their employment for the necessary purposes of the family holds them
together. Suppose, then, that you are to deliver a speech, and that the
speech has eight principal points. You think of yourself as entering
the house: the first point you deposit in the hall, the second in the
drawing-room, the third in the library, the fourth in the back hall,
the fifth in the kitchen, the sixth in the pantry, the seventh in the
dining-room, the eighth on the upstairs landing. You think of yourself
as making the separate points in these different places; if possible,
you invent some fanciful connection between the point and the place
where you deposit it; if, for example, your second or drawing-room
point is an historical reference, you might think of ‘drawing a hiss’
from your audience; anything will do, provided it is the sort of thing
to stick! This local or _topographical way of memorising_ has always
been popular; it is said that our ordinary phrases ‘in the first
place,’ ‘in the second place,’ derive from it. _Number-alphabets_,
in which certain letters stand for certain figures, are also much
employed; dates, physical constants, statistical numbers, may thus be
memorised. The _rhythm of verse_ has been appealed to; if you want to
remember the seven cities that laid claim to the birth of Homer, you
learn the hexameter-line ‘Smyrna, Chios, Colophon, Salamis, Rhodos,
Argos, Athenæ’; and you are helped—if further help is wanted—by the
pattern of the initial letters SCCS-RAA.

_Such devices have a special and temporary utility_; we have all taken
examinations, and probably we have all had recourse to them on a larger
or smaller scale. Many of us have paid the not infrequent penalty; we
have remembered our mnemonic doggerel, but have forgotten the key to
it, and so have forgotten the events or numbers that it was meant to
recall; there is always that danger. _No scheme of memory-aids that
is universally applicable and universally reliable has been or can
be discovered_; there is no royal road to learning. In so far as a
mnemonic rule follows the laws of associative tendency, as for many
minds the local or topographical rule seems to do; or in so far as it
chimes with some peculiarity of individual thinking; in so far, it will
be of practical service in daily life; that is the most that can be

§ 44. =The Idea of Imagination.=—We think of memory as reproducing
the old, and of imagination, no less positively, as producing the new;
the very word _poet_ means the maker, and the word _artist_ means
the fitter or joiner. Imagination cannot, of course, give us new
qualities of experience; we cannot imagine a new colour, different from
all known colours, or a new sensation—say, a specific sensation of
electricity—different from the known sensations of skin and underlying
tissues. _Imagination does, however, give us novel connections_; and
experiment shows that an idea comes to us as imagined only if it comes
as unfamiliar, with the feeling of novelty or strangeness upon it.

In real life, the =feeling of strangeness= is soon swamped by alien
feelings, by the artist’s joy or pride, dissatisfaction or despair;
in the laboratory, it appears strongly by itself. The observers speak
of a feeling of novelty, of personal detachment, of creepiness, of
weirdness, of something out of the ordinary, of peculiar discomfort.
Compare this list of terms with a sentence from Lafcadio Hearn’s last
book: “The outward strangeness of things in Japan produces a queer
thrill impossible to describe,—a feeling of weirdness which comes to
us only with the perception of the totally unfamiliar”; there is no
doubt that the same experience is intended. It is, at first thought, a
little surprising that an idea of imagination, which after all derives
from the observers’ own experience, and which is obtained under the
rather tame and colourless conditions of a psychological experiment,
should have so strong a tinge of feeling. Yet we need not be surprised;
for we have already learned that the novel stimulus has power to compel
the attention; it stands alone and unrelated; and for that reason it
startles and arrests us (p. 94). If the ideas aroused in the laboratory
mattered, if they were practically important for their owners’ careers,
then the feeling of strangeness would, as we have said, be overborne
by other feelings; but they do not matter, and so can be developed and
observed for what they are.

An idea, then, becomes or _is made into_ an idea of imagination by its
mental setting, which is this feeling of strangeness, the opposite of
the feeling of familiarity. As regards the nature of the feeling, we
may guess that it is _the modern representative of primitive man’s
anxiety and uneasiness in face of the unknown_, an echo from the time
when the new was the dangerous (p. 179). If the idea is often repeated,
the feeling wears off, and is replaced by a directive brain-habit; we
still take it _as_ an idea of imagination, but we do not re-imagine
it. If it is still further repeated, it ceases even to be taken as
imaginative, and becomes one of the habitual images that we spoke of on
p. 77.

There is a second difference between _the idea of imagination_ and the
idea of memory: the difference, namely, that the former _cannot be
replaced by another mode of imagery_. An idea of imagination must not
simply mean something new; it must _be_ something new. We know that
images of imagination are not indispensable to artistic work; painters
do not necessarily possess visual imagery (p. 141). Where the idea
of imagination does exist, however, it keeps its original form. The
French mural painter Puvis de Chavannes used to contemplate, for days
together, the bare spaces that he was to fill; ‘wasting time,’ a friend
told him, and received the reply “I have to see my picture before I
can paint it.” In a case like this, the mental picture—though it may
be modified as the actual colours are laid on, or as new outlines
suggest themselves to the painter—must, so far as it furnishes a
guide and model, hold its form and colour-scheme almost as fixedly as
a perception; otherwise it would be useless. So a man may be a very
good musician, and possess no auditory images. Yet Beethoven composed
his Ninth Symphony in 1823, when he had long been deaf; and he could
not even have helped his mental ear by the kinæsthesis of singing,
since without special education the deaf soon lose control of the
larynx. In his case, therefore, the auditory imagination must not only
have held good, but must also have grown more complex and more keenly
discriminative, up to the very end. No doubt, he was aided by the eye;
the symphony grew on paper, a theme at a time; and, no doubt also, he
used his general knowledge of what would sound aright and what would
not; he was a practised composer. But, when all allowance is made,
his main reliance must have been on auditory imagery, and this must
have remained as stable as auditory perception. Such instances prove
that _the idea of imagination runs a different course from the idea
of memory_. The memory-idea is common to all minds; it persists as
meaning, under the limitations of imaginal type and the general laws
of associative tendency. _The idea of imagination seems to depend
rather upon special endowment_; it persists in kind, also under the
limitations of imaginal type; and it is conserved by some special
grouping or ‘convergence’ of associative tendencies (p. 158). We do
not hesitate to describe a man as ‘wholly lacking in imagination,’
though we should look upon a total lack of memory as a sign of mental
incompetence; and the common phrase brings out, well enough, this
personal or idiosyncratic character of the idea of imagination.

§ 45. =The Pattern of Imagination.=—Imagination, like memory, may
occur in the state of primary or of secondary attention. In the former
case we call it receptive, in the latter case constructive imagination.

What happens in =receptive imagination= is, in principle, very simple.
We are confronted by new perceptions or ideas, and we supplement these
experiences by _complex images of the appropriate kind_. We read, for
instance, a traveller’s account of an African forest, and we picture
the forest as we read; we receive the score of a new song, and the
melody sings itself to us as we run our eye over the printed notes;
we stand upon an historic site, and rehearse in image the scenes
that it has witnessed. A certain definite direction is given to our
ideas by the presented stimuli; then the ideas, as they come in their
predetermined order, are supplemented in this imaginal way.

The characteristic _feeling of strangeness_, in such cases, is often
interfused with an experience which might, at first sight, seem
incompatible with it; the _’feeling’ of our own concernment_ in the
imagined situation. We have a natural tendency to feel ourselves into
what we perceive or imagine. As we read about the forest, we may, as
it were, _become_ the explorer; we feel for ourselves the gloom, the
silence, the humidity, the oppression, the sense of lurking danger;
everything is strange, but it is to us that the strange experience has
come. We are told of a shocking accident, and we gasp and shrink and
feel nauseated as we imagine it; we are told of some new and delightful
fruit, and our mouth waters as if we were about to taste it. This
tendency to feel oneself _into_ a situation is called =empathy=,—on
the analogy of sympathy, which is feeling _together with_ another; and
empathic ideas are psychologically interesting, because they are the
converse of perceptions: their core is imaginal, and their context is
made up of sensations, the kinæsthetic and organic sensations that
carry the empathic meaning. Like the feeling of strangeness, they are
characteristic of imagination. In memory, their place is taken by the
_imitative_ experiences, which repeat over again certain phases of the
original situation.

What happens in =constructive imagination= is not so easy to say.
Genius is defined sometimes as the capacity of doing great things
without effort, and sometimes as the capacity of taking infinite pains;
and constructive imagination, in the same way, is represented now as a
native gift that finds rather than seeks expression, and now as a sort
of skilled labour, a matter of planning and moulding and constructing.
There is probably truth on both sides, and a degree of truth that
varies with the individual make-up of the artist; in general, however,
there is more hard work and less inspiration than is usually supposed.
The poet or the inventor starts out with a more or less definite
plan or aim or ambition; and the plan persists, if only as a nervous
disposition, to determine the course of his ideas. It also helps to
initiate the imaginative complex, the first clue to which seems in fact
to come, at least ordinarily, as an inspiration, a happy thought; some
external situation, or some grouping of the associative tendencies that
is active at the moment, touches off the disposition, and the initial
idea flashes into mind. Whether this first idea is crude or complete,
and whether the stream of later ideas is broad or narrow, these things
depend altogether upon circumstances. Now, at any rate, begins the
stage of skilled labour; the idea is worked upon and worked over; the
plan decides what shall be accepted, what rejected, what put aside for
another trial; we are reminded of the course of recollection,—only
that rejection, active as it is in memory, is still more to the fore
in imagination, and construction is more critical than reconstruction.
Here and there other happy thoughts may crop up; but in essentials
this stage of hard work continues, until the idea attains its final
expression in objective terms, in the words of the poem, for instance,
or in the effective machine. Meantime, there have been all sorts of
feelings. The imaginative ideas bring with them their own feeling of
strangeness; but this may be overwhelmed by the joy of success or the
irritation of failure; and these feelings may themselves alternate,
swinging from extreme to extreme. Meantime, also, there have been
all sorts of empathic experiences, which have formed about the focal
processes, vivifying and personalising the partial products of the
constructive effort; and they too find their natural term in the actual
accomplishment of the imaginative task. Figurative, again, all this,
and lamentably far from scientific accuracy,—but, in broad outline and
on the average, we may hope that it is true to the psychological facts.

How, now, does the pattern of imagination compare with that of memory?
We saw that the memory-pattern is that of discursive movement within
fixed boundaries, the limits set by the fixity of the past occurrence
which is remembered. Imagination, on the other hand, is a more or
less steady flow, in a single direction, from the fountain-head of
disposition; there are no limits of any kind, save those of individual
capacity and experience; but the course is determined by the initial
plan or ambition. _Memory is discursive movement within fixed
boundaries; imagination is progressive movement from a constant source.
Memory is characterised by the feeling of familiarity and by imitative
kinæsthesis; imagination by the feeling of strangeness and by empathy._

Questions and Exercises

(1) Memory, like recognition, may be definite or indefinite, direct or
indirect. Can you give instances from your own experience?

(2) Suppose that you were required to write a defence of cramming.
Could you find materials in these two chapters?

(3) Memory fails as old age comes on; it decays, as we say, in old age;
and the course of decay is well-marked and uniform. Can you give any
account of it? And can you explain the course from statements made in
these two chapters?

(4) Do you think that memory can be improved? Be sure, before you
answer, that you have read a clear meaning into the question. Give
reasons for your answer.

(5) It has been said that we have no memory, but only memories. In what
sense or senses is this statement true?

(6) Memory has been described as a storehouse of ideas, as a power to
revive perceptions, as a universal function of organic matter, and as
decaying sense. Try to realise clearly what the users of these phrases
had in mind; say what you can in their favour; show in what respects
they are inadequate to the psychology of memory.

(7) Can you give instances of empathy, from your own experience: in
the reading of history or fiction, in the viewing of architecture
or landscape, in watching an actor or a musician or an athlete, in
day-dreaming? Describe as accurately as you can the different ‘feel’ of
empathy and sympathy; do not be satisfied with meanings.

(8) (_a_) Read Hawthorne’s preface to _The House of the Seven Gables_
and G. P. Lathrop’s Introduction. What light do they throw on the
mechanics of constructive imagination? (_b_) Read Poe’s essay on _The
Philosophy of Composition_. Is the writer’s psychology sound? Do you
take him to have been wholly sincere? Why? Be definite.

(9) It has been suggested that the pattern of constructive imagination
might be studied in the first drafts (where the manuscripts have been
preserved) of poems, especially of lyric poems. What have you to say to
the plan?

(10) Has imagination, in the ordinary sense, any place in science? Can
you justify your answer in psychological terms?

(11) A recent writer declares that “the idea of a centaur is a complex
mental picture composed of the ideas of man and horse.” The statement
is unpsychological in the highest degree. Why?

(12) What have you to say, from what you have learned of receptive
imagination, (_a_) of book-illustrations in general, (_b_) of
Cruikshank’s and Seymour’s and Browne’s illustrations of Dickens, and
(_c_) of an illustrated edition of George Meredith’s works?


Quintilian, Institutes of the Orator, bk. xi., ch. 2; G. H. Lewes,
Problems of Life and Mind, i., 1874, 229; W. James, Principles of
Psychology, i., 1890, ch. xvi.; E. Hering, On Memory, 1895; T. Ribot,
Diseases of Memory, 1882; Essay on the Creative Imagination, 1906;
E. B. Titchener, Text-book of Psychology, 1910, 396 ff.; a series of
articles by F. Kuhlmann, in American Journal of Psychology, 1905, 1907,
1909; Psychological Review, 1906; Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and
Scientific Methods, 1907; articles on Imagination, Memory, Mnemonic
Verses, in Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, 1901-2; article on
Cram, by W. S. Jevons, in Mind, ii., 1877, 193 ff.



 Ie considere que, dés le premier moment que nostre ame a esté
 iointe au corps, il est vray-semblable qu’elle a senty de la ioye,
 & incontinent aprés de l’amour, puis peut-estre aussi de la haine,
 & de la tristesse; & que les mesmes dispositions du corps, qui out
 pour lors causé en elles ces passions, en out naturellement par aprés
 acompagné les pensées.—RENÉ DESCARTES

§ 46. =The Nature of Instinct.=—We left the sense-feelings a long
time ago (§ 18), though we have made occasional reference to them and
to emotion in recent paragraphs. Now we return to the feeling-side of
mind; but we must begin with an account of =instinct=, which is related
both to emotion and to action.

Instinct and reason are familiar catch-words of popular psychology.
Animals are said to act ‘on instinct,’ while man, at any rate in his
specifically human capacity, acts ‘by reason.’ The terms, as thus used,
are not descriptive but explanatory. Just as a mental connection is
supposed to be explained by similarity or contiguity of ideas (p. 146),
so a particular activity or performance is supposed to be explained
when we have labelled it ‘instinctive’ or ‘rational.’ But what is

_If we observe the behaviour of the lower animals, we find two sorts of
response to stimulation: the one points to the working of an inherited
nervous mechanism, the other depends upon nervous connections formed
during the life-time of the individual._ The second year’s bird builds
the nest of its species, though it has never built a nest before; the
cage-reared migrant beats its wings against the bars at the approach
of winter, though it has never taken flight to the southward. Here
is behaviour that we must refer to innate nervous tendencies, to the
working of an inherited nervous mechanism. If, on the other hand, the
parent birds come to the window-sill and take crumbs from our hand, we
are in presence of behaviour of the second type. The difference, in the
broad, is clear enough; only we must not press it too far. The second
year’s bird, we say, builds the nest of its species; but one nest is
never quite like another; something will depend upon the situation.
Contrariwise, the birds would not come to the window if they had not an
innate attraction to food, or a natural boldness of disposition, or a
native tendency to flock with their fellows. The two sorts of behaviour
can be distinguished; but they are likely to enter together, though in
unequal degree, into one and the same performance.

=Instinct=, _now, is the general name for these innate tendencies to
behaviour_. The word explains nothing; it is the business of science to
find out what the inherited nervous mechanisms are, and how they work;
but though nothing is explained, we are helped by the term toward a
_classification_ of the facts of behaviour. All of man’s conduct will
be instinctive, for example, that can be shown to issue from innate
nervous tendencies; and further, all of man’s conduct will be _in so
far_ instinctive as innate nervous tendencies can be shown to have a
share in producing it. _How large a part, then, does instinct, in this
sense, play in the life of man?_ Not a question that can be answered
offhand! For you might argue, as has been argued, that because man is
the most flexible and adaptable and teachable of all animals, because
he lives in all climates and thrives in the most varied conditions of
life, therefore he has but few instincts. Or you might argue that,
since man has undergone more change and has progressed further than
any other animal; since his evolutionary history, though not longer in
time, is richer in biological incident than that of the other animals;
therefore he must have a great variety of instincts, or at any rate a
great variety of inherited nervous mechanisms that help to guide and
shape his conduct. What are the facts?

If we try to work out a rough list of human instincts, we find, at the
lower end of the scale, a number of _definite modes of response to
particular stimuli_; such things as coughing, sneezing, swallowing,
smiling, threading our way in the street, beating time to music; or, in
the baby, such things as sucking, clasping, biting, turning the head
aside, standing, creeping, walking, crying, vocalising. At the upper
end of the scale, we find _gross general tendencies_: the tendency
to take the world of perception as a world of real things in outside
space (p. 115); the empathic tendency to humanise and personalise our
surroundings (p. 198); the social tendency that makes us imitative
and credulous; the tendency to classify everything in pairs; the
tendency to try things out, which is always at war with the tendency
to let things be. These tendencies, and others of the same character,
represent directive pressures laid upon the organism, more strongly
upon some individuals and more weakly upon others, but in some measure
upon all; they are realised or expressed on very various occasions, and
with wide differences of mental accompaniment. We have spoken of some
of them already; and instances may be found for the looking. Take the
empathic tendency: what lover of books has not shifted the place of
certain volumes on a shelf, because he could not bear to put good and
bad, sound and trivial, side by side,—as if the _books_ would feel the
incongruity? Take the social tendency: we all tend to pay respect to
fashion, even the silliest; we all tend to believe what we see printed
in large headlines; we are all gullible, if only the cheat speaks to
us in good English and appeals to our habitual standards of living.
The tendency to classify by pairs shows not only in the dogmatism of
uneducated persons—an action must be positively right or wrong, a
man must be positively innocent or guilty—but also in the structure
of systems of philosophy, in the distinctions of active-passive,
subject-object, body-mind, thing-attribute, appearance-reality, and so
on. The tendency to try things out is largely responsible both for the
play of the child and the research of the man of science; read Andrew
Lang’s story of the first radical! The tendency to let things be, the
conservative tendency, is on its side largely responsible for the
laziness of a life of routine.

Between these extremes lie _the instincts that are so called in our
ordinary speech_, and that you would probably have thought of, if you
had been asked to give examples of human instincts: such things as
fear, love, rivalry, jealousy, pugnacity, bashfulness, self-assertion,
various lines of ‘interest.’ All these names, and many like them, stand
for inherited nervous dispositions which are realised or expressed
in emotion. They too are differently combined, and exist in varying
degree, in different individuals; and they too are common, in some
measure, to all humanity.

_Can we now say how man compares, in the matter of instinct, with
the lower animals?_ James commits himself so far as to declare that
“no other mammal, not even the monkey, shows so large an array.” The
statement is probably true, if we mean by instinct, not a fixed and
unchanging mode of response to the given stimulus or situation, but
rather an equipment of innate tendencies that may form the basis of all
sorts of response; an all-round readiness of behaviour, as it were,
such that no stimulus or situation finds us wholly unprepared, while
yet the preparation is not so narrow and definite as to force us into
special and invariable response. Civilised man ‘reasons’ always on the
basis of his instinctive tendencies; his ‘instincts,’ on the other
hand, are in general less absorbingly possessive and less close-knit
than those of lower forms of life.

§ 47. =The Two Sides of Instinct.=—If instinct is the general name for
the innate nervous tendencies to behaviour, then the detailed study of
instinct belongs to physiology and general biology. The psychologist
is concerned with it only in so far as the innate tendencies guide
and form the stream of thought. There is, however, another side to
instinct, which makes it a matter of direct psychological observation;
the touching-off of an instinctive response may be accompanied by
mental processes, by sensations and feeling. We must say something
of instinct in both relations; and we look at it, first, from the
=biological= point of view.

The list of instincts given on pp. 205 ff. includes tendencies of very
different kinds, simple and complex, variable and constant. Sweeping
statements are therefore dangerous; we must be careful to guard our
generalisations by giving instances. That premised, we note, to begin
with, that _the innate tendencies are rarely perfect_, completely ready
for action, at birth; they ripen as the organism developes. The child
does not learn to walk, or the bird to fly, in any strict sense of
the word ‘learn’; the innate tendencies settle to their perfect work
as time goes on. We note, secondly, that the tendencies may _ripen
at very different levels of individual development_; the culmination
of sex-interest at adolescence, the appearance of bashfulness in the
child of three or four years, the lack of fear in the new-born babe,
are cases in point. Thirdly, they are extraordinarily _persistent_.
Our instincts, no doubt, wax and wane; but they change far less than
their outward expression would indicate. The boy, we say, goes through
the collecting stage, and therewith an end; but do not grown men too
collect, if they have time and money? The little girl with her doll is
the later mother with her child; and the play of the child persists
in the technical play of the gambler and the experimental essays of
the man of science. Fourthly, they are _by no means harmonious among
themselves_. In many animals the instinct to crouch motionless
conflicts with the instinct to flee from the object of fear, and you
may see them obeying now the one and now the other. Curiosity conflicts
with alarm: watch a young child on its first introduction to a dog
or a beetle! The sparrow is at once audacious and cautious, bold and
timid; and every human adult—despite the song in _Iolanthe_—is both
conservative and radical. Fifthly, they are looser, have (so to say)
_a greater freedom of play_, than is commonly supposed; and this in
two directions; the same response may be touched off by situations
that have only a general resemblance; and, conversely, situations that
seem to be identical may touch off responses that show a good deal
of difference. In briefer statement, like stimuli may call out the
same response: we smile from happiness or from superiority; and the
same stimulus repeated may call out responses that are hardly even
like: the extreme case is, perhaps, our crying or laughing for joy.
Sixthly, they are _liable to be checked, turned aside, inhibited, by
acquired nervous tendencies_; habit is not only second nature, but may
also overcome nature. A chick pecks at an humble-bee, and pays the
penalty; thereafter it rejects yolk of egg. A pike in an aquarium,
separated from minnows by a glass screen, struck repeatedly at its
natural prey and bumped its head; when the screen was removed, the
minnows were left undisturbed. If a sheet of glass is placed before
the eyes, and a rubber-tipped hammer springs up and hits it, you wink,
perhaps, for the first hundred times; but you can presently inhibit
the wink. This liability to inhibition is, of course, more obvious in
the case of the more complex tendencies. Seventhly, they are _liable
to specialisation_. A bird builds its nest in a certain suitable
place; and then, though the site may become increasingly dangerous and
exposed, persists in building there again, year after year. The routes
that various birds follow in their migratory flight south and north
show the same kind of specialised set. Eighthly and lastly, the more
complicated tendencies may, especially in the case of man, be _broken
up into partial tendencies_; and these partial tendencies may then form
connections of the most varied sort with acquired tendencies. A father
strikes a blow in defence of his child: love and hate and possibly fear
are involved; if the deed is done in public, such social instincts
as love of approbation and fear of ridicule may come in; all these
instincts are concerned, and yet the father would give you his reasons
for the blow! Civilised man, we said, always ‘reasons’ on the basis of
his instinctive tendencies; we had better have said that he reasons on
the basis of various fragments of instinctive tendency, disjoined from
their original connections and recombined for an immediate purpose.

So much for the biological side of instinct. We have no space for
a longer treatment; though, indeed, if you go to the larger works,
you will find little more that is definite and firmly established;
the detailed study of the innate tendencies has hardly begun. If we
turn now to the =mental accompaniments= of instinctive response, we
find ourselves in even worse case; we know practically nothing. It is
clear that _some of the more limited responses have a characteristic
mental correlate_—think of coughing, sneezing, smiling—which may,
however, according to circumstances, be either vivid or so obscure as
to escape notice. It is clear, again, that _the empathic tendencies
are likely to be characterised by more or less massive complexes of
organic sensation_; and it is perhaps true that this =organic surge=
represents the mental aspect of the instincts proper, those that pass
over into emotions; for they are responses or reactions of the whole
organism, and not of some particular organ or member. _Most of the
large directive pressures_, that we placed at the upper end of the
scale, _show themselves rather in the volume and trend of the mental
stream_ than in the addition of new processes, though it is quite
possible that they imply specific bodily attitudes, and arouse specific
patterns of kinæsthesis in head or eyes, from breathing or from the
muscular set of the trunk. We all know how it feels to be critically
on guard against deception; but is there not, sometimes at any rate,
a felt attitude of acceptance, of credulity? could we not, sometimes,
after the serious-faced jester has played his trick upon us, _feel_
ourselves back into our credulous attitude? We all know, again, how
disconcerting it is to be faced by a third possibility when we have
comfortably reduced things to a choice of alternatives; but can we not,
now and then, catch ourselves in a _felt_ attitude of dividing by two?
Let the reader keep an eye on his own experiences! Lastly, a response
that is often repeated will illustrate the psychological law of growth
and decay (p. 183); the organic and kinæsthetic sensations will be
supplemented by _images_, which will increase up to a certain point,
and thereafter fall away. Fear of the dark is one instance; the use
and disuse of terms of endearment offer another.

As regards =feeling=, we can only say that all six types of
sense-feeling—the agreeable and disagreeable, the exciting and
subduing, the straining and relaxing—may appear in connection with
instinctive responses, and especially with those that we have placed
in the middle portion of the scale. Such words as fear, pugnacity,
rivalry, carry the stamp of feeling upon them.

§ 48. =Determining Tendencies.=—The reader must have felt for some
time past that we sorely need a technical term for all the directive
nerve-forces, brain-habits, instinctive tendencies, and so forth,
that figure in psychological discussion. There is such a term, formed
on the analogy of ‘associative tendencies’; psychologists are coming
more and more to speak of =determining tendencies=. Any nervous set
or disposition that turns our attention in a certain direction, that
casts our perceptions into a certain form, that places a definite
meaning upon an equivocal word, that governs our response to a
particular situation, may be called a determining tendency. Some of
these tendencies are simple, and some are extremely complex; some are
inherited, and some are acquired in the life-time of the individual.
All alike _lay down a path of least resistance for the psychoneural
processes_ (p. 164) _to follow_, and thus determine the flow of the
mental stream.

Why, then, has not the term been introduced before? would not its use
have simplified things, have brought the different topics together,
have saved a good deal of roundabout phrasing? No doubt. But _there
are two dangers in the use of such a technical term_. The one is that
you think merely the words themselves, and do not carry your thought
back to the nervous system. A determining tendency is an affair not of
mind but of body; and if we had used the words from the outset, you
might easily have slipped into the belief that there are determining
tendencies in the mind, and might thus have left the nervous system out
of account. Have you not—to be honest!—thought and spoken of your
‘bodily sensations’ ever since you studied the chapter on sensation?
Yet there are no physical or bodily sensations, any more than there are
mental determining tendencies; the bodily processes correlated with
sensation are not the sensation, and the mental flow correlated with
a nervous tendency is not that tendency. The second danger is that
you look upon the technical term as self-explanatory; so that, just
as popular psychology explains the conduct of the lower animals by
‘instinct,’ without ever asking what instinct is or how it explains,
you too explain certain mental phenomena by ‘determining tendency,’
forgetting that the work of correlation is still all to do. New terms
bring these risks, that you put the word in place of the facts and
confuse a label with an explanation; but they are also inevitable, when
new observations accumulate; and this particular term should now be as
harmless as it is necessary.

We shall meet the determining tendencies again, when we come to deal
with action and thought. Meantime let us note that they furnish a
definition of that rather obscure word ‘suggestion.’ A =suggestion=
is something that comes to us with more or less of the force of
a command; but what does this ‘force of a command’ mean? Our new
technical term helps us: a suggestion is _any stimulus to nervous
activity, external or internal, with or without mental accompaniment,
that touches off a determining tendency_. The determining tendency
may be realised, or may be inhibited, as circumstances decide; the
essence of a suggestion is, always and everywhere, that it releases
such a tendency. Thus, the psychological observer of whom we spoke
on p. 96 received from the experimenter certain instructions; these
instructions were obeyed, that is, they were effective suggestions.
What, now, set up the determining tendency to follow instructions? A
foregone suggestion: the student came into the laboratory to observe,
to be taught, to put himself under direction. What brought him into
the laboratory? Another foregone suggestion: the wish to learn
psychology at first hand, the example of his friends. What led him to
choose at the university the course that includes psychology? What
led him to choose this particular university? What led him to enter
any university? All these results are due to suggestions, which grow
in number and complexity the farther back we go; and the force of the
suggestions, in every case, is their appeal to determining tendencies.
A nervous system that lacked these tendencies would furnish its
possessor with connections that were all, so to speak, on the same
plane; the organism could neither lead nor follow, neither choose nor
reject, neither work nor play; it would not be suggestible.

From this digression we pass to the study of emotion, which, as we
have seen, is closely related to the instincts of the middle part of
our scale.

§ 49. =The Nature of Emotion.=—Suppose that you are sitting at your
desk, busy in your regular way; and suppose that a street-car passes
by the house. The familiar rumble does not distract you; it slips in
among the obscure processes of the margin. Suddenly you hear a shrill
scream; and now the noise of the car shoots to the focus of attention,
becomes the context of the scream. You leap up, as if the scream were a
personal signal that you had been expecting; you dash out of doors, as
if your presence on the street were imperatively necessary. As you run,
you have fragmentary ideas: ‘a child,’ perhaps, in internal speech; a
visual flash of some previous accident; a momentary kinæsthetic set,
the stiffening of protest, that represents your whole attitude to
the city car-system. But you have, also, a mass of insistent organic
sensation: you choke, you draw your breath in gasps, for all the hurry
you are in a cold sweat, you have a horrible nausea; and yet, in spite
of the intense discomfort that floods you, you have no choice but to
go on. In describing the experience later, you would say that you were
horrified by hearing a child scream; the mental processes that we have
just named make up the =emotion= of horror.

An emotion is thus a _temporal_ experience, a course of connected
processes; it begins, in our illustration, with the empathic perception
of the scream, and lasts through and beyond the events that we have
described; indeed, the last traces of the horror may not wear off for
days. It is also, characteristically, a _suddenly aroused_ experience;
it begins abruptly, though it dies down gradually; the accident
comes upon you all at once, and drives everything else out of mind.
It is highly _complex_, since its stimulus is not a single object,
a perceptive stimulus, but a total situation or predicament, which
may arouse all sorts of ideas. It is coloured through and through by
_feeling_, since both the situation itself and the organic sensations
of the emotive response are definitely pleasant or unpleasant. It
is, at any rate in its more intense phases, insistently _organic_;
we took the testimony of language on p. 65, and you can easily add
to the instances there cited; though it must be said also that the
proportion of organic sensations to ideas varies greatly from emotion
to emotion and from individual to individual. Finally, it is always a
_predetermined_ experience, issuing from determining tendencies and
moving forward, in the given case, to a natural end; though here, too,
there is great variability, since the determining tendencies to which
the situation makes appeal may be almost wholly instinctive, or may (as
in the illustration we have chosen) be partly instinctive and partly

The older books on psychology devote a great deal of space to the
=classification= of emotions; modern psychology has rather been
concerned to bring emotion into the laboratory, and to trace the
emotive pattern under experimental control. It was natural to begin
with the simpler modes of feeling, and to proceed from them to the more
complex; and experiments were therefore made on the sense-feelings. We
have seen that the results are not yet definitely assured (pp. 83 f.),
so that it is still too early to write an adequate psychology of the
emotions. On the whole, however, it seems that _the three dimensions of
sense-feeling will serve for a classification of emotion_: joy and fear
are agreeable and disagreeable emotions, anger and grief are exciting
and subduing, hope and relief are straining and relaxing. It is not
difficult to carry this classification further; to find, for instance,
agreeable-exciting, disagreeable-exciting, agreeable-subduing,
disagreeable-subduing, even agreeable-exciting-straining,
agreeable-subduing-relaxing forms, and so on and so forth; but nothing
is gained, at present, by drawing such distinctions. We shall therefore
leave the classification thus in the rough. One point only calls for
comment. We said that _emotion is a suddenly aroused experience_,
beginning abruptly and dying down slowly; yet the straining and
relaxing emotions—hope, anxiety, disappointment, relief—seem, on the
contrary, to arise slowly and gradually. It is difficult to be sure
of the facts; but we must be careful not to confuse the starting of
an emotion with what occurs after it has started. It may very likely
grow in strength; and it will follow, as we have said, a characteristic
course in time, until it reaches its natural end. Either of these
things—the growth in intensity or the development in time—may give
the illusion of a gradual beginning. If we abstract from them, then it
appears that these straining-relaxing emotions really come suddenly;
they occupy the mind all at once; we shift directly from grief to
hope, from satisfaction to anxiety, from fear to relief; the emotions
may alternate in our experience, but they set in abruptly. We say of
a sick friend ‘The doctor says that we may begin to hope,’ or ‘The
relatives are beginning to be a little anxious’; but as a matter of
psychological fact the hope and the anxiety appear to come and go, as
mental patterns, quite suddenly; the situation touches off, actualises,
now the one set of tendencies, and now the other. So our general
description of emotion may stand.

§ 50. =The James-Lange Theory of Emotion.=—We saw that emotion, at
any rate in its intenser phases, is insistently organic; the organic
sensations readily blend both with one another and with feeling; and
the resultant massive fusion is as characteristic of emotion as the
organic surge (p. 211) is characteristic of instinct. Everyone can
distinguish, even in imagination, the rushing, swelling ‘feel’ of anger
from the sinking, shrinking ‘feel’ of fear. Psychology has always had
an open eye for the organic constituent of emotion; Aristotle and many
later writers refer to it; and in France emphasis upon the organic stir
in emotion became almost a matter of psychological orthodoxy. The whole
subject was, however, set in a new light when the late Professor James
propounded in 1884 his famous ‘theory of emotion.’ “My thesis is,”
James wrote, “that the bodily changes follow directly the _perception_
of the exciting fact, and that our feeling of the same changes as
they occur _is_ the emotion;” “The more rational statement is that we
feel sorry because we cry, angry because we strike, afraid because we
tremble, and not that we cry, strike or tremble, because we are sorry,
angry, or fearful, as the case may be.” The view thus paradoxically
stated aroused much discussion; and it gained further impetus by the
publication in 1885 of an essay on emotion by Carl Lange, professor
of medicine in Copenhagen; Lange independently comes to a conclusion
which, in principle, is the same as that of James.

James’ position is, evidently, twofold. He affirms, in the first place,
that _emotions have an instinctive basis_. A situation is presented;
the organism perceives it; and immediately, directly, because the
situation appeals to instinctive tendencies in the nervous system, the
emotive response is evoked. With that statement we have no quarrel.
James also affirms, however, that _the ‘feel’ of what we have called
the emotive response is itself the experience of emotion_; having the
organic sensations, you have the emotion; if you had not the organic
sensations, there would be no emotion. In a later essay he modified
or amplified his position: he grants the presence in emotion of ideas
and of pleasant and unpleasant feelings, but still maintains that
the one thing characteristic of the emotions is a general seizure of
excitement, a churning-up of the interior of the organism; and this
rank excitement is a matter of the organic sensations.

So there arise two questions of fact: _is emotion possible if
the organic sensations are lacking?_ and _is the organic fusion
sufficiently differentiated, in the various emotions, to give them
their distinctive ‘feels’ in experience?_

To answer the _first_ question we have observations both upon dogs
and upon human beings. Emotive responses “occur in dogs in which
practically all the main viscera and the great bulk of skeletal muscle
have been removed from subjection to, and from influence upon, the
brain by severance of the vagus nerves and the spinal cord. In these
animals no alteration whatever was noticed in the occurrence, under
appropriate circumstances, of characteristic expressions of voice
and features, indicating anger, delight or fear.” So far, then, the
evidence tells against the necessity of organic sensations. As regards
human beings, we cannot, of course, produce a visceral anæsthesia at
will, by operating upon the living nervous system; we must wait until
cases turn up in the hospitals. Some such cases have been examined;
and while the observations made upon them are not conclusive, still,
they lend themselves more readily to the same than to the opposite
interpretation; if emotion is lacking, the lack seems due rather to a
general impairment of nervous function, including that of the brain,
than to the specific loss of the organic sensations. The evidence as a
whole is thus unfavourable to James.

To answer the _second_ question we may refer to the results of
experiments recently conducted by Professor W. B. Cannon in the
physiological laboratory of Harvard University. “If various strong
emotions can thus be expressed in the diffused activities of [a certain
division of the nervous system]—the division which accelerates
the heart, inhibits the movements of the stomach and intestines,
contracts the blood vessels, erects the hairs, liberates sugar, and
discharges adrenin—it would appear that the bodily conditions which
have been assumed, by some psychologists, to distinguish emotions
from one another must be sought for elsewhere than in the viscera. We
do not ‘feel sorry because we cry,’ as James contended, but we cry
because, when we are sorry or overjoyed or violently angry or full
of tender affection,—when any one of these diverse emotional states
is present,—there are nervous discharges by sympathetic channels to
various viscera, including the lachrymal glands. In terror and rage and
intense elation, for example, the responses in the viscera seem too
uniform to offer a satisfactory means of distinguishing states which,
in man at least, are very different in subjective quality.... The
viscera are relatively unimportant in an emotional complex, especially
in contributing differential features.” The technicalities of this
quotation do not here concern us; you will understand them if you read
Dr. Cannon’s book; but it is clear that, again, the evidence is against
James’ view.

We must conclude, then, that _the emotive pattern is a more complicated
affair_ than the James-Lange theory represented it to be. All
the component processes—perception, ideas, kinæsthesis, organic
sensations, feeling—play their part in the total experience. We must
conclude, too, that _the pattern varies, at least in the matter of
emphasis, from one individual to another_; that the processes which
‘mean’ anger or fear to _A_ may differ from those which ‘mean’ the same
emotion to _B_; the ideas, the kinæsthetic set, the organic sensations,
may be more or less vivid, more or less extended, more or less stable
features of the mental pattern. In fine, we agree with James that all
emotions have an instinctive basis; and we agree with him, further,
that the organic commotion, always present in some measure and degree,
is characteristic of the experience; but _we cannot regard this organic
commotion either as_ =constitutive=, _as the one thing necessary
to emotion, or as_ =differential=, _the one thing that marks of any
particular emotion from all the rest_. From an æsthetic point of view
we may regret this conclusion; it is always more satisfactory to end up
a discussion with some positive, clean-cut statement than to leave the
subject with a ‘safe’ generalisation and a balanced judgement; but when
we are seeking scientific truth, we may not outrun the facts we have;
and when a science is in the making, the facts will not often round off
prettily into a comprehensive theory.

§ 51. =The Expression of Emotion.=—If the classification of emotions
is a pleasant exercise for authors of a logical turn, the outward
show of emotion in =gesture= and =facial expression= has always been
attractive to those who pondered the relations of mind and body. It may
even be true that observation of these expressive movements lies at the
very root of psychology; for in emotion a man is changed, transformed;
he is unlike himself, out of himself, beside himself; and what could
suggest, more plainly than such transformation, the activity of an
indwelling mind? However that may be, there is a long list, stretching
down the centuries, of works that deal with emotive expression. We must
ourselves pass over everything that appeared before the time of Charles

Darwin, who was naturally anxious to bring the facts of expression
under his formula of evolution, began to collect data as early as
1838; and with characteristic thoroughness he went to all available
sources,—to animals, to the human infant, to the insane, to works of
art, to the play of the facial muscles under the electric current, to
the different races of mankind. In his book of 1872 he distinguishes
three main principles of expression; the titles will be understood from
the examples. The first principle is that of _serviceable associated
habits_. We all jump when we are startled, and wince when we are
threatened; and the jump and wince of man are weakened survivals
of the frightened animal’s leap out of danger, and of its cowering
self-effacement in presence of a stronger enemy. The face of scorn,
“curving a contumelious lip,” lays bare the canine teeth, as if for
actual attack; the sneer of man is but a weakened survival of the snarl
by which our stronger-jawed ancestors unfleshed their teeth for the
combat. The second principle is that of _antithesis_. If indignation
shows itself (according to the first principle) by squared shoulders
and out-thrown chest, the opposite of this aggressive indignation,
humiliation or self-abasement, shows itself in the opposed attitude
of raised shoulders and indrawn chest, Shylock’s “patient shrug.” The
third principle, lastly, is that of the _direct action of the nervous
system_. Thus we all tremble from fear; and trembling is of no service,
often of much disservice, and cannot have been at first acquired
through the will, and then rendered habitual in association with any
emotion; it must be directly due to the constitution of the nervous

_Darwin’s principles have been much criticised_; in particular, the
purely negative principle of antithesis has received short shrift
from later writers. One of the things that he fails to account for is
the imitative play of the lips. The disgusted man looks as if he were
about to retch; the injured man looks bitter; the disappointed, sour;
the satisfied, sweet; the mouth, in these latter cases, is set as it
is when we have a bitter, sour, or sweet taste. What is the reason?
We may remind ourselves that primitive language was concrete, and not
abstract; that it abounded in what we should nowadays call metaphor. We
may remember also that the one thing necessary in a primitive society
is food, and that primitive metaphors would naturally be, to a large
extent, metaphors drawn from the preparing and obtaining of food, from
cooking and hunting. So we may imagine that the successful hunter,
returning to camp, licked his lips, seemed already to be sucking the
sweet morsel; while the unsuccessful drew his lips out sideways, as
if he were trying to taste as little as possible of his sour draught.
In course of time the metaphor will lapse; or, more strictly, the old
concrete way of speech will give place to an abstract phrasing, and
will hold its own only _as_ metaphor, as a bit of picturesque imagery;
we still talk to-day of the sweets of love and revenge, of tasting
success, of tainted money, of a soured disposition, of the bitter end.
Meanwhile the original gesture, if only it is fitted for communication,
will persist unchanged; gesture is far more conservative than language;
and the look of a bitter taste will thus express the emotion of a man
who is suffering, perhaps, under an unjust accusation.

We may say of all such attempts at explanation what we said of the
biological theory of feeling: it would be foolish to reject them
outright, and yet _they are too general, too open to criticism, to
satisfy the requirements of science_. We need detailed work, both
upon the physiological and upon the psychological side. Consider, for
example, the erection of the hair in fear and rage. This is a result
of the diffused activity of the ‘sympathetic’ nervous system, the
total effect of which is to _energise_ the organism; when two boys are
wrestling, the friends of the weaker or less skilful shout to him to
‘get angry’; and terrified men achieve wonderful feats of leaping and
running. But how precisely does the contraction of the muscles beneath
the skin subserve this energising? Is it an accident, so to speak, due
merely to the diffusion of the nervous activity? or has it a special
physiological function? and has it, further, anything of the biological
significance that Darwin attached to it? Until such questions are
answered in detail, we cannot formulate general principles of the
expression of emotion.

§ 52. =Mood, Passion, Temperament.=—The weaker emotive states, which
persist for some time together, are called _moods_; the stronger,
which exhaust the organism in a comparatively short time, are called
_passions_. No sharp line of distinction, however, can be drawn, either
as regards intensity or as regards duration, between these various

We have special names for the =moods= which correspond with most of
the emotions; thus, cheerfulness is the mood of joy, and depression
the mood of grief. As a rule, the mood appears suddenly, rises slowly
to a relative maximum, and then slowly dies down. You wake in the
morning, feeling irritable; you proceed to take everything irritably,
and so become more irritable still; and after a while the incidents
that prompt to irritability seem to grow rarer, and the mood gradually
disappears. There are times, however, when some intercurrent event
brings about a quick and total change of mood; and there are times
when the mood passes off abruptly, without assignable reason; you are
surprised to find yourself suddenly cheerful. It is a commonplace that
mood depends, in large measure, upon bodily health; but the correlation
has not been worked out.

Language also has many words for the =passions=: fury is the passion
of anger, terror the passion of fear. These states imply a severe
shock to the nervous system; and though their first effect is to
energise the organism, they must soon exhaust its reserve powers; we
notice, in fact, that very violent emotions are likely to give way to
lassitude or even to unconsciousness. The name of passion is further
given, in ordinary speech, to any abiding interest, natural (p. 207)
or acquired,—to any mode of emotive response that is specific and
lasting. We say that a man has a passion for success, for science,
for gambling; and we mean that a situation which shows any sort
of reference to these things will appeal to him, dominatingly and
one-sidedly, through that reference.

The word ‘temperament’ comes to us from popular psychology, which
classifies mental phenomena under the headings of intellect, feeling
and will, and places individual endowment under the corresponding
headings of talent, temperament and character. =Temperament=, so far
as the term can be employed in a strictly psychological sense, is thus
_a very general term for the innate susceptibility of the individual
to emotive situations and for the typical character of his emotive
responses_. The doctrine of temperaments was first systematised by
the Greek physician Galen in the second century of our era, though
the germs of the current fourfold classification—into choleric,
melancholic, sanguine, phlegmatic—go back much further in the history
of thought. This classification takes account of _the strength and
the duration_ of the emotive response: the choleric person responds
quickly and strongly, the melancholic slowly and strongly, the sanguine
quickly and weakly, the phlegmatic slowly and weakly, to the situation
which evokes emotion. Crude to the last degree! we say: and yet it is
astonishing to see what a master can do with such crudity. Thackeray,
in _The Newcomes_, has drawn almost pure types of temperament; Madame
de Florac is melancholic, Fred Bayham is choleric, Mrs. Hobson Newcome
is sanguine, and Rosey is phlegmatic; and the minor characters in a
great many of our best novels tend in the same way to personify the
four temperaments.

But has not psychology advanced beyond this fourfold classification?
Not appreciably. There are books, written by psychologists, on
temperament and character; but the resulting classifications, though
more elaborate and more ingenious, are also individually coloured;
nothing like finality has been reached. _A good deal might be done,
in this field, by the roughest kind of observation, provided it were
long enough continued._ If you kept a diary for a couple of years,
putting down the nature and occasion of your emotions, and the nature
and duration and occasion and course of your moods, you would be
gathering material which psychology still lacks, and which might serve
as starting-point for detailed analytical study.

Questions and Exercises

(1) In the passage which heads this chapter, Descartes expresses the
opinion that joy, sorrow, love and hate are the primary emotions. Do
you agree with him? Why? How would you set to work to discover the
primary emotions?

(2) Do you think that there is an instinct of imitation? Give reasons
for your answer; then consult the books.

(3) Write a paragraph, as if for insertion in this chapter, on the
psychology of surprise.

(4) Give instances of emotive expression, from your own observation,
that seem to illustrate Darwin’s three principles.

(5) Define, without looking at the book, instinct, emotion, determining
tendency, suggestion.


(6) The figure below shows the facial expression of two opposite
emotions, as suggested by the natural philosopher and artist Leonardo
da Vinci (1452-1519; see A Treatise on Painting, 1877, 65). What are
the emotions? Can you offer any explanation of their expressions?

(7) Suppose that an actor is to play an emotional part on the stage.
Will he do better if he himself feels the part, or if he remains cold
and merely simulates the expression of emotion?

(8) Can you give instances, from your own experience, of the
modification or suppression of movements which naturally express
emotion? Does this inhibition of movement affect the emotion itself? Do
not generalise hastily; gather a number of cases.

(9) Recall some specific emotion that you have experienced. What
processes are imaginal or ‘reproduced,’ and what are set up anew or
‘produced,’ in the recall? Write fully and carefully.

(10) You have already been asked to discuss the possibility of ‘mixed
feelings’ (p. 88). Are there ‘mixed’ or ‘mingled emotions’? If so, in
what sense?

(11) It is said in the text that no sharp line of division can be drawn
between emotion, passion and mood. Illustrate this statement from your
own experience.

(12) Give instances, from poetry or fiction, of the delineation of
practically pure temperaments.


A. Bain, The Emotions and the Will, [1859] 1880; C. Darwin, The
Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, 1872; W. James,
Principles of Psychology, ii., 1890, chs. xxiv., xxv.; T. Ribot, The
Psychology of the Emotions, 1897; J. Sully, An Essay on Laughter,
1902; W. Wundt, Outlines of Psychology, 1907, § 13; W. McDougall, An
Introduction to Social Psychology, 1908; E. B. Titchener, Text-book
of Psychology, 1910, 462 ff., 471 ff.; H. Bergson, Laughter, 1911; E.
L. Thorndike, The Original Nature of Man, 1913; W. B. Cannon, Bodily
Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear and Rage, 1915.



 The ordinary way of speaking is, that the Understanding and Will are
 two faculties of the mind; yet I suspect that this way of speaking of
 faculties has misled many into a confused notion of so many distinct
 agents in us, which had their several provinces and authorities, and
 did command, obey, and perform several actions, as so many distinct
 beings: which has been no small occasion of wrangling, obscurity and
 uncertainty in questions relating to them.—JOHN LOCKE

§ 53. =The Psychology of Action.=—There seems to be a great gulf fixed
between plants and animals, and you were probably surprised to read,
on p. 13, that there are not a few psychologists who take the question
of a plant-mind with scientific seriousness. If you ask yourself, now,
wherein this gulf consists, you will find that it reduces in the main
to a single point of difference: _the higher plants are stationary
organisms, the higher animals are motor_. The plant stands still and
has to wait for things to come to it; and its organisation fits the
case; it spreads its organs over the widest possible space, and is
all, so to say, on the outside. The animal moves; it goes to things;
and its organisation is correspondingly different; the vital organs
are packed away inside, where they are out of harm’s reach, and
are distributed in such a way as to be easily carried. It would be
strange, then, if movement—the great differential character of the
animals—did not somehow fall within the range of psychology; and we
know that it does; for we are continually hoping, fearing, resolving,
refusing, wishing to _do_ something, or feeling glad, sorry, satisfied,
disappointed, resentful that the something has been _done_. Moreover,
we have already made frequent reference to movement; we have spoken of
the attitude of attention, of movement of the eyes, of instinctive and
expressive movements; and we have also laid stress upon the manifold
part played in the mental life by kinæsthesis, by sensations from the
moving organs. So we are prepared to consider movement in its own
psychological right, as correlated with special mental processes or

There are, as usual, a few preliminary matters to be got out of the
way. First of all, we shall do well to distinguish the terms ‘movement’
and ‘action.’ Movement is, without question, the wider term. Action,
although it is very loosely used in ordinary speech, so that we speak
of the action of a horse or a sewing-machine, is the word that we
naturally employ in referring to human conduct. We may therefore take
advantage of this difference in meaning, and may say that =action=, as
a technical term in psychology, denotes _any organic movement that has
mental correlates_; or more strictly, that it is an organic movement
any phase of which, beginning, middle or end, has mental correlates.
The need of the stricter definition will appear as we go on.

Secondly, we must be clear as regards the =problem= which action, as
thus defined, presents to psychology. We have, of course, _to describe
and to correlate_; to describe the mental processes that occur with
movement, or with one or more of its phases; and to indicate, as well
as our knowledge permits, the corresponding processes in the nervous
system. We have made out three modes of correlation: separate mental
processes correspond with certain brain-processes; the pattern of
mental connection corresponds with the play of associative tendencies
in the brain; and the course of the mental stream corresponds with the
activity of determining tendencies. These, then, are the limits within
which we work; and we shall be obliged to leave the subject very much
in the rough; for psychological description is still imperfect, and
our knowledge of the nervous mechanisms is woefully incomplete. Be
clear, nevertheless, that _the psychological problem lies within these
limits_. The psychologist has nothing to do with the relative values
of ‘motives.’ He cannot teach you how to acquire ‘control’ of your
actions. His task is simply to set forth the facts; and if the facts
that he discovers are of value for morals or education, as indeed they
can hardly fail to be, so much the better; only, you must not confuse
scientific information with practical advice, and be disappointed at
the one because you do not receive the other. All this has been said
before; but the present is a good time for repeating it.

Lastly, you should realise that in an organism so complicated as man,
and of such varied and eventful history, _movement by itself is no
index to mental process_. There are, no doubt, outward and visible
signs of hesitation, of deliberation, of quick resolve; but the bare
movement is not a cue to mind. Psychological enquiry must always go
_behind_ the movement; that is, we must either know the previous
mental history of the individual who makes the movement, or we must
ourselves arrange the circumstances under which the movement is to
be made. Suppose, for instance, that you have to sign your name to
a deed. You may have spent weeks in reflection, in balancing pros
and cons, in painful indecision; your action is then a ‘voluntary
action’ of the most positive sort; and yet, when the moment comes,
your signature flows smoothly from the pen, as if the matter had
never cost you a moment’s worry. Now suppose that you are sitting
in a committee-meeting, listening to a tedious report; you take the
blank paper before you, and write your accustomed signature, without
either the intention to write or knowledge that you are writing. The
two movements may be indistinguishable, and yet this second writing is
an ‘automatic’ or ‘involuntary’ action. So a hand-shake may mean the
barest recognition of a casual acquaintance, or the friendly settlement
of a long-standing disagreement; the onlooker can see no difference in
the movements, though their mental accompaniments are worlds apart.
There is, indeed, no chapter in psychology that illustrates _the law of
mental growth and decay_ (p. 183) so fully and so surprisingly as this
chapter on action. Movements that once were rich in mental correlates
fall into the direst psychological poverty; and movements that now are
poor may acquire a mental fortune, which they in their turn are bound
presently to lose.

§ 54. =The Typical Action.=—Under these circumstances, it sounds
a little incongruous to talk of a ‘typical’ action. But we must
start somewhere; and we may, perhaps, say that the typical action,
for psychology, is _an action of the simplest form taken at its
psychological best_; in other words, an organic movement that is
_singly_ determined and that shows a _maximum_ of mental accompaniment.
You will understand better what this definition means when we have
worked out an illustration. Meantime, you can see that such an
action—we call it an =impulsive= action—serves as point of departure
in two directions. The form may remain simple, while the mental side
suffers reduction; or the form may become complicated, and therewith
new mental characters may be introduced. In the former case, the
impulsive action runs downhill toward automatic; in the latter, it
climbs up toward deliberative action.

Now for the illustration! Suppose that, as I am writing this paragraph,
it occurs to me to look up a reference, for quotation, in a particular
book that stands on the shelf by my side. I turn toward the shelf,
recognise the book, take it in my hand and turn the pages, and
presently find the passage I had in mind to use. I have performed _an
impulsive action_, in the sense of our definition; the illustration is
complete. I shall go on to put a marker in the book, or to copy out
the sentence, and ultimately I shall return the book to the shelf; but
these later developments do not here concern us.

Let us try to analyse this action; and since the mental accompaniment
is fairly complex, let us analyse, at first, only in large and gross
terms. We begin with a preparatory phase, in which there are two
things to notice: the _intention to move_ (it occurs to me to look up
the reference) and the _idea of the result_ of movement (finding the
required passage for quotation). Then follows a middle phase, in which
the outstanding thing is the _perception of the object_ of movement
(I see and identify the book on the shelf). The final phase includes
a _perception of movement_ itself in kinæsthetic terms (I reach out,
take the book down, turn the pages) and also the _perception of the
result_ of movement (I find the sentence). So we have three roughly
distinguishable phases, each one issuing from that which preceded it,
which we may formulate as follows:

  Intention of movement } → Perception  { Perception of movement
  Idea of result        }   of object → { Perception of result.

You understand that the arrows indicate a definite direction; the
second and third phases issue from the first; _the whole course
is predetermined_. When I perceive the book, under this impulsive
determination, the associative tendencies have no freedom of play; I
cannot think that the back is breaking, or that I know the writer, or
that the chalky paper is detestable, though all of these are things
that might occur to me at another time; I can only recognise the book
as the book that will realise my idea of result, that contains the
passage I need. The whole course, again, is singly, _unequivocally_,
predetermined; it occurs to me to use the quotation, and I do not
reflect or hesitate; I act directly and forthright upon the suggestion;
there is no conflict. In a word, the example shows us action in its
simplest form and with a maximum of mental concomitant; and that is
what we agreed to regard, from the psychological point of view, as a
typical action.

Analysis of this crude kind does no more than give us our bearings. If
we are to lay out the facts with scientific accuracy, we must carry
actions into the laboratory, and examine them under experimental
conditions. We do this by way of the ‘reaction experiment.’

§ 55. =The Reaction Experiment.=—The reaction experiment comes to us,
of all unlikely things, by the road of astronomy. In the old days,
before electrical instruments were invented, astronomers used to time
the passage of a star across the meridian of their observatory by means
of the _eye-and-ear method_. You can easily imagine the procedure.
You have your eye at the ocular of a telescope, the field of which is
evenly divided by a number of fine vertical lines. The star enters
the field from the right, and crosses to the left; your task is to
determine the instant at which it traverses the midmost vertical line,
which corresponds with the meridian. A clock is behind you, beating
seconds; and you count these seconds, one, two, three, from a given
starting-point. If the star passes the meridian exactly on a beat, well
and good; you know the time of its passage; if, as ordinarily happens,
it passes somewhere between two beats, then you must estimate the time
of passage to the nearest tenth of a second. That is the principle
of the eye-and-ear method; you watch and listen, and so make your

In the year 1796, the astronomer in charge of the Greenwich Observatory
found himself obliged to dismiss an otherwise competent assistant,
who in the previous year had fallen into the habit of recording his
transits some half-second too late, and had now increased his error
to almost a whole second. This unfortunate man was the originator
of what came to be known as the =personal difference=. For it was
found that no two astronomers exactly agreed in their recording of
times; every observer differed from every other by a certain average
amount. So it became customary to take some highly skilled observer as
standard, and to refer other observers to him; and that is the origin
of the =personal equation=; the formula _A_-_B_ = 0.8 sec. means, for
instance, that the observer _A_ records a transit, on the average,
four-fifths of a second later than the more skilled observer _B_. What
_B_’s error may have been nobody knows.

We cannot trace the history of the personal difference in detail. It
is enough to say that the astronomers, having discovered it, were
naturally anxious to get rid of it; and they presently found a way to
relieve the observer of the task of listening; he simply pressed a
key when the star crossed the line of the meridian, and the time of
pressing was recorded automatically. This device did not eliminate
the personal difference; but it was methodically of great importance.
For the eye-and-ear method had now become, essentially, _a method of
response to stimulus by movement_; and in that form it settled down
permanently in the psychological laboratory. The stimulus for the
astronomer was the star on the meridian, and the response was the
pressure of his finger on a key. But it is clear that the stimulus need
not be visual; the observer might just as well respond to a sound or
a touch or a taste. It is clear, further, that the response need not
be a movement of the hand; the observer may respond, just as well, by
movement of the organs of speech, or of the foot, or of lip or eyelid.
It is clear, finally, that if we know the actual time at which the
stimulus is presented, and the actual time at which the movement of
response takes place, we can measure the interval between the two. A
little ingenuity makes this possible. If, for instance, the flash of
light which serves as stimulus _makes_ an electrical circuit, and the
finger-movement in response _breaks_ the circuit; and if an electrical
clock is placed in the same circuit; then the clock-hands will begin to
move when the flash comes, and will stop when the movement occurs, and
we can read off the =reaction time= from the dial.

In its simplest form, then, the reaction experiment takes shape
as follows. We subject the observer to some prearranged form of
stimulation (a flash of light, a sharp noise), to which he is to reply
by some prearranged movement (perhaps, the slipping of his finger from
the button of a telegraph key); and the instruments which we employ
are so connected that we can measure the time elapsing between the
exhibition of stimulus and the performance of answering movement.
The experiment thus has two sides. It gives us _numerical results,
the reaction times_ measured in units of our clock, in hundredths or
thousandths of a second; but it gives us also a _complete impulsive
action_, which we can observe as often as is necessary for analysis.

For consider the course of the reaction experiment in the light of our
typical formula of action! The observer sits down with the _intention
of moving_ when he has perceived the stimulus; and he has an _idea of
the result_ of his movement, namely, the performance of a reaction
experiment. The stimulus is presented; he _perceives the object_ of
movement; and slips his finger from the key. He thus _perceives the
movement_ itself, and also, by the movement, _realises in perception
his idea of result_. He has performed a complete impulsive action,
but an action which, on the mental side, has been thinned out to a
manageable degree of simplicity. The mental accompaniment is there; but
the intention to move bears upon a single finger, the idea of result is
just the idea of completing the experiment, the perception of object is
the perception of a simple stimulus, the movement itself is a slight
local displacement of a single member; nothing is left out, although
the action is reduced to a skeleton. It has thus been made manageable;
the mental accompaniments of the movement are not so complex that they
baffle observation; and the technique of the experiment is an outline
which can be filled in and further complicated in all manner of ways.
We may hope that that Greenwich assistant found further employment;
but we can hardly, as psychologists, regret that he timed his transits
later than he should!

§ 56. =Sensory and Motor Reaction.=—Suppose that you are performing
the simple reaction experiment, and that you tell your observers
beforehand to react as soon as they perceive the stimulus. You soon
find that this instruction is differently interpreted. One observer
will prepare to react as soon as _he perceives the stimulus_; and
another, _to react as soon as_ he perceives the stimulus. The
difference of emphasis may be brought out by a homely illustration.
When the lights are turned on in the evening, it is not uncommon, even
in the best regulated families, for a clothes-moth to start up from
some corner. You say ‘There’s a _moth_!’ and clap your hands to kill
it. But it escapes; and henceforth you do not trouble to identify it;
you clap your hands at anything mothlike that flits across the field of
vision; you are set or disposed for the movement. So in the two forms
of the simple reaction: some observers tend naturally to make sure of
the stimulus, before they move, and others tend naturally to move, as
soon as any stimulus has appeared.

We cannot rely, however, upon the natural tendency of the observer,
because his attitude is likely to change as the experiment proceeds,
and a change of attitude means a disturbance of the experimental
conditions. Moreover, there are observers of intermediate tendency, who
accent _both_ the ‘perception of stimulus’ _and_ the ‘reaction as soon
as,’ and may accent them in different degree. Hence it is necessary to
instruct the observers at the outset that they are to perform either
a =sensory= or a =motor= reaction, that is, that they are to look
forward either to the perception of the stimulus or to the execution of
the movement. With this preliminary instruction, the sensory reaction
takes, on the average and for practised reactors, a tenth of a second
longer than the motor, whether the stimulus be a sight, a sound, or a
touch. The longer time points, of course, to a more complicated nervous
path; and that in turn raises the presumption of a richer mental
accompaniment. Observations show, in fact, that _only the sensory
reaction represents a complete impulsive action_; the motor reaction
does not fall under our formula.

The main difference—and we have no space for detailed analysis—is
this. The instruction for the =motor= reaction sets up kinæsthetic
sensations of strain in the reacting member, principally in the finger;
these are contextual processes (p. 118), which carry the meaning ‘You
are to react as quickly as possible’; and they are accordingly known
as ‘sensations of intended movement.’ They imply that the instruction
is already in part fulfilled; the muscles are, from the very first,
prepared for the movement that shall end the experiment. Indeed, an
observer who is thus instructed will sometimes react prematurely,
before the stimulus has appeared, and is also liable to accept as
_the_ stimulus any chance stimulus that intervenes, and so to react
wrongly. The instruction for the =sensory= reaction, on the other hand,
sets up an expectation of the stimulus; the organism is thus prepared
especially for perception; premature and wrong reactions do not
occur. The intention to move is present, to be sure, but it is in the
background, carried only by the feel of the finger as it lies upon the
key, or in more diffuse form by the feel of the extended arm upon the
table. We might therefore say that, in the motor reaction, the formula
tends to close up on itself, like a telescope; idea of result is always
approaching perception of result, and intention of movement is always
approaching perception of movement; the perception of object gets
squeezed between the two extremes, as these draw together; whereas,
in the sensory reaction, the formula is followed _in extenso_; the
mental processes are thinned out, as we have put it, but they are all
present, following one another in their regular order. The reaction
experiment thus renders the impulsive action manageable, puts it at our
disposal for scientific analysis, but also shows that _an action, even
in its simplest form, will vary with every shift of emphasis in the
suggestion_ (p. 213) _which calls it forth_.

Let us look, now, at the =reaction times=, and see if they can be
turned to scientific account. So many experiments have been made
that we know the average times of reaction, both sensory and motor,
to light, sound and touch; and we also know what their average
constancy or regularity will be, if the reactor keeps his attitude to
the experiments unchanged. The times themselves, and the numerical
statement of their constancy, may therefore be used as indexes to the
type of reaction, sensory or motor, and to the stability or instability
of the reactor’s attitude. _They embody, as if in short-hand, the
results of oft-repeated observation_, and they may henceforth take
the place of direct psychological observation when we are asked to
decide on the type of reaction or the reliability of the reactor. The
psychological observation must, however, come first; we cannot take the
reaction-times of children or South Sea Islanders, and at once put them
down as sensory or motor or mixed; we must know what the reactors were
trying to do, how they understood the instructions given them.

§ 57. =The Degeneration of Action: From Impulsive to Reflex.=—We
have now to trace the course of impulsive action, downward to
automatic, and upward to deliberative action. If we start out on the
downward path, we note that impulsive action by frequent repetition
degenerates, first, to what is called =sensorimotor= or =ideomotor
action=: sensorimotor, if the object is still _perceived_, as it is in
the impulsive action proper (p. 235), and ideomotor, if the perception
is replaced by an _idea_ of object. Here the predetermination is a
nervous set without any mental correlates; the intention to move has
dropped away; and the idea of result is, so to say, incorporated in
the perception or idea of object; so that movement follows at once
upon this perception or idea. When we sit down at table, for instance,
we take up our knife _as_ a thing to cut food with; and when we are
dressing, we close our fingers round a button _as_ a thing to fasten
a garment with; the movements that we make are predetermined, but not
premeditated; the actions are sensorimotor. When, again, it occurs to
us, in the midst of our reading, that the mail must have arrived, we
ideate the packet of letters _as_ something to be fetched from the
mail-box; and when, as we watch the shower, it occurs to us that the
cellar hatchway is open, we ideate the hatchway _as_ something to be
closed; we act without further thought, and the actions are ideomotor.

But the degeneration may go further still. “There is a story,” writes
Huxley, “which is credible enough, though it may not be true, of a
practical joker, who, seeing a discharged veteran carrying home his
dinner, suddenly called out ‘Attention!’ whereupon the man instantly
brought his hands down, and lost his mutton and potatoes in the
gutter.” Huxley calls this an =artificial reflex= action; and indeed
the organism responds, in such cases of thorough drill, as fatally and
automatically as in the physiological reflexes, and with as little
apprehension of the nature of the stimulus; there is nothing to choose,
psychologically, between this direct response to the word ‘Attention!’
and the blinking of the eye in response to a threatened blow, or the
snatching back of the hand from a hot surface, or the withdrawal of the
foot when the sole is tickled. From the psychological point of view,
impulsive action, instinctive action and artificial reflex all shade
off into one another; and the artificial and physiological reflexes are

Only, as we know, _the artificial reflex has a mental history_; the
word ‘Attention!’ had been called out many thousand times before it
became a compelling suggestion. What, then, of the =physiological
reflex=? Has it, too, a mental history, extending beyond the individual
to the race; is it a racially degenerate impulsive action? or does it
belong to a class apart, purely physiological in character, and without
right to mention in a text-book of psychology?

The answer to these questions must be speculative; and speculation, as
is almost always the case, has swung between opposed extremes. Some
psychologists teach that all action has its origin in the physiological
reflex; the organism at first moved reflexly, automatically, fatally;
and then, later, mental processes were somehow ‘imported’ into its
activities. Others hold that all organic movements were originally
of the impulsive sort; the physiological reflex, so far from being
primary, is a late development, the final term in a series which
begins with movement of a large, diffuse sort, accompanied by mental
processes, and which ends with precise, local movement devoid of mental
correlates. Both these views are open to objection from the biological
side; and it seems reasonable to suppose that _the earliest movements
of the earliest organisms were of two kinds_: some were bare reflexes,
or—to use the newer word—physiological ‘tropisms’; others, however
scanty and undifferentiated their mental accompaniment, were still of
the nature of impulsive actions. If this mediating view be adopted, as
a working hypothesis, the zoologist and the comparative psychologist
must join forces, to trace the racial history of the physiological
reflexes, and to determine what part of our human equipment is
ultimately tropistic, and what part may be referred back to earlier

_The passage from an impulsive action to an artificial reflex may be
regarded, broadly, as an example of the effect of practice._ We have
seen that improvement in such activity as piano-playing depends, not
solely upon repetition, but largely also upon changes in our method
of working; upon the sudden discovery of some new trick of procedure,
or the sudden release from some hampering peculiarity of method (p.
170). Turning-points of this same sort are characteristic of the path
from impulse to reflex; we do not find a gradual refining of movement
and a corresponding simplification of its mental accompaniments; the
history is rather a matter of short-cuts and substitutions; the organic
machine is too complicated, too sensitive, has too great a variety of
resources, to follow a beaten track. So the course of impulsive action,
though it be downhill, cannot be expected to run smooth.

§ 58. =The Development of Action: From Impulsive to Selective and
Volitional.=—Action appears in its simplest form when it is singly
or unequivocally determined (p. 235); and this implies that actions
of more complicated form are multiply or equivocally determined. What
that means you will see at once if you recall the development of
attention. Primary passes into secondary attention because we have many
sense-organs, all of them open to manifold stimulation at the same
time, and because we have many different lines of interest, several of
which may be appealed to by the situation in which we chance to find
ourselves; there are rival claimants for the centre of the field of
attention. _Impulsive passes into_ =selective= _action_, in precisely
the same way, _when the nervous system is the seat of a conflict of
impulsive tendencies_.

The passage, however, is not made at one step; the conflict of impulses
may remain a mere conflict of impulses, without rising to the pitch of
selective action. We have already had an instance: the young child,
face to face with a strange dog, behaves as if pulled back and forth by
strings; it goes toward the dog, runs back to its father, approaches
the dog again, shrinks back again, and so on. It has happened to the
author, in presence of the two impulses to shut a door on the right
and to seat himself at a desk on the left, to begin the right-hand
movement towards the door, and then all at once to slue around to
the desk without having closed it. In such cases, the organism acts
impulsively or instinctively, but acts nevertheless under a dual
determination; the instincts or impulses are in conflict. Buridan’s
ass, starving to death between its two bundles of hay, illustrates the
logical outcome of an exact equality of the conflicting tendencies.

One may observe this sort of action, typically shown, in the behaviour
of those who are asked to guess a riddle or solve a mechanical
puzzle. Some people, of course, set to work deliberately, and think
the matter out in all its bearings; they are not here in question. A
great many will behave in the manner just described; they will hazard
guess after guess in quick succession, and they will snatch at one
possibility of solution after another, risking everything upon the
impulse that happens to be dominant at the moment, until they either
light upon the right principle or ‘give up.’ Professor Lloyd Morgan,
one of the best-known writers upon comparative psychology, thinks
that this _method of ‘trial and error’_ is characteristic of animal
intelligence. The dog, for instance, placed in novel circumstances,
meets the situation at once by some action that derives from his
individual experience or from racial inheritance; if that first
response fails, he ‘tries’ another action, similarly derived; and so
on, until luck favours him or he is diverted to something else. Only
man advances beyond the stage of ‘trial and error’ to the level of
rational selection; and man himself need not; in the story of _Dite
Deuchars_ Sir J. M. Barrie draws an accurate picture of human conduct
permanently arrested between impulsive and selective action.

_Selective action appears when the rival impulses are so evenly matched
that no one of them can find direct issue in movement; it implies the
state of secondary attention; and it is possible only to organisms that
possess free ideas of memory and imagination,—probably, that is, only
to man._ Any biography that goes at all minutely into details will
furnish examples. Thus, when the first Napoleon was at liberty to turn
his thoughts to England, after the treaty of Schönbrunn (1809), he
found two possibilities of action: he might himself take in hand the
conduct of the war in Spain, or he might devote himself to heightening
the rigour of the blockade in the north and north-west. He ‘chose’ the
latter course; that is to say, he passed through a period of doubt
and hesitation, weighing the alternatives and estimating results,—we
know the pattern of secondary attention,—until presently the stronger
impulse won. _It is always the strongest impulse that wins_; though
here, as also in the case of attention, it is not necessarily the
impulse that looks the strongest to psychological observation; there
may be a more impressive array of ideas on the side that finally gives
way. The winning impulse, as we see in historical examples of selective
action, is that which has the strongest backing of nerve-forces (p.
96). The actor, oftentimes, cannot make his action plausible, even to
himself, when he tries to state his ‘reasons’; but the sympathetic
historian can trace the influence of tendencies which had no mental
correlates, and whose existence was therefore unsuspected by their

All this is clear in principle, though psychology stands sorely in
need of detailed analyses. Let us add a final word of caution,—that
you beware of confusing the practical or moral value of selective
action with its psychological status. Napoleon the Great was an
incomparably more efficient person than Dite Deuchars, and the results
of his action were incomparably wider; but with a trifle more balance
in the impulsive tendencies, and a little freer play of ideas, the
latter gentleman could have performed selective actions of the same
psychological type as Napoleon’s.

There is, however, another kind of action—we may call it =volitional=
action—in which _an impulse seems to come into conflict, not with
another impulse, but with some idea or group of ideas that has no
motor reference_. I hear my alarum-clock, and have the impulse to get
up; but that impulse is definitely opposed by the idea of another
half-hour’s sleep. How can an idea oppose an impulse? When Cæsar
crossed the Rubicon his alternative was not another course of action,
but the passive resignation of the two Gauls and the disbanding of his
army; the choice lay between acting and refraining from action. How can
activity and passivity thus come into conflict?

The answer to these questions is given with what we said about the
nervous correlates of attention (p. 109). We learned, you remember,
that _nervous reinforcement and nervous inhibition go hand in hand_:
neither acts without the other; but we were not able at that time to
present the evidence for this belief. The evidence is twofold. We find,
in experiments upon _abstraction_, that reinforcement always implies
inhibition. Suppose, for instance, that the observer is shown a series
of coloured figures, each one for a fraction of a second only, and that
he is asked to report accurately upon the form of these visual stimuli.
He can do so: but if he is then asked to report further about the
colour, he can say little if anything in reply. Reinforcement of the
form has brought with it inhibition of the colour. We find, again, in
experiments with what is called _negative instruction_ that inhibition
always implies reinforcement. Suppose that a picture is shown, and that
the observer is told to utter the first word that occurs to him when
he sees it, only that the word uttered is _not_ to be the name of the
object pictured. He can do this, too; but the results prove that the
‘negative’ always brings in a ‘positive’; either the throat is held
stiff, locked up for the time against any utterance whatever, or the
instruction ‘Don’t name the object’ is translated by the observer into
‘Name a property of the object’ or ‘Name a use to which the object
might be put’; inhibition of the name has meant reinforcement of
throat-kinæsthesis or of some positively suggestive idea.

Apply this evidence, now, to the case in point! The sound of the
alarum-clock is, on the face of it, a positive suggestion, bidding
me get up; but every suggestion is really two-faced; if it sets off
certain of the tendencies natural to the situation, it also checks
others. The sound of the bell, therefore, not only reinforces the
getting-up tendencies, but also represses the nervous disposition that
tends to keep me lying still. In the same way, the idea of further
sleep means not only the reinforcement of this disposition to lie
still, but also, on the negative side, a blocking of the suggestion
from the alarum-clock. The situation offers the alternatives ‘action’
and ‘no action’; but the nerve-forces which the situation calls into
play, and which correspond with these alternatives, both alike bear
upon ‘action,’ as both alike bear upon ‘no action.’ _The conflict
is thus, after all, of the same kind as in selective action._ Idea
does not oppose impulse, nor does activity oppose passivity; but
nerve-forces which make for action and against rest oppose nerve-forces
which make for rest and against action; the double-faced nature of the
nervous mechanism is the key to the riddle. The particular ‘action’ and
the particular mode of ‘no action’ are, naturally, determined by the
situation itself.

_If these selective and volitional actions are often repeated, choice
is likely to give way to habit_; some one impulse gains predominance
over the rest; and then, as if to pay the price of victory, speedily
falls to the sensorimotor or ideomotor form, and finally lapses
into an artificial reflex. When we are learning to play a musical
instrument, our actions are one and all selective; we have to think
which dot upon the staff stands for which note upon the keys, and which
finger is to be set down where. When we have become adepts, the bare
sight of the printed score touches off the appropriate movements; we
play ‘instinctively’ in the right key, in the right tempo, with the
right emphasis; we may even carry on a conversation, and still play
correctly, though we have never seen the score before. The practised
speaker does not ‘choose’ his words; his ideas express themselves for
him; he may even run ahead in thought, while his larynx is still busy
with the present topic. The road to automatism is that with which we
are already familiar (p. 245), though the psychological history of the
automatic actions is different.

§ 59. =The Compound Reaction.=—The detailed analyses that we felt the
need of on p. 249 ought, by rights, to be provided by the reaction
experiment; for that, as we said on p. 239, furnishes an outline-plan
of experimental work which can be filled in and complicated in all
manner of ways. Why, then, should not selective and volitional
action be as manageable as impulsive? and why should we not follow,
experimentally, the rise of impulse to choice and its later return to

_There are two main reasons, the one internal and the other external,
why the reaction experiment has not developed along the lines of our
psychological classification of action._ The internal reason is that
_the reactor is extremely sensitive to slight changes in instruction_,
in the rules laid down for the experiment. We have already had an
instance: the sensory reaction is a skeleton impulsive action; but
the motor reaction, which results from a shift of emphasis in the
instruction, is not sensorimotor; it is an abbreviated or telescoped
impulsive action. Psychologists have naturally been interested in
this side of the experiment, and so have tried the effect of varying
instructions, instead of duplicating in the laboratory the gross types
of action that our classification distinguishes. The second, external
reason is that _the reaction, largely on account of its outside
origin, was for some time treated in a chapter apart_; not until the
nineties of the last century did psychologists realise that it gave
them experimental control of action; and so the technique has been
complicated and the outline filled in without special reference to the
psychology of action. We need not here go into details; it is enough to
say that experimenters have tried the effect of increasing the number
of stimuli, and thus of leaving the reactor more or less uncertain of
what he shall expect; of increasing the number of possible responsive
movements; and of varying the instruction given beforehand to the
reactor, in such wise that a particular responsive movement is assigned
to a particular stimulus, or that response is made to certain stimuli
but not to certain others. _All these forms of compound reaction have
an interest of their own_, which makes their analysis desirable;
they enable us to trace the establishment and course of determining
tendencies, the tendencies set up by the instructions; and some of them
throw light upon the psychology of negative instruction (p. 250). Only,
as we have said, they do not represent the different types of action.
Things are now changing; but a great deal of work must be done before
we obtain typical analyses of the actions discussed in the preceding

In one respect, this historical severance of the reaction experiment
from the special psychology of action has been of scientific advantage;
it has left experimenters free to employ the reaction method in any
connection in which it promised to be of service. _The technique
of the reaction experiment has, in fact, proved useful in many
investigations, in which the psychology of action is not involved._
Thus, we may measure the time required for response at different levels
of _attention_, the time required (under various circumstances) for
_recognition_, the time required for the _discrimination_ of sensations
whose stimuli are more or less alike, and so on. There are a great
many experiments into which this feature of time-measurement may be
introduced; and when they have been often repeated, and standard times
have been determined, the times themselves and the numerical statement
of their constancy become psychologically significant (p. 242); they
indicate, in a sort of short-hand way, what the observer has done and
how uniformly he has done it. One of the most valuable extensions of
the reaction experiment, from the practical point of view, is the
_association reaction_; words are shown or called out to the observer,
who replies in every case by the first word that comes into his mind.
This experiment may be performed with abnormal as well as with normal
reactors, and the results are of importance to the alienist. It has
also been employed with a view to the detection of crime: a series
of words, some of which bear upon the circumstances of the crime,
is presented to the supposedly guilty person, and the time of his
response to the critical words is taken as an indication of his guilt
or innocence. Under laboratory conditions, with ‘crimes’ invented for
the sake of the experiment, some rather surprising results have been
obtained; but there have also been flat failures; and no one can yet
say positively whether the association reaction will have its place in
the legal procedure of the future.

All these word-reactions move in the realm of meanings, which are
the practically important things; there is no reason, however, why
experiments of the kind described on p. 161 should not be accompanied
by time-measurements. We have already suggested that moods might be
timed (p. 227); and it is possible to measure the time required for
the arousal of a sense-feeling, as well as to note its duration. On
the whole, therefore, the reaction experiment or, as we may now term
it, the =reaction method= should play an even larger part in the
experimental psychology of the future than it has played in the past.

§ 60. =Will, Wish and Desire.=—The compound reactions have led us
into a digression. But, if the traditional forms—the discriminative,
cognitive and choice reactions—are off the main track of the
psychology of action, they still throw light on the establishment of
determining tendencies to action, and in so far contribute to the
psychology of =will=. For will, taken in a psychological and not
in a moral sense, is simply _the general name for the sum total of
tendencies, inherited and acquired, that determine our actions_; and
we distinguish different types of will, according as these tendencies
to action manifest themselves, characteristically, in different ways.
The man of strong will is one whose tendencies are so deep-seated
and persistent that he attains his end, or at any rate continues to
strive towards it, however remote it may be and however numerous the
counter-suggestions that oppose it; and the man of weak will is one
whose tendencies are so instable that he is at the mercy of every
fresh suggestion that comes. James remarks that, when the will is
healthy, action follows, neither too slowly nor too rapidly, as the
resultant of all the forces engaged; whereas, when it is unhealthy,
action is either explosive or obstructed: the mercurial or dare-devil
temperament shows an explosive will, “discharging so promptly into
movements that inhibitions get no time to arise”; and the limp
characters, the failures, sentimentalists, drunkards, schemers, show
the obstructed will, in which “impulsion is insufficient or inhibition
in excess,” Divisions of this sort might be pushed much further; but
here, as in the parallel case of temperament (p. 227), it is enough to
indicate the lines along which classification may proceed.

The terms ‘wish’ and ‘desire’ come to us from popular psychology, and
cover a great variety of actual experience. If we are willing to speak
somewhat arbitrarily, we may say that a =desire= appears when some
particular tendency to action, which has present control of the nervous
system, is thwarted by external circumstances, while the goal of action
is still regarded as attainable; and that a =wish= appears when some
tendency to action rises to momentary dominance, but is promptly met
by inhibiting tendencies, while the goal of action is regarded as
unattainable. This statement of the difference between desire and wish
will not fit every case, for the reason that the terms are popular, and
not technical, and that their meanings are not sharply distinguished
either in ordinary speech or in psychology. The experiences themselves,
if we seek to compare them with the experiences discussed in previous
chapters, approach most nearly to _sense-feelings_. Desire is a
straining-exciting, and wish a straining-subduing feeling; and both
desire and wish may be either pleasurable or unpleasurable, according
as the focal idea is the idea of result, of the goal of action, or the
idea of its (present or permanent) inaccessibility. The existence of
these ideas, however, and the play of associative tendencies which it
implies, set desire and wish upon a higher plane of mental development
than the sense-feelings; and the fact of direction, of the pressure of
determining tendencies, marks another difference between the two kinds
of experience.

_This reference to sense-feeling reminds us of the doctrine, common to
the associationist psychology and to modern popular psychology, that
‘pleasure and pain’ are the sole determinants of action._ Bain, for
instance, tells us that “the proper stimulus of the will, namely some
variety of pleasure or pain,” is always “needed to give the impetus”;
“that primary constitution, under which our activity is put in motion
by our feelings,” remains unchanged through the whole history of
mind. Spencer, as we have seen (p. 86), regards it as a corollary to
the general law of organic evolution that “pleasures and pains have
necessarily been the incentives to, and deterrents from, actions which
the conditions of existence demanded and negatived”; our actions are
always ‘guided’ by pleasures and pains, immediate or remote. Leslie
Stephen, who is in the main a disciple of Spencer, writes in his
brilliant _Science of Ethics_: “pain and pleasure are the determining
causes of action; it may even be said that they are the sole and the
ultimate causes.” And, lastly,—though the list of quotations might be
greatly extended,—Professor Sully asserts that “the prompting forces
in our voluntary action are feelings.”

It is true that there is oftentimes a close relation between feeling
and action; we gave some examples on p. 231. It is also true, however,
that there are numberless actions into which feeling does not enter.
The associationist school have, therefore, fallen into a mistake the
opposite of that which we laid at their door on p. 161; _as they look
at the course of ideas in too intellectual a way, so do they look
at action in too emotional a way_. They also repeat a mistake which
we noted on p. 146. There we found that an idea is supposed to have
a ‘power’ to recall another idea; Hume refers to association as “a
kind of attraction” which one idea exerts upon another. So here the
feelings are supposed to have a ‘power’ to arouse or prevent or deflect
actions; they are used to _explain_ conduct, precisely as the laws
of association are used to _explain_ the course of ideas. Both these
theories _betray a misunderstanding of the psychological problem_.

We must conclude, then, that the associationists are at fault in their
observation; for even if the earliest impulsive actions (p. 244) were
invariably preceded by feeling,—and that is a matter of guesswork,—it
is still true that our present actions show no such uniformity. We
conclude, also, that the explanation of action is to be found in the
determining tendencies of the nervous system, and not in the motive
force of feeling.

Questions and Exercises

(1) (_a_) It is said on p. 232 that “the present is a good time for
repeating” certain cautions. Now that you have read the chapter, can
you see why the statement was made? (_b_) Criticise, in your own words,
the doctrine that pleasure and pain have ‘power’ to determine actions.

(2) Give from your own experience instances (_a_) of sensorimotor and
ideomotor action, and (_b_) of the passage of selective or volitional
action into some simpler form. Make your account as detailed as

(3) Draw up a table, in the form of a genealogical tree, of the various
kinds of action discussed in this chapter. Write a psychological
formula for every kind. Where does instinctive action come in?

(4) Give instances, from history or fiction, (_a_) of selective action,
(_b_) of volitional action, and (_c_) of conflicts from which a
volitional action might have resulted, but did not.

(5) Name (_a_) some of the principal human reflexes, and (_b_) some of
the artificial reflexes most commonly acquired by civilised man.

(6) The following statements occur in various psychological works:
(_a_) every impulse is at the same time emotion; (_b_) every emotion
is at the same time impulse; (_c_) every emotion is at the same time
instinct; (_d_) every instinct is an impulse. What comment have you to

(7) What evidence can you offer for the hypothesis (p. 245) that
impulsive actions are, in the history of the race, as old as tropisms?

(8) Suppose that you perform a selective action; the action issues
from a conflict of determining tendencies; you ‘decide’ among various
possibilities of action. Does the decision always take place in the
same way, or can you distinguish ‘types’ of decision?—Do not hurry
to answer the question; keep it by you, and answer it in the light of

(9) We saw that the motor reaction (which has its counterpart in
everyday life) is a telescoped impulsive action. Can you mention any
other kinds of action (also occurring in everyday life) which do not
find their precise place under the headings of the chapter?

(10) What kinds of action are involved in the product of constructive

(11) (_a_) What is the chief psychological difference between
hesitation and deliberation? (_b_) Give, from your own experience, a
detailed analysis of some desire.

(12) It is very important that you should become acquainted with
the reaction experiment, and should analyse a number of reactions.
Many instrumental outfits are on the market; one of the simplest is
President E. C. Sanford’s vernier chronoscope (C. H. Stoelting Co.).
When you have familiarised yourself with the experiment, try to plan an
experimental study of selective and volitional actions.


W. James, Principles of Psychology, ii., 1890, ch. xxvi.; W. Wundt,
Lectures on Human and Animal Psychology, 1896, Lects. xviii., xxix.;
Outlines of Psychology, 1907, § 14; E. B. Titchener, Text-book of
Psychology, 1910, 428 ff.

Special references are: T. H. Huxley, Lessons in Elementary Physiology,
Lesson xi. (1896, 302); C. L. Morgan, Animal Behaviour, 1900, 138; A.
Bain, The Emotions and the Will: The Will, ch. iii. (1880, 352 and
elsewhere); H. Spencer, The Principles of Ethics, i., ch. xiv. (1892,
244 and elsewhere); L. Stephen, The Science of Ethics, 1882, 50; J.
Sully, The Human Mind, ii., 1892, 2, 236. The technique of the vernier
chronoscope is described by Titchener, Experimental Psychology, I., i.,
1901, 117 ff.; ii., 212 ff.



 I myself am inclined to hold that man really thinks very little and
 very seldom.—WILHELM WUNDT

§ 61. =The Nature of Thought.=—“The train of thoughts, or mental
discourse,” wrote Hobbes in 1651, “is of two sorts. The first is
unguided, without design, and inconstant; in which case the thoughts
are said to wander, and seem impertinent one to another, as in a
dream. The second is more constant; as being regulated by some desire,
and design: and because the end, by the greatness of the impression,
comes often to mind, in case our thoughts begin to wander, they are
quickly again reduced into the way.” Hobbes is here distinguishing, so
far as unaided observation allows him, between the mental connections
that reflect a random play of the associative tendencies, and those
whose course is directed by some determining tendency. The former,
to be sure, are never wholly random; ideas are grouped together by
the situation in which they appear (p. 165); and it is only fair to
say that Hobbes himself, in other passages, recognises this guidance.
There is, nevertheless, a marked difference between the two kinds of
‘mental discourse,’ between (say) the casual flow of conversation
and the working out of an argument; and it is the second kind, the
progressive movement of ideas towards an end, that modern psychology
has technically named =thought=.

You notice that we have spoken of a ‘progressive’ movement; and you
notice that Hobbes writes a little cautiously of regulated discourse;
even in that, our thoughts may ‘begin to wander,’ These are merely
different ways of saying that _thought goes on in the state of
secondary attention_; it is an experience of the same general type
as recollection, constructive imagination, selective and volitional
action. We therefore ‘think,’ in the technical sense, far less often
than the popular use of the word would suggest. For, on the one hand,
we accept a great many judgements, ready made, from our surroundings;
parents and teachers and friends are constantly expressing opinions
which we adopt without question, opinions which they themselves have
adopted, for the most part, in the same unquestioning way. The present
generation takes the motor-car and the air-ship for granted; it finds
them natural and obvious; and every generation falls heir to a body
of social, political, religious, æsthetic, and moral judgements which
also seem natural and obvious; thought is not needed, and so is rarely
undertaken. Secondly, even if we are obliged to think, we still tend
to think no further than is necessary for the practice of life; we
attain a certain level of thought, in the mastery of our business or
profession, and there stop; the pattern of secondary attention is
replaced by that of derived primary attention. _Most of our thought_,
in other words, _is either borrowed thought or routine thought_, that
is, is not (in the psychological sense) thought at all; independent,
sustained, original thinking is as rare as creative imagination or as
sagacious and farsighted action. In all probability, it always has been
rare; our ancestors probably thought as we think, only a few with real
seriousness, and they only between whiles; but a very little thinking
gives man an immense superiority over the lower animals!

We have now to ask, first, about the _terms_ in which thought goes on;
and we shall find that it may go on in imaginal complexes, in words,
and in mental attitudes. We then discuss the _pattern_ of thought;
and we shall find that thinking is characterised by the ‘division
into pairs’ which we mentioned on p. 205. Lastly, we shall take up,
separately, some of the special features of this general pattern.

§ 62. =Imaginal Processes in Thought: The Abstract Idea.=—A great deal
of controversy has raged about the abstract or general idea. We can
see to-day that the name is, psychologically, a misnomer. Just as no
idea is, in its own right, an idea of memory or of imagination, so also
no idea is, in its own right, an abstract idea; _an idea becomes, is
made into, an_ =abstract idea= _whenever its context and determination
carry the meaning of abstractness and generality_. The associationists,
however, looked at things differently; they thought that any idea
which _means_ ‘abstract’ must also itself _be_ abstract; and so they
distinguished a special class of abstract ideas. We obtain such ideas,
they said, in this way: we review a large number of particular ideas,
and we separate out the elements that are common to all of them; this
common remainder is then a general or abstract idea which represents
the whole group of particulars. Thus, “by leaving out of the particular
colours perceived by sense that which distinguishes them one from
another; and retaining that only which is common to all; the mind makes
an idea of colour in abstract which is neither red, nor blue, nor
white, nor any other determinate colour.”

An emphatic protest was raised against this theory by the idealistic
philosopher George Berkeley (1685-1753). “The idea of man that I frame
to myself must be either of a white or a black or a tawny, a straight
or a crooked, a tall or a low or a middle-sized man. I cannot by any
effort of thought conceive [that is, mentally picture] the abstract
idea above described.” It is, truly, a little difficult to _imagine_
an abstract ‘colour’ with all the specific colour-elements left out!
Yet the theory is so plausible, as long as process and meaning are
confused, that it has been revived again, though in somewhat altered
form. The suggestion has been made that an abstract idea is a sort
of _composite photograph_, a mental picture which results from the
superposition of many particular perceptions or ideas, and which
therefore shows the common elements distinct and the individual
elements blurred. A passage from Huxley illustrates this view. “An
anatomist who occupies himself intently with the examination of several
specimens of some new kind of animal, in course of time acquires so
vivid a conception of its form and structure, that the idea may take
visible shape and become a sort of waking dream. But the figure which
thus presents itself is generic, not specific. It is no copy of any one
specimen, but, more or less, a mean of the series.” To which we reply
that ‘the figure which presents itself’ is as specific and particular
as any other idea; only, it _means_ the genus; the anatomist is working
under the suggestion of a type, of a composite picture that will make a
diagram in a text-book or monograph; and his idea is abstract in virtue
of this determination and context, and not because it pictures the mean
of a series.

The fact is, to repeat, that _any idea is made into an abstract idea
when context and determination carry the meaning of abstractness_;
and there is no doubt that, in minds of a certain type, imaginal
processes other than words may take on this context and suffer
this determination, so that _thought may go on in imaginal terms_.
Experiments show that visual imagery may play its part, along with
verbal ideas and attitudes, in a single train of thought; one recent
writer describes visual images of a complex kind as centres of
‘activity’ in the progress of thinking. Blindfold chess-players, if
they are of the motor type, think of attack and defence in terms of
‘lines of force’ which connect the various pieces on the board, and
which they themselves ‘feel’ in kinæsthetic imagery as pushes and pulls
in hand and arm. We saw on p. 77 that such general notions as ‘virtue’
and ‘commerce’ may come to mind in the form of habitual images. No
doubt, these images were at first contextual processes surrounding a
verbal idea; they are therefore secondary, and not original; yet they
may now replace the verbal idea, and do duty by themselves as abstract
ideas. There are probably a good many of us whose abstract idea of
‘triangle’ is simply a mental picture of the little equilateral
triangle that stands for the word in text-books of geometry.

_Is there, then, no truth at all in the theory of the composite
photograph?_ Not an atom, so far as regards the genesis of the
abstract idea; one might superpose individual ideas _ad infinitum_,
and one would still have nothing more than an individual idea. But
if we leave the abstract idea out of the question, and consider the
_history of ideas_, in minds of the imaginal type, then the composite
photograph has more to say for itself. For we know from p. 156 that
the associative tendencies, if left to themselves, gradually die
out; and that the weaker die out more quickly than the stronger.
Consider what this means! I have a mental picture of a landscape, and
I do not see the actual scene for some years. The picture fades out;
but it fades out unevenly; its various features are correlated with
associative tendencies of varying strength. So I shall always imagine
a semicircle of mountains with the valley opening towards me, and the
river meandering down the valley; for these are features common to many
landscapes and strongly impressed upon my nervous system; but I shall
lose the relative heights of the mountains, and the particular turns
of the river, and the special distribution of villages and churches;
for these are individual features, and have been less frequently
repeated. _My mental picture of the landscape thus approaches a type_;
and the same thing is true of all complex images, if they are left
to themselves, and the underlying associative tendencies decay from
old age. These typical images are, nevertheless, ideas of particular
scenes or things or faces; their rounding and smoothing do not make
them abstract; while, conversely, the image that carries an abstract
meaning may be as firmly outlined as a steel engraving. The typical
image depends upon the inherent strength and weakness of associative
tendencies; the abstract meaning is due to determinations which cut
across the associative tendencies, perhaps to arrest or short-circuit,
perhaps to rearrange them; there can be no necessary connection between
typical image and abstract idea.

§ 63. =Thought and Language.=—It has often been said that thought
would be impossible without words; and it is true that we can hardly
conceive of human thought save as formed and embodied and expressed
in language. Thought and articulate speech grew up, so to say, side
by side; each implies the other; they are two sides of the same phase
of mental development. The old conundrum ‘Why don’t the animals talk?
Because they have nothing to say’ contains so much of sound psychology;
if the animals thought, they would undoubtedly use their vocal organs
for speech; and since they do not talk, they cannot either be thinking.
All this is true: and yet we must acknowledge that _thought is not
necessarily wedded to speech_; it probably appeared, at least in
rudimentary guise, before words came into being, and it persists (so to
say) after words have ceased to be. There is a gesture-language that
can serve as the medium of thought, and that is probably older than
speech; and there is a thinking in images and attitudes that dispenses
with words.

A =gesture= is _an expressive movement_; and all gestures have their
origin in the movements that express emotion. But a gesture can serve
as the medium of thought only if it is _made with the intention to
communicate_, to impart some meaning; and it is this intention that
seems to be the important thing, the specifically human endowment;
though we can say nothing more of it now than that it is one of the
ingrained tendencies of our nervous system (p. 135). Gestures, at
any rate, can give rise to a language of their own; and we may study
this language in various dialects; among deaf-mutes who have not been
subject to special training; in the Cistercian communities, which are
vowed to silence in the ordinary affairs of life; among uncivilised
peoples, like the Indian tribes of North America; and finally in the
lower strata of civilised societies,—here the Southern Italians are
typical. There is a strong family resemblance throughout. We find
that gestures express both the feeling-side and the idea-side of
emotions; and we find, naturally enough, that _development has gone
further on the side of idea_, where the gesture becomes a means for
the expression of thought. The simplest kind of ideational gesture
is the =demonstrative=, which points towards, directly indicates,
the object that excites emotion; we point our finger at the thing
that has frightened us, or shake our fist at the man who has made
us angry. =Representative= gesture depicts the object: whether by a
finger-drawing of its outline in the air, or by the reproduction of one
of its characteristic features, or by some purely symbolic movement.
Thus, a deaf-mute gesture for ‘smoke’ is a spiral action of the
forefinger from below upwards; for ‘child,’ the action of cradling and
rocking the right elbow in the left hand; for ‘truth,’ the movement of
the forefinger in a straight line from the mouth. This gesture-language
has its own syntax, its own laws of growth and change, its own
psychological history; but it could not hold its own against articulate

The struggle was, in all probability, brief; because, at the very
beginning, _speech itself was a gesture_; the essential thing about
it was not the sound, but the movement. If, then, gesture-language
is older than speech, it can hardly be much older; for the sound
that accompanied the gesture would soon attract attention, and the
superiority of articulate sound over visible movement would soon be
recognised. Attempts have been made, of course,—we may say ‘of course’
at this point of our psychological knowledge!—to read a meaning into
the sounds themselves. There is a theory which traces the origin of
language to the imitation of natural sounds, and so makes it begin
with words like _hiss_ and _roar_; and there is a theory which traces
it to ejaculations and merely mechanical utterances, and so makes it
begin with _oh_ and _ah_ and a sort of infantile babble. Neither of
these theories will hold water. Apart from the psychological arguments,
which we cannot here set forth, there is the evidence of fact: words
like _hiss_ and _roar_ form a very small part of the vocabulary of
any language; exclamations and interjections are emotive and not
ideational, and have had but little development; and the babble of
the human infant is not primitive, but corresponds with a stage in
the maturing of an inherited speech-mechanism. No! _the sound was,
at first, simply the incidental accompaniment of the gesture_, of a
movement which included the muscles of the larynx; it derived its
meaning from the gesture-context; and presently, under the influence
of continued social intercourse, it proved its superiority to gesture
and acquired its independence. We may say in the large that _the word
heard has never had any other than a derivative and symbolic meaning_,
and that _the self-sufficiency of the word-gesture, combined sound and
movement, is the origin of language_.

What a word should ‘mean,’ therefore, depended in the first instance
upon the context and determination of the articulated sound. Just as
any idea may serve as an abstract idea, so may any word whatever serve
as an abstract verbal idea, as what is technically called a =concept=,
provided only that its context and determination carry the meaning of
abstractness. We saw, however, that the context of the abstract idea
may drop away, and the mental correlates of its determination lapse,
so that finally some conventional image, like the triangle, is taken
as abstract, wears the very stamp of abstractness upon it. This is
preeminently the case with words. Every generation, we must remember,
inherits the speech of preceding generations; _language comes to us
ready made_. We learn from the study of language itself that the
abstract words were originally concrete; thus the Latin _sapio_, to
taste, _sapor_, taste, are connected with _sapa_, must, _sapo_, soap,
_sebum_, tallow,—with the names of substances that are readily diluted
or liquefied; but the situations that made them abstract dropped out of
mind long ago. The child finds language waiting for it, and finds that
every word incorporates a meaning; and so it comes about, not only that
the mental representation of honesty or pride may be the mere word,
‘honesty’ or ‘pride,’ as it occurs in internal speech, but also that
the same internal speech embodies the meaning of abstractness; _the
verbal image stands psychologically for an idea and logically for a

§ 64. =Mental Attitudes.=—If you look back over a course of thought,
you will find verbal ideas, and you will perhaps find imaginal
complexes of various kinds; but you will also find experiences of
another sort, which have come to be known as =mental attitudes=. They
are vague and elusive processes, which carry as if in a nutshell the
entire meaning of a situation. _Some of them belong to the feeling-side
of mind_: for feeling enters into the train of directed thought no less
than into the freer play of association (p. 161): they are reported
as ‘feelings’ of hesitation, vacillation, incapacity, expectancy,
surprise, triviality, relevancy, and so on. _Others are more nearly
related to ideas_; they are generally reported by a phrase beginning
with ‘I knew that ...,’ ‘I was sure that ...,’ ‘I realised that ...,’
or some like expression. Suppose, for instance, that the observer is
required to solve ‘in his head’ some mathematical problem, or to think
out the answer to some difficult question that bears upon his special
line of study. He may say, in the course of his report: “At that point
it occurred to me _that_ I had lost the first partial product,” “It
seemed to me _that_ the whole thing was taking too long a time,” “I
suddenly realised _that_ I had never thought of that before,” “It
flashed upon me _that_ the question was only another form of the old
difficulty,” “I could not see the answer, but I knew _that_ I could
work it out,” and so forth. All these _that_-clauses may stand for
mental attitudes.

It is clear that, so far as the verbal expressions go, the observer is
reporting meanings and not processes. Our task is, then, _to discover
what processes lie behind the meanings; and here the opinions of
psychologists are sharply at variance_. One party believes that the
mental attitudes are unique and simple, that they cannot be further
analysed, and that they must therefore be given rank as mental elements
alongside of sensation and feeling. Another party, to which the author
belongs, believes that the attitudes are analysable, if only they are
taken out of the thought-context and examined by themselves under more
favourable conditions, and that their analysis yields nothing else than
sensations and feelings. The whole matter is still under discussion,
and you will do best to suspend judgement. Meantime we may look at a
couple of instances.

Consider, first, the attitude of =expectation=. It is not difficult
to devise experiments which shall set up in the observer an expectant
attitude; thus, in a very simple case, the experimenter might hang a
weight by a cord to the ceiling, tie a loose piece of string to the
cord, and light the end of the string; the observer would then watch
the progress of the flame, _expecting_ that it will presently reach the
cord, burn that, and so cause the weight to fall to the floor. What are
the processes in the observer’s mind as he watches? You will naturally
think of an image; the observer will imagine the fall of the weight.
Not necessarily; not even usually; _the image of expectation must go
the same road as the image of recognition_ (p. 184). _Ordinarily,
expectation consists simply of kinæsthetic and organic sensations_;
sometimes there are verbal ideas; only occasionally is there an image.
If the experience is novel, _the sensations are likely to be tinged
by feeling_; there is a trace of anxiety, of apprehension. Analysis
reveals nothing more.

We have, then, in expectation a _directed_ experience; the perception
of the flaming string acts as a suggestion, turning the observer’s
mental processes into a single channel. The kinæsthetic and organic
sensations derive in part from the bodily attitude of _attention_:
tense muscles, inhibited breathing, adjustment of the organ of
sight. Yet the observer is not merely attentive; the suggestion, the
determination is there; and the sensations derive in part from that.
They are _contextual_ processes, and carry the meaning that ‘so-and-so
is going to happen.’ They are therefore precisely like the ‘sensations
of intended movement’ that characterise the motor reaction (p. 241);
we might even call them, following that analogy, ‘sensations of future
occurrence.’ All the same, they are, if we regard them as processes,
just kinæsthetic and organic sensations, held together in a certain
pattern by the perceptive suggestion; expectation shows nothing unique
or ultimate behind or beyond them.

In course of time, if the situation is repeated, the feeling of anxiety
fades away, and the experience becomes indifferent. With still
further repetition, the ‘sensations of future occurrence’ also drop
away; the suggestion from the flaming string then sets the organism,
automatically, for the coming event; and the set has no mental
correlates whatever.

A like procedure might be followed with vacillation, triviality, and
the rest; and the outcome, in the author’s belief, would be the same.
It is less easy to attack the =intellectual attitudes=, those expressed
by _that_-clauses. Suppose, however, that you have to write two
letters: the one to an intimate friend, dealing with your home-life and
things that have happened in your immediate circle, and the other to a
business correspondent, regarding some contract that must be drawn up
in precise terms. Do you not sit down to write with _a felt difference
of bodily attitude_, almost as if in the two cases you were a different
organism? There are different visceral pressures, differences of
tonicity in the muscles of back and legs, differences in the sensed
play of facial expression, differences in the movements of arm and hand
in the intervals of setting pen to paper, rather obvious differences
in respiration, and marked differences of local or general involuntary
movement,—all of them deriving from the different suggestions or
determinations which prompt the letters. Here, then, are two _thats_:
‘I was sure _that_ he would be interested in any gossip,’ and ‘I knew
very well _that_ I had to write carefully’; and the processes that
carry these meanings seem, again, to reduce to a certain pattern of
kinæsthetic and organic sensations, tinged very likely by feeling.
_When observation reveals such a wealth of sensory processes, it
seems unnecessary to assume a new mental element for the intellectual

We saw on p. 4 that the concern of science is with facts. But just
because facts are the staple of science, it is well that we should be
a little jealous about them, that we should scrutinise every alleged
fact as severely as our methods allow, and criticise it in the light
of every possible theory. That is the present condition of the mental
attitude; experiments are being made, and arguments brought forward,
for and against its novelty and uniqueness; and the struggle must be
carried through to the bitter end; for only in that way can the truth
come stably to light. Meantime, those who are in the fight must of
necessity take a side; the onlooker, as we have said, is well advised
to await the issue.

§ 65. =The Pattern of Thought.=—There is a broad general _resemblance
between the pattern of thought and that of constructive imagination_;
it has indeed been said, though with exaggeration, that thought is
an imagining in words, and imagination a thinking in images. The
thinker, like the artist, sets out with a plan or design, and aims at
a goal; and thought, like imagination, is a more or less steady flow,
in a single direction, from the fountain-head of nervous disposition.
‘Happy thoughts’ occur in thinking, as they occur in imagination; there
is a like movement between the poles of feeling; and the empathic
experiences of the artist are paralleled by the mental attitudes of the
thinker. In all these respects, the pattern of thought repeats what has
been said on pp. 198 ff. of the pattern of constructive imagination.

_Thought, however, has its distinctive features_; for it is subject to
two of the great directive tendencies that we mentioned on p. 205: the
tendency to objectify, to find ‘real things’ in the world about us, and
the tendency to dual division. The =tendency to objectify= underlies
perception as well as thought; the earliest ‘real things’ were, we must
suppose, external and material things; but with the growth of ideas
the tendency bears also upon the things of mind, upon concepts and
abstract ideas; these are taken _as_ real in every case of thinking.
The =tendency to dual division= is characteristic of thought; thinking
is essentially divisive, even if the goal of thought is constructive.
Here, then, is the main difference between thought and constructive
imagination: that imagination proceeds to the exhibition of a single
something, a statue or a picture or a poem; whereas thought proceeds to
the exhibition of two somethings in relation, and ends with what the
logicians call a =judgement=.

The tendency to dual division is so natural to us, and is impressed so
deeply in our nervous make-up, that we can hardly hope to go behind it.
We can hardly even describe a situation which calls for thought without
presupposing the very tendency which is characteristic of thought. For
what are the situations? They are _situations which ask a question_;
and we cannot ask a question without putting it in the form of a
judgement. Primitive man, wandering from place to place, comes back
to a scene that he knew under other circumstances; the tree which was
leafy is now bare, the river-bed which was full of water is now dry.
If there is no feeling of familiarity, and therefore no recognition,
the situation may still _ask_ him: ‘Same?’ and his reply ‘Same scene;
different features’ is the reply of thought. He has tried to understand
things; his secondary attention has played upon the scene perceived and
the scene remembered; he has in the upshot divided the permanent from
the changing, the ‘thing’ from the ‘properties’ of the thing; he has
reached a conclusion, or formed a judgement.

_All thought is of this kind, an answer to a question._ Let us take the
case of a scientific problem. Suppose that flints, which bear the marks
of human workmanship, are found in a Pliocene bed, which has apparently
remained undisturbed. The geologist is called upon to decide whether
the deposit really has been undisturbed, so that the ‘find’ is reliable
evidence of the existence of man in Tertiary times. The situation asks
him a number of questions: has the bed been misplaced by faulting? can
the materials have been brought to their present position by water?
are there any signs that Quaternary man used the place? are the flints
associated with bones of Tertiary animals? and so on and so forth.
He forms a whole series of judgements; feature after feature of the
situation is attended to, and every one in its turn is supplemented by
ideas derived from previous knowledge; there is the familiar conflict
of secondary attention, repeated over and over. Every judgement
affirms or denies some property of the situation, in accordance with
the original problem; and the outcome of the series of judgements, of
the whole train of thought, is a final judgement,—still, of course,
under the determination of the problem,—‘this bed has (or has not)
been disturbed’. If the flints themselves are only doubtfully of human
workmanship, then the situation is doubly complicated; the questions
and the partial judgements are more numerous; but the general pattern
of thought is the same.

The tendency to dual division shows itself, then, in the form of the
judgement, in the opposition of ‘subject’ to ‘predicate’; it shows
itself further in the grammatical distinctions of substantive and
adjective, verb and object, verb and adverb. And _all thought or
reasoning seems to reduce, in the last resort, to a succession of
judgements which, under the particular suggestion or determination,
exhausts the possibilities of dual division_. The duality, however,
is not always obvious at first glance. Ideas are involved; and the
arousal of a particular idea may mean the excitement of a whole nest
of associative tendencies; subject or predicate or both may thus be
supplemented in manifold wise; and the train of thought may appear
to be variously and irregularly divided. Only a careful observation
will show that these supplementary processes derive, not directly from
the suggestive situation, but rather from the secondary excitement
of associative tendencies. Moreover, the judgements themselves are
not always explicit; they may occur in nutshell form, as mental
attitudes. _The tendency to dual division is thus masked in two ways:
by incidental associations, and by attitudes._ It seems, nevertheless,
to underlie the whole structure of thought.

We are still in the dark as to psychological details. We have evidence
that there is no psychological difference between an affirmative and
a negative judgement; but we do not even know whether the judgement,
affirmative and negative, implies a specific mental pattern of its own,
as the idea implies the pattern of core and context, or whether it may
express a variety of patterns. On the whole, the latter alternative
seems the more probable; _if there is any stable characteristic of
the judgement, it is not a definite pattern or arrangement of mental
processes, but rather a definite mental attitude_, the ‘feeling of
validity’; and this attitude seems to be allied to the feeling of
familiarity in recognition, and so to be remotely akin to the emotion
of relief. As far as our evidence goes, it appears to accompany every
true judgement, that is to say, every judgement which is formed in
the state of secondary attention. A ‘feeling of relation’ need not
accompany the final judgement, but is likely to crop up here and there
in the course of a train of thought, assuring us that certain things go
together, belong to the same ‘circle’ of ideas, and that certain other
things are contradictory, and cannot go together. These =relational
feelings or attitudes= are contextual affairs, deriving probably from
the kinæsthesis of bodily attitude; they are, however, very difficult
to analyse, and their precise psychological nature is still in dispute.

In conclusion, let us revert for a moment to the comparison of thought
with constructive imagination. We have said that the two are broadly
similar; and we may now add that judgements occur in imagination, and
fetches of imagination in a train of thought. The differences are,
nevertheless, great enough to justify the popular distinction of the
two mental modes; for _thought advances by repeated dissections of a
situation which is taken as real, while imagination realises in the
work of art a situation which at first was vague or fragmentary_.

§ 66. =Abstraction and Generalisation.=—We have spoken of the abstract
or general idea, as if the two adjectives were interchangeable; and
_abstraction and generalisation are, in fact, only two phases of the
same procedure_. When we abstract, we pick out the features of a
situation that are relevant to our present determination, and neglect
the other features. When we generalise, we bring to light resemblances
that have been merged with differences; but this statement implies that
we neglect the differences, as irrelevant, and pick out the likenesses,
as relevant; generalisation is thus only a special case of abstraction.
We have seen that every suggestion is double-faced, positive as well
as negative; and we may perhaps say that in thinking of abstraction we
emphasise the negative face, the discarding of the irrelevant, while in
thinking of generalisation we emphasise the positive face, the bringing
together of the similars which are relevant.

Experiments upon =abstraction= may be made in the manner outlined
on p. 250: a complex stimulus (say, a visual stimulus that shows
differences of colour, of number, of arrangement) is exhibited for
a brief time; the observer is asked to attend to some one aspect of
it (say, colour); and then, his report given, is asked to state what
he can of the other aspects (number and form). Two general results
may be mentioned. It is found, as might perhaps have been expected,
that _things which make the least appeal to attention are also the
things most easily overlooked_. Colour and form, for instance, are
more attractive than number; and when the observer is told to attend
to colour or form, number may go entirely unnoticed; whereas, when
he is told to attend to number,—a relatively difficult task,—he
is still able to say something of colour and form. The result seems
only natural; but you may not see at once that it throws scientific
light on a matter of some practical importance. We all know from sad
experience that when thought, our own or another’s, flows smoothly and
easily, it is likely to be superficial; the very smoothness of the
flow means that difficulties have been overlooked. The obverse of this
fact is, now, that if we struggle with the knotty points of a subject,
we get a grip upon the whole; the interesting and attractive things
take care of themselves; their native appeal to the attention keeps
them in mind. So the experiments upon abstraction point a moral, at
the same time that they illustrate the nervous mechanism of thought
itself. They show, secondly, that _the negative effect of abstraction
varies in degree_; the aspects of stimulus from which we abstract may
be wholly suppressed, so that no report at all can be made of them, or
may be apprehended indefinitely, so that the report is general; thus,
form may be correctly named, while the colours are reported merely as
‘different,’ or as ‘dark.’ Another significant result! for it means
that _a concept is more easily touched off than a special name_; we
may fail to identify colours as red or blue when we can still say that
they are dark or different. The reason is that the concept, the general
name, is applied far oftener than the special name; its associative
tendencies are therefore both deeper seated and more numerous. We
have a parallel case in the image of p. 266, which slowly loses its
distinctive features and approaches a type; and we have others in the
gradual decay of memory with old age: a grandfather may forget the
names of his grandchildren, but he does not forget that they are ‘boys’
and ‘girls.’


Experiments upon =generalisation=, that is, upon the positive
abstraction of similars, have been made by the aid of meaningless
forms, grouped as in the figure. The groups were of varying complexity,
but always contained one common element; and the instruction given
to the observer was that he should await the stimulus with as even
as possible a distribution of attention, and then, when the figures
appeared, should pick out the two that were alike. No less than six
modes of procedure were distinguished. The observer might work actively
through the forms, one by one; this is a laborious method, and was
employed for the most part only in the early experiments of the series.
Or he might travel over the groups, back and forth, until some figure
struck him as familiar; this is the method of simple recognition.
Or again he might start out on his journey of exploration, and find
himself suddenly arrested by an insistent form, some figure that stood
out more clearly than its fellows. Here are mixed methods, part active
search and part passive impression. In other cases, the two forms stood
out in quick succession, as if the one had drawn the other after it; in
still other cases, the two similars stood out simultaneously, sprang
forth as if of their own accord. Lastly, in rare instances, passivity
reached its maximum; the observer looked at the field, was at once held
by some outstanding form, and knew that this was the form required,
although he had not remarked the presence of its pair.

We cannot enter further into details; nor, indeed, is the time ripe
for discussion; the experimental study of thought-procedures has
hardly more than begun. You see, however, that _the pattern of thought
may vary widely in certain of its features, while yet the outcome of
thought, the abstraction or generalisation, is the same_; and this
conclusion may help you to understand why there need be no specific
mental pattern for the judgement.

§ 67. =Comparison and Discrimination.=—One of the commonest
occurrences in a train of thought is the comparison of present with
past, the harking back to a former stage of the procedure in order to
make sure that we have not missed or mistaken some item of experience;
and one of the commonest tasks set in the psychological laboratory
reduces this comparison to its lowest terms. Two stimuli are presented,
in succession; and the observer is required to say whether the
intensity or quality of the corresponding sensations, the duration of
the intervals, the magnitude of the forms, or whatever it may be, is
the same or different. Both the stimuli themselves and the time which
separates them may be varied in all sorts of ways; and the mental
processes involved in the comparison vary accordingly. Here we shall
mention only two points, which bear upon the course of thought at large.

It is a tradition in psychology that the comparison of present with
past experience implies the arousal of an _image_; we revive or
reproduce the old, and then set its mental picture alongside the new.
We have met a like tradition before, in our account of recognition and
of expectation (pp. 184, 273). Nothing, however, can be more certain
than that _the image is unnecessary; comparison may be direct, the
immediate outcome of a determination; and if it is indirect, the
processes involved need not be images_. Suppose, for instance, that
you are comparing two tones, sounded in succession, and that you are
to report upon their pitch; you are to say whether the second tone is
higher or lower than the first, or of the same pitch. In very many
cases, the second tone will evoke, at once and automatically, the
report ‘higher,’ ‘lower,’ or ‘same’; you find yourself uttering the
word, without further experience of any kind; the whole procedure
closes in on itself, very much as the impulse does in the motor
reaction (p. 241). In many cases, again, the comparison will be
indirect, but the intervening processes are sensations; strains appear
in chest or throat, in forehead or scalp; the observers report a
‘tightening’ which means ‘higher,’ and a ‘relaxing’ or ‘slackening’
which means that the second tone is lower. We may suppose that these
kinæsthetic processes are empathic; for in playing or singing or
listening to music we are likely to strain and hold the breath for
high-pitched passages, and to relax and settle down for the low.
Lastly, some imaginal complex may intervene; but even so it need not
be auditory; the observer may picture a printed score or the piano
keyboard, or may feel himself striking a note which is a semitone above
or below another. _The auditory image plays a part in the comparison_
only when the experiment is novel, when the second tone fails to touch
off a response, or when there is a conflict of impulses to report;
in other words, _only when the observer is hesitant and uncertain_;
otherwise, it either fails to appear, or appears and is disregarded.

That is the first point: the second is that _comparison is often
complete_—paradoxical as the statement may appear—_before the second
of the paired stimuli has been presented_; we are ready with our
answer before the full question has been put. If, for instance, we are
comparing the intensities of successive tones, and if the first tone
strikes us as unusually loud, or as ridiculously faint, then we are
prepared to declare the second tone ‘weaker’ or ‘stronger’ before we
have actually heard it. We receive from the first tone an _absolute
impression_ of loudness or faintness; and this impression—which,
as we saw on p. 125, is our nearest approach to an intensive
perception—suffices of itself to determine our report. Logically, we
may be said to ‘compare’ the very loud or very faint tone with a tone
of average intensity; psychologically, there is no comparison at all,
but _a direct response to the absolute impression_ made by the first
term of the stimulus-pair.

It need hardly be said that these paragraphs do not offer, even
in outline sketch, a psychology of comparison; they are not meant
to; for here again the time is not ripe for full discussion. They
should be enough, however, to drive home the lesson which the author
intends: that _the course of thought, whether we take the pattern as
a whole or consider separate aspects of it, is full of short cuts and
condensations_. It is probably as impossible to unravel the psychology
of thought, in every detail and to its first beginnings, as it is to
unravel the psychology of perception. For our thinking is subject, not
only to the inherited tendencies of the nervous system, but also to
the stereotyped thought of our social surroundings; we are bred up in
an atmosphere of meaning, and we hear words before we can speak them.
If men do not use language, as Voltaire cynically said they do, to
conceal their own thoughts, at least their facility of speech makes the
psychology of thought almost insuperably difficult to their children.

Questions and Exercises

(1) We found, in the last chapter, that selective action does not
follow directly upon impulsive action, but that there is between the
two a stage of ‘trial and error.’ Can you instance any form of thought
(from your own experience, or from drama or fiction) which corresponds
with the stage of trial and error in action?

(2) Can you suggest the circumstances under which an ‘intention to
communicate’ might naturally arise? Your answer must be speculative;
but it must also be scientifically reasonable!

(3) How is articulate speech superior to gesture? Write fully; do not
be satisfied with your first answer.

(4) Illustrate in detail, from your answers to previous questions in
this book, the advantages and disadvantages of language as the vehicle
of scientific description.

(5) In this chapter we have seen that speech replaces gesture; in
§ 51, we spoke of the conservatism of gesture, and said that the
speech-metaphor might lapse while the gesture persisted. Is there any

(6) It is said that the letters of the alphabet were originally
hieroglyphics, that is, pictures of actual objects in the external
world, and that they have only by very slow degrees become
sound-symbols. Suppose this to be true: can you outline the course of
change, in psychological terms?

(7) Try, as occasion offers, to analyse (_a_) the mental attitude of
questioning, and (_b_) the feeling of validity; keep your notes by you,
and try again and again. Compare your own results with those obtained
by your fellow-students.

(8) James writes that “we ought to say a feeling of _and_, a feeling
of _if_, a feeling of _but_, and a feeling of _by_, quite as readily
as we say a feeling of _blue_ or a feeling of _cold_” (Principles of
Psychology, i., 1890, 245 f.): that is to say, we ought to speak of
‘sensations of relation,’ just as we speak of ‘sensations of sight.’
Do you agree? Answer the question, first, in general terms, from the
point of view of a scientific psychology; and again in the concrete,
after you have observed the mental processes that come with an emphatic
_but_ or _if_.

(9) An examiner sets questions which shall test his students’
knowledge; he also sets questions in order to discover whether they
have thought for themselves. How can he tell?

(10) How is it that one can carry a complicated sentence to a smooth
grammatical conclusion, without knowing beforehand what words and what
form of sentence one is going to employ?

(11) Arrange an experiment on comparison with simultaneously presented
stimuli; an experiment, for instance, on the discrimination of hues or
of lengths of lines. Outline a psychology of this mode of comparison.
Is the comparison always direct? Is there any evidence of absolute

(12) On p. 259 you were asked to distinguish various types of decision;
and some of them, as you no doubt found, were _not_ decisions in the
proper psychological sense. Can you, in the same way, distinguish
types of conclusion, and show that some of them (even after secondary
attention has been at work) are not, in the proper psychological sense,


W. James, Principles of Psychology, i., 1890, chs. ix., xii., xiii.;
ii., ch. xxii.; W. Wundt, Lectures on Human and Animal Psychology,
1896, Lects. xxi., xxiv.; Outlines of Psychology, 1907, § 17; T. Ribot,
The Evolution of General Ideas, 1899; W. B. Pillsbury, The Psychology
of Reasoning, 1910; E. B. Titchener, Experimental Psychology of the
Thought-processes, 1909; Text-book of Psychology, 1910, 505 ff.; J.
Ward, art. Psychology, in Encyclopædia Britannica, xxii., 1911, 589 ff.

Special references are: G. Berkeley, A Treatise concerning the
Principles of Human Knowledge, 1710, Introd. (A. C. Fraser, Selections
from Berkeley, 1884, 16, 18, 22); T. H. Huxley, Hume, 1881, 96 f.; E.
B. Tylor, Anthropology, 1881, chs. iv., v.



 Assis sur un banc de Mail, M. l’abbé Lantaigne, supérieur du grand
 séminaire, et M. Bergeret, maître de conférences à la Faculté des
 lettres, conversaient, selon leur coutume d’été. Ils étaient sur
 toutes choses d’un sentiment contraire; jamais deux hommes ne
 furent plus différents d’esprit et de caractère. Mais seuls dans la
 ville ils s’intéressaient aux idées générales. Cette sympathie les
 réunissait.—ANATOLE FRANCE

§ 68. =The Nature of Sentiment.=—In ordinary speech, the word
‘sentiment,’ like the word ‘feeling,’ is used in many different senses;
and, unlike ‘feeling,’ it has not settled down to a single meaning
within psychology. We must therefore define it arbitrarily; and we
shall reserve it, in this book, to denote _the feeling-complex which
gathers about a judgement or an imaginative construction_. In emotion,
we are brought face to face with an incident or situation which
overwhelms us, takes possession of us; the emotion arises in the state
of primary attention. A very strong and complex feeling is formed,
and is rendered still stronger and still more complex by the organic
sensations that come with our bodily attitude towards the situation (p.
216). In =sentiment=, we are also brought face to face with an incident
or situation; but this is of a kind that demands secondary attention,
effortful and divisive attention, now to one phase or feature and
now to another. We take possession of it, so to speak, in place of
its taking possession of us. Otherwise, the sentiment resembles the
emotion; a complex feeling is formed, and is reinforced by organic
sensations; the bodily expression of sentiment is of the same kind as
that of emotion. Suppose, for instance, that we sit down to a book by
a new author. If we are actively and not passively interested; if we
read critically, in the light of previous study and present knowledge;
if we judge as we read; then our _felt realisation_ of the aptness,
fitness, rightness of the author’s style is a sentiment. Or suppose
that we are looking at a painting by a great master. If we can see how
form and colour flowed straight out of the brush; if we can appreciate
this fluency as the reward of toil upon toil, essay after essay; if
our own critical vision can seize the painter’s idea, and note the
individuality with which that idea was conceived and is now expressed;
then our _felt realisation_ of the beauty of the painting is, again,
a sentiment. These are examples offered from the standpoint of the
critic; and such examples come naturally to mind, since criticism is
both commoner and more articulate than creative art; but it need hardly
be said that the artist too, as his construction proceeds, will have
the same sort of experience, and probably in more intensive form.

_The sentiment thus stands upon a higher level of mental development
than the emotion_; there is no other difference. And it follows from
what we have said of thought (p. 262) that _the sentiment is a rare
experience_. Just as there are many apparent judgements that are not
really thought at all, so there are many apparent sentiments that are
based upon borrowed judgements, and have never been anything more than
feeling-attitudes, more or less explicit; and just as secondary lapses
into derived primary attention, so will a true sentiment lapse, with
time and repetition, into a feeling-attitude. Hence, in describing and
identifying the sentiments, we must be constantly on guard against
confusing them with attitudes based on ready-made judgements, and with
attitudes based upon what were once true judgements but are now matters
of habitual acceptance. Our ‘sentiment’ of honour, for example, may
never have cost us a moment’s attention. A definition of honour has
come to us, by tradition and precept, and we have accepted it without
thought; situations which involve honour take possession of us, as
emotive situations do, and we reply by the feeling-attitude. Or again,
our ‘sentiment’ of beauty in pictorial art may once have been a real
sentiment; we may have laboriously studied art-canons, have studiously
dissected art-forms by secondary attention, have steeped ourselves
in appreciation and criticism. Now, after all this labour, we have
nothing but an attitude to a new picture; we ‘instinctively’ approve
or disapprove of a work of art, without making any positive effort
to analyse it. To talk, in these cases, about a moral or an æsthetic
sentiment would be psychologically wrong; we experience simply two

If, then, psychology were concerned simply with the part played
in the mental life by the sentiments proper, the subject might be
dismissed in a few words; the sentiments would figure in a text-book
of psychology very much as the ‘rare earths’ figure in an elementary
chemistry. We cannot thus dismiss them, and for two reasons. In the
first place, _the experience of a true sentiment_, in any one of the
great departments in which sentiments may appear,—we shall mention
them presently,—_leaves behind it a remarkably varied train of
feeling-attitudes_; and these attitudes are thenceforward a permanent
possession; we give illustrations in § 69. Secondly, _the experience of
a sentiment, and the possession of the consequent variety of attitudes,
enable one empathically to realise the attitudes and responses
of those who, in other departments, have reached the same mental
level_. Not only is there a ‘freemasonry among artists’; there is a
freemasonry among all men and women who have at any time really judged
or constructed; so that the radical reformer and the conservative
reactionary, the austere moralist and the disciple of art for art’s
sake, feel at home with each other, can get to close quarters with each
other; their ideas and beliefs may differ as the east differs from the
west, but—if they have honestly wrestled with their problem—there
is a felt psychological community between them. The great writer who
goes by the name of Anatole France has brought out this truth, in
his own ironical way, in the quotation which heads the chapter. So
that individually and socially the sentiments demand consideration;
the attitudes which derive from them enrich and diversify individual
experience, and establish a social bond of empathic understanding among
those who would else be psychological strangers.

§ 69. =The Variety of Feeling-Attitude.=—Let us take an elementary
example of the variety of attitudes which follows in the wake of a
sentiment. The sentiment which we select is one of those most widely
attained: the _sentiment of fitness of literary style_. If, now, you
read Lafcadio Hearn’s _Japan_,—as who has not?—you cannot fail to
notice the differences of paragraphing. There are paragraphs which
follow one another in the ordinary way, without break. There are
paragraphs separated by a blank space, the width of a line of print.
There are paragraphs that begin with a dash. There are paragraphs
separated by a line or triangle of asterisks. There are paragraphs
which end with a series of periods. And these modes of connective
separation, as we may be allowed to call them, are themselves variously

Hearn has tried by such rather clumsy means to arouse in his reader
the specific feeling-attitude in which he wrote. He tries to do the
same thing, on a more minute scale, by his system of punctuation;
and the net outward result is an unpleasant spottiness of page. Let
us, however, keep to the internal; and let us consider only the
paragraphing. If you pause to think of it, the paragraph-feeling itself
is a somewhat subtle thing; a properly rounded paragraph gives you a
feeling of temporary completeness, while yet it invites you to look
ahead, leaves you in a certain suspense; a poorly finished paragraph
gives you the same feeling of disappointment, of being ‘taken in,’ that
you get from a weak ending to a stanza, or from a musical progression
that fails to hold its tone-colour. The paragraph that is set off from
what follows by a blank line rouses a feeling of greater completeness;
you are to stop and take breath, to let your thought play backward a
little before you go on; still you are to look forward. The paragraph
that begins with a dash opens up the subject from a new angle; you are
to hold what you have read, but you are now to see it in a fresh light;
the feeling is that of a pleasurable curiosity, with the prospect of
reference forth and back. The paragraphs with asterisks between them
are like different roads of survey in a country that you are touring;
each one is complete in itself, but you are to remember them all for a
future synthesis; at the moment you have a sense of relief, but this
is mixed with a somewhat exciting responsibility; the author expects
you to be ready for him when he comes to summarising. Lastly, the train
of periods means a trail of feeling; the device, which is far more
freely used by French than by English writers, invites you to let your
thought play ahead a little, in the context of the feeling aroused by
the paragraph, before you go on. Take the description of the local
Shint[=o] festival: “By immemorial custom the upper stories of all the
dwellings had been tightly closed: woe to the Peeping Tom who should
be detected, on such a day, in the impious act of _looking down upon
the god_!...” Elementary enough, in all conscience; and needlessly
emphasised by the italics; and yet tremendously effective; one’s ideas
trail off, in a context of feeling, from the seacoast village of Japan
to the inland English town, from outraged godhead to the desecration of
humanity; not sentimentally, or one has missed the writer’s intention,
but in a continuous train of attitudes which derive from literary
sentiment. It is a pity, psychologically, that ‘sentimental’ is the
adjective of ‘sentimentality’; for sentimentality is at the opposite
pole to sentiment, as sentiment is here used; but we cannot help the
twists of language.

No doubt, a greater artist than Hearn would have printed his pages in
the conventional way, and would still have made his appeal, without
signposts, to the expert reader. Yet we may be grateful to him for a
psychological object-lesson; he has given outward expression to a set
of attitudes that we should otherwise have been obliged to seek and
identify for ourselves. All the same, the attitudes would have been
there, as certainly and definitely as if they had been indicated; and
we could have found them, if we had ever experienced the sentiment
of literary fitness. You see what enrichment of the life of feeling
such a sentiment breeds, and you see how helpless we should be without
it. The proverbs say _de gustibus non est disputandum_, and _quot
homines tot sententiæ_, as if taste and opinion were matters of the
merest chance. They are never that, however far they may lie below the
level of sentiment and judgement; for there are solid uniformities
of sense-feeling, and there is in every society a basal community of
ideas; while, upon the higher level, they are as sure and as uniform as
individual differences of talent and temperament allow. They are far
more sure and far more uniform than the outsider imagines; technical
discussion and technical appreciation have always a reasoned foundation
of agreement. Competent critics may debate whether Whistler’s picture
of his Mother or that of Miss Alexander is the greater portrait; but
think how much must be agreed upon before the debate can begin!

§ 70. =The Forms of Sentiment.=—Emotions go in pairs; an emotion is
either joy or sorrow, either hope or fear; there is no midway emotion
that is something between the two, but is neither the one nor the
other. The sense-feelings, too, go in pairs; a feeling is either
exciting or subduing, for instance, and cannot be anything between.
When, however, the situation that arouses feeling is met by us in the
state of secondary attention, then there is a third possibility; and
_the sentiments, in fact, run in threes_. Here is a theory: is it true
or false? If we judge it true, we have the sentiment of _belief_; if
we judge it false, the sentiment of _disbelief_. But we need not come
to a final judgement; facts _a_, _b_, _c_, we will suppose, tell for
the theory, and facts _x_, _y_, _z_ tell against it; we oscillate,
uncertainly, between the two predicates ‘true’ and ‘false’; and the
result is the suspensive sentiment of _doubt_. Language is an unsafe
guide in these matters; partly because the same term may stand both
for sentiment and for feeling-attitude, but partly also because the
sentiments, being less common than emotions, have not always received
specific names. In principle, nevertheless, there is in every case a
third sentiment, corresponding with oscillation of judgement, between
the two extremes.

The three just mentioned, belief-doubt-disbelief, belong to the class
of =intellectual= sentiments. An attempt has been made to examine them
under experimental conditions; with the result that they prove to be
of rare occurrence; that they are characterised in different minds—as
might perhaps be expected, from the complexity of the situation—by
different complexes, by the kinæsthesis of bodily attitude, by
internal speech, by the interplay of visual imagery; and that they
are ordinarily replaced by the feeling-attitudes of certainty and
uncertainty. The mental patterns of belief and disbelief turn out to
be the same; and this result is psychologically reasonable; for the
positive and negative of the terms are logical, an affair of meaning;
so far as experience goes, disbelief is as positive as belief. Hence it
is natural that both of them should be represented in feeling-attitude
by the same ‘certainty,’ Another group of intellectual sentiments, less
often named, but familiar to everyone who has set to work seriously to
master a new writer or a new subject, consists of _agreement, obscurity
and contradiction_. These have not, to the author’s knowledge,
been subjected to analysis; indeed, the present paragraphs can do
little more than catalogue a few of the more obvious sentiments; the
experiences are difficult to induce, and their detailed study is yet to

In the sphere of the =moral= or =social= sentiments, we have such
opposites as trust-distrust, honour-dishonour, justice-injustice. There
is always a suspensive sentiment, corresponding with oscillation of
judgement, though its name can be made only approximative; we may,
perhaps, speak of trust-trial-distrust, honour-ambiguity-dishonour,
justice-equivocalness-injustice; think yourself into concrete
situations, and you will get the meaning of the terms! Social
situations are, however, of great practical importance; and we
usually meet them, not by a sentiment, but by some emotion based upon
instinctive tendencies; vanity, shame, pride, sympathy are emotions of
this sort. The same thing holds of =religious= situations. Triads like
faith-perplexity-denial, communion-insecurity-estrangement point to the
state of secondary attention; but in general the religious situation
sets up an emotion.

We come, lastly, to the =æsthetic= sentiments. These are confused,
by the majority of civilised mankind, with the emotions aroused by
the _subject_ of the work of art; whereas this subject is really of
very minor importance; of no importance at all, if it is dictated
by tradition and environment; and of secondary importance, only as
it is chosen by the artist, from a number of possible subjects,
because it allows the expression of personality or offers a test of
difficulties overcome. What do you suppose Michael Angelo was trying
to do when he painted the _Last Judgement_, or Titian when he painted
the _Entombment of Christ_? The æsthetic sentiments are, in reality,
those of success-bafflement-failure, ease-confusion-difficulty,
approbation-criticism-condemnation, and the like. When Ruskin said
“Everything that Velasquez does may be taken as absolutely right by
the student,” the unmeasured approbation expresses a true æsthetic
sentiment; Ruskin had _worked_ over Velasquez. When a recent writer on
art directs us, in Millet’s _Gleaners_, to “these forms bowed down by
labour, these coarse habiliments, these work-hardened hands,” he is
outside the sphere of æsthetics altogether, and his appeal lies—at the
best—to a social emotion.

_These groups of sentiments, the intellectual, the moral or social,
the religious and the æsthetic, are usually regarded as distinct and
different._ It is true that they are called forth by different kinds
of situation. We must remember, however, that _there are only two kinds
of mental pattern involved_: the thought-pattern and the pattern of
constructive imagination; and we have seen that these are themselves
broadly similar. It is not likely, therefore, that the sentiments, or
the feeling-attitudes that derive from them, differ in anything but
inessentials from group to group; M. Bergeret and M. l’abbé Lantaigne
felt in very much the same way. The variety of the feeling-attitudes
is, indeed, surprisingly large; the point here is that this variety is
essentially the same, whether one be sage or saint, artist or moralist.

§ 71. =The Situations and Their Appeal.=—If we wish to enquire into
the nature of _the situations which arouse a sentiment_, two courses
are open to us. We may undertake a study of origins; we may trace the
history of primitive science and primitive art, and so on; and we may
then try to generalise, both as regards the circumstances which called
forth the scientific or artistic response, and as regards the appeal
that such circumstances make to the human organism. Or we may turn our
attention to acknowledged masterpieces, and try in like manner to ‘get
behind’ them; trusting in this event rather to the typical than to the
general. Both courses have been followed, and followed assiduously; but
the outcome is still uncertain.

_The tendency has been to refer a group of sentiments to some single
root in human nature._ That is only natural; for it is always
satisfactory to simplify; and when once the investigator has hit
upon what he takes to be the primule or germ of later development,
he is prepared to accept whatever makes for his theory and to reject
whatever tells against it (p. 98). Yet we must remind ourselves that
man’s instinctive tendencies are not carried intact throughout his
history; man reasons, as we said (p. 210), on the basis of fragments
of instinctive tendency, disjoined from their original connections
and recombined to suit the occasion. _We may, for instance, refer the
intellectual sentiments to a native curiosity_ (p. 205); but what is
curiosity? A very mixed medley of instinctive responses: Professor
Thorndike includes under it “attention to novel objects and human
behaviour, cautious approach, reaching and grasping, the food-trying
reactions of putting in the mouth, tasting and biting, general
exploration with the eyes and manipulation with the hands,” as well as
“the love of sensory life for its own sake.” Again, _we may refer the
moral and social sentiments to a native sympathy or empathy_; but here,
also, we should find, in the concrete, a mixed medley of particular
responses. These references are, nevertheless, fairly satisfactory.
What shall we say of religion and art?

_There seems to be no original artistic tendency or art-instinct._
In primitive times, the body was decorated with a view to attracting
notice, and especially to attracting a mate. Then, by slow degrees,
decoration travelled from person to surroundings: first, from the
body to the clothes, and then again from clothes to house. But as the
primitive house is a rude structure, and its owner poor, not much
can be done by way of individual house-adornment; and so we find the
members of a tribe clubbing together, so to speak, to decorate the
common house, the temple. Æsthetics now enters into the service of

Again: as the tribes settled down to agricultural pursuits, man became
a labourer and learned to work; systematic and regular work grew to
be a necessity. But work means play; if we labour, we must also have
recreation. How, then, shall grown-up people play? They have lost
their interest in childish games. Æsthetics comes to the rescue; art
is the play, the proper recreation, of grown-up workers; we speak, and
speak rightly, of Shakespeare’s ‘plays’ and of ‘playing’ the violin.
Æsthetics has now lost its distinctively religious meaning, and has
been turned to secular purposes.

In no less than three ways, therefore, has æsthetics proved itself to
be of practical importance. It has been useful in courtship; it has
been useful as enhancing the impressiveness of religious ceremonies;
it is still eminently useful as the play of adults. _Curiosity and
empathy have both entered into it_; curiosity in the manipulation
of shells and feathers, of brush and cutting edge; empathy in the
affairs of courtship and worship. Further than this we can hardly go.
The psychological essence of tragedy, in Hamlet or Antigone, and the
psychological essence of comedy, in Dogberry and Verges, still escape
us; there are many theories, but no one of them is convincing.

It seems, also, that _there is no specific religious tendency or
instinct_. Religion has been ascribed to fear, to an instinct of
dependence, to an instinctive recognition of the infinite, and so on;
but modern writers agree that it cannot derive from a single source.
“Religion,” says Professor Leuba, “is rooted in instinctive impulses
and in instincts,—in fear, acquisitiveness, pugnacity, curiosity,
love, etc. But the relation that instinct bears to religion is no other
than that obtaining between instinct and commerce or any complex social
activity.” Religion, like art, has a strong practical sanction; the
worshipper expects to control the forces of nature, and to secure the
action of gods and spirits upon human minds and bodies; while religion
itself satisfies the desire for power and for social recognition,
quickens intelligence, and regulates and unifies the community. We
understand something of the growth of religious ideas, as we know
something of the development of art; but the contents of a religious
system, and the products of artistic construction, do not take us far
towards the explication of human tendencies.

In a word, then, the problem which we have here formulated is too
difficult for solution now or in the near future. We cannot ‘get
behind’ the masterpiece, the achievement of civilisation; the
conditions are too complex. We cannot draw any certain conclusion
from the study of origins; for primitive man, as we know him, is very
like ourselves, both in convention and in reasoning; Professor Boas
finds no evidence that “hereditary mental faculty has been improved by
civilisation”; the savage may be untutored, but he is as complicatedly
human as the best of us. We can say, negatively, that _neither the
situations which are met by sentiment nor the tendencies to which
these situations appeal are unique_; and that is, in itself, something
gained. No genuine problem is insoluble; and further work, partly
along the older lines and partly perhaps by new methods which bear
directly upon man’s instinctive tendencies, will some day answer the
questions raised in these paragraphs.

§ 72. =Mood, Passion, Temperament.=—With lapse of secondary
attention, the sentiments lapse, as we have seen, into
feeling-attitudes. It appears, from ordinary observation, that they
may also persist, in weakened form, as =moods=. Thus, the moods
acquiescence-indecision-incredulity correspond with the sentiments
belief-doubt-disbelief; and we speak of a critical humour, a religious
frame of mind, and so on. It is doubtful whether the sentiments rise
to the intensity of =passion=; we speak, it is true, of a passionate
humility, of a passion of disapprobation or of renunciation; but it is
probable that these experiences are emotive, singly and not multiply

A detailed classification of the =temperaments= would include forms
characterised by special susceptibility to sentiment and by type of
response, intellectual, artistic, and so forth. Meantime, the crude
fourfold arrangement of p. 227 seems to cover the cases: the ascetic
temperament, for instance, falls under the melancholic, the critical
under the phlegmatic, the ‘artistic’ of current speech under the
choleric or sanguine.

Questions and Exercises

(1) What do you mean by ‘style’? Do not write commonplace; think the
question out, and answer it in psychological terms.

(2) Have some argumentative passage read aloud to you. Notice how the
intellectual feeling-attitudes rise and disappear, as the argument
proceeds. Differentiate them, and try to give them names; mark the
sentences which call them forth; try to determine if their nature and
arousal correspond with the writer’s intention.

(3) What modes of feeling-response may be aroused by music? Illustrate,
if possible, by actual examples.

(4) Are there any movements that characteristically express certain
sentiments, as clenching the fist (for instance) expresses anger?

(5) Matthew Arnold defined poetry as “a criticism of life” (look up
the passage, in the Preface to Poems of Wordsworth, and be sure that
you understand it!). Does this definition suggest any further field of
usefulness for æsthetics? May æsthetics properly be extended to cover

(6) How does ‘curiosity’ differ from ‘inquisitiveness’?

(7) Can you recall any characters, in literature or fiction, who might
stand as embodiments of some social or religious sentiment?

(8) Two traditional explanations of the ludicrous are (_a_) the
theory of degradation: that when we laugh we are realising our own
superiority, and (_b_) the theory of incongruity: that the comic
situation always involves a nullifying of expectation. What criticisms
can you offer?

(9) What sort of temperament are we thinking of when we agree to call
Shakespeare, Cervantes, Goldsmith, Sterne, Lamb, Dickens and George
Eliot ‘humorists’?

(10) Aristotle lays it down that tragedy “accomplishes by pity and fear
the purgation of such emotions.” Can you read a positive and definite
meaning into this statement? Can you rephrase it, in terms of our
psychology of sentiment? Is it then adequate?

(11) How do we know that a greater artist than Hearn would have printed
his pages in the conventional way? What means has an author, who does
print in the conventional way, of emphasising the points at which he
wishes feeling-attitudes to arise?

(12) You should analyse some sentiments at first hand. Ask a friend
to write out a number of descriptions, statements, questions, that
have evoked in his own experience the sentiments (say) of belief and
doubt, or of honour and ambiguity. Let him arrange them in pairs:
belief-doubt, honour-ambiguity. Then take a pair, and read the two
statements in quick succession. You will be surprised to find how
matter-of-course and indifferent your attitude is; but presently some
member of a pair will grip you, start you thinking; and you will then
have the opportunity to observe. Write out (or better, dictate) a full


J. Sully, The Human Mind, ii., 1892, ch. xvi.; An Essay on Laughter,
1902, ch. v.; W. Wundt, Lectures on Human and Animal Psychology, 1896,
Lect. xxv., § 4; Ethics, i., 1897, ch. iii.; T. Ribot, The Psychology
of the Emotions, 1897, chs. vi. ff.; E. B. Titchener, Text-book of
Psychology, 1910, 500 ff.; E. L. Thorndike, The Original Nature of Man,
1913, 41, 102 f., 140 f.

Special References: F. Boas, The Mind of Primitive Man, 1911; J. H.
Leuba, A Psychological Study of Religion, 1912; L. Hearn, Japan, An
Attempt at Interpretation, 1904; A. C. Haddon, Evolution in Art, 1895;
G. Santayana, The Sense of Beauty, 1896; G. Moore, Modern Painting,



 The savage commonly fancies that the link between a name and the
 person denominated by it is a real and substantial bond. In fact,
 primitive man regards his name as a vital portion of himself, and
 takes care of it accordingly.—Sir JAMES FRAZER

§ 73. =The Concept of Self.=—We said on p. 9 that the word _mind_ is
used by the psychologist as an inclusive name for all the phenomena
of the psychological world, that is to say, of the world _with man
left in_. We then found, on p. 10, that the _man left in_ reduces to
a functional nervous system. This means, of course, that there are
as many psychological worlds as there are separate nervous systems;
so that _the_ psychological world, which the psychologist tries to
describe, is in reality an average or generalize world; though the
observations upon which his descriptions rest are always made upon this
or that particular world. The same thing holds of any science. A boy
picks up a bit of jagged stone, and with a jerk of his wrist flips it
across the road. No physicist could tell you the exact course described
by that stone, and no physicist wants to. Physics deals with the ideal
course of ideal projectiles hurled under fixed conditions; the boy
and the jerk and the jagged stone are all generalised away into some
mathematically smooth trajectory. The observations of physics, on
the other hand, are made by men working under conditions that are not
ideal, and using instruments that differ from the wrist and the stone
only in degree, not in kind; the smooth curve is derived from data all
of which have their margin of empirical error.

Psychology, however, just because it has to do with a world in which
man himself remains, is in a different case from the physical sciences;
it has to take account of the =self=. _The concept of self is not
solely psychological_; it is a common-sense concept; and like all
the constructions of common sense it has three sides, philosophical,
practical, and scientific. It is _philosophical_, in so far as
it involves an attempt to explain or to rationalise the facts of
observation; and it evidently does that; the notion of self is a way
of explaining the continuity of memory and of conduct; I remember my
past because I am I, and I behave in this way or that because it is
‘like me’ to do so. The concept is also _practical_; common sense
rates a self as gifted or energetic or lazy or improvident; it is
always valuing or estimating some Him or Her, some You or Me. It is
further _scientific_, that is, psychological; for the self thus rated
is some particular combination of talent, temperament and character,
and the continuity which the self explains is some particular mental
constitution, intellectual, emotive, active; one cannot at all
define the ‘person’ or ‘individual’ of common sense without using
psychological terms. So that psychology, if only in self-defence, must
have its say in the matter, and must recast the self from its own point
of view.

The recasting is not difficult. _A self, in the psychological sense,
is one of the particular psychological worlds._ It is not mind, but
_a_ mind, the mental phenomena correlated with a particular nervous
system, and arranged and determined in accordance with the tendencies
of that system. We have made no mention of it hitherto, in this book,
because our main business has been with general psychology, and we
have had no need of it. Psychology, however, does not confine itself
to the generalised world: and that is how it comes to be in different
case from the physical sciences, and takes account, not only in
self-defence, of the concept of self. If you go back to pp. 31 f., you
will note that there is a =differential psychology=, a psychology of
individual differences, as well as a general psychology. The variation
of mental processes from observer to observer, and the limits and
manner of this variation, are indeed just as much matter of observable
fact, and therefore just as proper a subject for scientific enquiry,
as their uniformity; and as the incidents of a man’s career may be
set forth objectively, without praise or blame, in a biography, so
may his psychological self, his mental processes in correlation with
his nervous system, be set forth in a =psychography=. We ourselves,
although we have been occupied with general psychology, and have
for the most part spoken of ‘practised observers’ as a physicist
might speak of ‘a sensitive galvanometer,’ without going into
particulars,—we ourselves have, nevertheless, found frequent occasion
to mention individual differences. The facts that we have thus touched
upon incidentally are worked up, systematically, by differential

The concept of self is, however, a common-sense concept; it has, as we
have seen, its practical side; and you will understand, therefore, that
_the differential study of selves has a high practical importance_.
Such a study is not rigorously or exclusively psychological. But
since certain ‘mental traits,’ and certain combinations of them, may
render a man fit or unfit for a proposed business or profession, it is
important to know in what degree these traits are present; and here
the psychologist is of assistance; he has helped to devise ‘mental
tests’ which serve to identify and measure them. It is also especially
important to know what traits are likely to be found together, and
in what degree. This problem has been vigorously attacked, of recent
years, on the side of intellect; and while the details belong to a
chapter in practical psychology (p. 33) which we cannot here open,
there is one result, at any rate, which should find a place in a
scientific text-book. There seems to be no doubt that _the individual
nervous system possesses, over and above its special habits,
susceptibilities, tendencies, and activities, a characteristic manner
of functioning at large_; so that a =common or general factor= enters
into all the special intellectual responses that are called forth by
particular situations. It is not easy to make this result clear to
the reader, mainly because no one has as yet a clear idea of what the
common or general factor is; we have good evidence that it exists, but
we can say very little more about it. Different names have been given
to it: ‘energy of attention,’ ‘general ability,’ ‘intellective energy,’
‘general intelligence’; but they indicate the way in which it manifests
itself, and not its own nature; the best name for the present is the
vague ‘general common factor.’ We do not know, either, upon what it
depends: on blood-supply, perhaps, or on the arrangement of nervous
structures, or on some individual ‘quality’ of the nervous elements,
or perhaps on something else that we cannot even guess at. What it
does is to hold a man’s intellectual traits together and to enter into
the exhibition of them all; _it is thus, from the psychological point
of view, a sort of supreme determining tendency, guiding all mental
processes whatsoever into the channels of intellectual selfhood_.
Whether there is a like general factor on the emotive side, and whether
‘emotive energy’ is of the same kind as this ‘intellective energy,’
cannot be said.

One further point! We have been careful, in dealing with the
common-sense concept of self, to distinguish its three aspects,
philosophical, practical, scientific; but _we have drawn the limits of
this self more strictly than everyday usage warrants_; and we must now
correct that error. Common sense, as we remarked on p. 2, is likely to
confuse the Me with the Mine, and the Him with the His; the self is
extended from personality to possessions. The confusion of Him and His
is a natural consequence of the practical reference of the concept;
the easiest way to rate or estimate another person is to consider his
property, his sphere of influence, his social prominence; and these
things, which are a part of the other person’s value, thus become for
us a part of himself. The confusion of Me with Mine has a different
origin. Intellect, temperament and character are based upon habits,
and habits imply an habitual surroundings; we are ‘not ourselves’ when
we leave our accustomed groove. No doubt, each of these sources of
confusion intermingles with the other; we are not concerned, however,
to follow them in detail.

§ 74. =The Persistence of the Self.=—A full account of the self
of common sense, in so far as this self calls for psychological
treatment, belongs to social and not to general psychology; and the
discussion therefore falls outside the scope of the present book. We
must, however, say a word about that _observed continuity of memory
and conduct_ which the concept of self, on its philosophical side,
professes to explain (p. 308); for the notion of the =persistence of
the self= has had a marked influence, as we shall see in § 75, upon
this chapter of general psychology.

_We are all of us disposed to take the persistence of the self for
granted._ Do I not now remember what I did and thought and felt when
I was a small child? and do I not now act in accordance with my
character, as family and friends expect me to act? Surely the thing is
obvious: the organism is physically continuous, from infancy to old
age; a likeness of interest, of skill, of aptitudes, may be traced from
childhood to manhood; and the discovery of the ‘general common factor’
in the intellectual sphere only confirms what we knew before. The child
becomes the adult, and the adult passes into senility, while the self
remains the same,—growing and developing and shrinking, to be sure,
but essentially unchanged throughout. _That is the natural view_; and
for the most part it goes unchallenged.

_Let us see, however, whether it may not be questioned._ We remember;
that is true; but we also forget. The fact that certain past events are
remembered tells more heavily, in common-sense thinking, than the fact
that very many past events are forgotten, simply because it is human
nature, as Bacon said, to give more weight to positive than to negative
instances; but science does not emphasize; science takes all the facts
at the same level. The organism, again, is physically continuous, and
‘the child is father of the man’; but who makes these observations?
Not I, who am the continuous organism, but—in the first instance, at
any rate—my fellow-men, those who are about me; and my fellow-men
clinch their observations by the bestowal upon me of a personal name.
In primitive thought, the superstitions that connect the name with
the personality are legion; and even to-day our own name is warmly
intimate, a very factor of our self. This name, which forms part of us
and holds us together all through life, comes nevertheless from the
outside; we do not name ourselves! Consider, further, the influence of
language in general. It is clear that language, as it developed forms
of speech in accordance with the common-sense notion of self, would
powerfully reinforce that notion; the words and phrases which at first
expressed ideas would come, in time, to shape or suggest ideas. The
common-sense view is thus accepted as natural; but there is no proof
that it is correct.

Suppose, then, that we openly challenge that view; _what can we urge
against it?_ We find, first of all, that _language_ bears witness
against itself. We say that a man is at times ‘out of himself,’ ‘not
himself,’ ‘beside himself’; we say that he forgets, surpasses, loses,
disregards, neglects, discredits, contradicts himself; we say that he
does himself injustice, that he cannot contain himself, and so forth.
Our _daily life_ bears witness to the same effect. A man may be suave
and affable in business and a veritable bear at home; and the man who
sits as judge upon the bench, and plays a beginner’s game upon the
golf-course, and carries his little son pick-a-back to bed, is he
the same self in all three situations? There are changes of selfhood
so abrupt that they remind us of the ‘mutations’ of the biologists:
religious conversion, loss of fortune, sudden elevation to a position
of responsibility, disappointment in love, may make ‘another man’ of
the man we knew. The seven ages, we might almost say, correspond with
as many different selves; it is a common remark that so-and-so has not
fulfilled the promise of his youth, and that so-and-so is no longer
the man he was. _Pathology_ brings corroboration of the most striking
kind; there are cases of =dual or multiple personality=, in which the
same ‘individual’ shows at different times very marked differences
of intelligence, emotivity and conduct, differences so marked that
the same organism appears as two or more distinct ‘selves’; and these
selves may be wholly separate in experience, so that one self has no
knowledge or memory of the experiences of another. Here, therefore,
the abnormal is a more trenchant and clean-cut figure of the normal;
it is the normal carried, so to say, to its logical extreme. The judge
delivering a charge does not think of his golf, and the irritated
golf-player does not think of his charge; but in the abnormal cases
the division may be complete; the one ‘personality’ _cannot_ think of
the other.

_If, then, there are facts which look toward the persistence and
continuity and stability of the self, there are also other facts which
look toward impermanence and discontinuity and instability._ Common
sense has laid stress upon the positive evidence, and has enshrined
in language the concept of a persistent and continuous self. This
one-sided attitude, as we are now to see, has had its effect upon
psychology. We have carried the present analysis only so far as was
necessary for our own purposes; the full psychological discussion of
the self of common sense belongs, as we said just now, to another
branch of the science.

§ 75. =The Self in Experience.=—So far, we have been discussing the
psychological self as viewed, so to say, from the outside; we have
found out what the word ‘self’ means when it is used as a technical
term like ‘mind’ or ‘memory.’ We have now to raise a different
question, and to ask: _How is_ =myself= _represented in experience?_
There are very many occasions when the organism is, literally, thrown
back on _itself_, when it meets a situation by a _self_-response; what
mental processes are then involved?

Self, in such cases, is a meaning; and, in principle, _any mental
process whatsoever may represent the self_ (or the phase or feature of
the self that is called forth by the situation) _if its context and
determination carry the meaning of selfhood_. We can hardly expect,
however, that the context and determination will be explicit, a group
of mental processes lying open to observation. For the meaning of
self is very old in human history; and we learn from early childhood
to speak a language in which it is already stereotyped, a language
which bristles with _I_ and _my_. We shall say more about language
later. Meantime, you see that these are just the circumstances in
which context and determination cease to be explicit, and reduce to
a set or disposition of the nervous system (p. 120). Hence we must
be satisfied to distinguish the _forms_ in which the self-experience
appears, and to discover what _particular mental processes_, if any,
fall characteristically into these self-forms. In other words, we
enquire whether the self-meaning attaches to a perception, or an idea,
or a feeling, and so on down the list; and we enquire also whether
the self-perception or self-idea, or whatever the form may be, is
characteristically visual or auditory or kinæsthetic, and so on. In
principle, remember, any form and any kind of process may represent the
self, provided that the self-context and the self-determination are
somehow there; we are now to gather observations, and to see what forms
and what processes do, in fact, represent the self in our experience.

Let us begin, however, by clearing out of the way certain =erroneous
views= that have appeared in psychology under the influence of common
sense. Since the self of common sense is persistent, it has been argued
that the self-experience must also be continuous; and psychologists,
instead of going to the facts, have tried to find a basis in experience
for this supposed continuity. _It is sometimes said, for instance,
that all mental processes alike are essentially self-processes_;
_because_ they are processes within a particular psychological
world, _because_ they belong to a self, _therefore_ they have the
character of selfness stamped upon them, and are known and experienced
as processes-of-me. Does that view seem to you to be natural and
reasonable? But consider the logic of it; try a parallel argument! We
might as well say that _because_ every native-born American belongs
to the group of American citizenship, _therefore_ he is always aware
that he is an American citizen; or that _because_ a certain man is
wealthy, _therefore_ he is always aware of his possessions. The fallacy
is plain. _It is sometimes said, again, that not all mental processes
alike, but only the feeling-processes_—sense-feelings, emotions,
sentiments, feeling-attitudes—_have this character of selfness
stamped upon them_; the feelings are ‘subjective’ experiences, and
therefore being with them a reference to the self. The confusion is
the same as that which we have just pointed out; it is argued that,
because all the feeling-processes _are_ subjective (we need not
enquire too curiously what that word means!), therefore they must
always _mean_ the great subjective thing, the self; because a man
_is_ wealthy, therefore his wealth must always _mean_ wealth to him;
whereas it may, in various circumstances, mean an oil-painting or a
steam-yacht. There is, however, another objection. This view maintains
that feeling-processes of some kind are always present in experience;
otherwise, indeed, they could not continuously refer to self; but
observation shows that much of our experience is indifferent, without
tinge of feeling. _It is sometimes said, once more, that the organic
sensations are the peculiar self-experiences_; they are always with
us, forming a constant background of self, upon which our other and
less stable experiences come and go. But it may be doubted whether
these sensations are continuous; at any rate, they vary enormously in
intensity and in their appeal to the attention. An experience of nausea
is overwhelming; but need there be, in perfect health, any sensation
whatever from heart-beat or breathing or digestion? Moreover, the logic
of the position is still unsound. For a continuous experience is not
necessarily the experience of something continuous; the fact that a
man is all the while wealthy does not imply that he is continually
realising his wealth.

Having thus cleared the ground of bad argument, we may turn to the
facts of observation. The question whether the self-experience is or
is not continuous we leave, for the moment, entirely open. We ask,
first: _In what form or forms does this self-experience occur?_ and
the answer is: In all possible forms. We may _perceive_ ourself, as
when we consult the glass to make sure that we look all right; we
may have an _idea_ of ourself, in memory or imagination; we may have
a _feeling_ of self, when we are lonely or vexed or ill at ease;
we may have a _concept_ of self, as when we say emphatically in
conversation ‘_I_ can’t conceive of so-and-so’; we may have all sorts
of _self-attitudes_, intellectual and emotive. Any form of mental
connection may appear under a determination, or in a context, that
gives it the meaning of self; only be clear that it is always the
determination or context, and not the form, which is recept; ponsible
for the selfness of the experience. We look in the glass, time and
again, without having a self-perception; and we are often lonely and
uncomfortable, without having a self-feeling; and we may say ‘I’ a
hundred times over, without having a self-concept. The setting is what
gives the self-meaning to the experience.

We ask, secondly: _Are there any particular mental processes that
enter characteristically into the self-forms?_ and here the answer is
less easy. We have seen that language has a large number of self-words
ready made for us to use; and we learn in our early years—sometimes
painfully enough—to connect the self with our body. So the perceived
self tends to be a visual perception of the body, or of some part of
it; the felt self tends to be a blend of feeling with kinæsthetic and
organic sensation (these processes are, indeed, regular components of
feelings and mental attitudes); while the conceived self is, of course,
a matter of verbal perception and idea,—ordinarily, that is, a matter
of auditory-kinæsthetic complexes. If, however, these processes are
characteristic, we have no evidence that they are essential; continued
observation would probably show that the self-meaning may attach to all
sorts of processes, as it is carried by all sorts of forms, so that
tones and touches, tastes and smells, may on occasion come to us as the
experienced Me.

On the whole, therefore, what holds in principle of the _form of the
self-experience_ holds also in observable fact; the experience may take
all possible forms; though, in a given mind, some forms may appear
more frequently than others. Within the different forms, on the other
hand, there seems to be a tendency toward the appearance of _particular
mental processes_, those concerned in the visual perception of the
body, in felt organic stir and in verbal perceptions and ideas. And
now, _what of continuity_?

Prejudice is strong; but you must be ready to discard it. _Experimental
and everyday observation both testify, when the question is directly
put, to the intermittence of the self-experience._ We are not always
aware of our self. The self-experience does not appear, for example,
when we are engaged in our ordinary routine employment. It does not
appear in concentrated thought; the views and theories which a popular
psychology regards as personal are, as a rule, quite selfless in their
forming and phrasing. It does not appear when we are absorbed in a
novel, or a play, or the hearing of music. It need not appear in many
of the situations that are designated by self-words. The very fact that
we can call it up at will, that we can ‘come to ourselves’ whenever we
like, indicates that it is not always present in our experience. _It is
the specific expression of a special determination_; and the frequency
of the determination varies, we must suppose, in different cases; some
of us are continually recurring to a self-experience, while others find
it a more casual visitor.

You should not accept this conclusion blindly; you may test it in
your own experience. Notice meanwhile that, if it is sound, it throws
further light upon the theories of pp. 316 ff. Mental processes are
not always experienced as self-processes, but all mental forms and
probably all mental processes may lie under the self-determination.
Feelings do not always bring a reference to self, but the self-meaning
is very often carried by a feeling. The organic sensations are not
always self-experiences, but a self-feeling may be largely composed of
organic processes. If we have dismissed the theories themselves, we
must still credit them with the measure of truth that they contain.

§ 76. =The Snares of Language.=—You were warned on p. 36 that
language may be misleading, and that the phrases which you naturally
use oftentimes imply a view of the world, or an attitude towards
experience, which is foreign to science. Nowhere, perhaps, is this
discrepancy greater than in the phrases which refer to the self.
Language, as we know, is older than science, and expresses the results
of common-sense interpretation rather than of factual observation.
_The self of language is, accordingly; not the psychological self,
but the counterpart of the mannikin-mind_ (p. 7); and just as we must
be on guard, and remember our psychological definition, whenever
in a psychological context we say or think the word ‘mind,’ so
must we be on guard against the common-sense notion of ‘self’ that
has insinuated itself into a thousand turns of familiar speech. An
observer, describing a particular experience, may say, quite naturally,
‘I find no trace of self-reference!’—and there is no harm done, if
we realise that the _I_ of his remark is the traditional self-concept
of language, and the _self_ the psychological experience of self; but
there may be very great harm, if likeness of words leads us to confound
the personal with the impersonal, common sense with science. Only
by an unreadable pedantry can we avoid the I-phrases and the other
personal sentences; but we must always bear in mind that _language,
the very form and structure of it, embodies a theory, an explanation
or interpretation of the self_; and that, if we reject this theory, we
have to couch our criticism in terms of the theory we reject.

There is another danger. Language has many words which begin with
_self_: self-possession, self-assurance, self-consciousness, and
the like; and the implication is that the corresponding mental
processes represent self-experiences, in the sense of p. 315. But
do they? Let us take _self-consciousness_ as an example. A young
lecturer stands for the first time upon the platform, and a kindly
soul in the audience may murmur: ‘Poor young man! he is dreadfully
self-conscious!’ Truly, the signs are there: parched throat, burning
cheeks, gasping breath, hoarse and broken voice, moist and trembling
hands, uncertainty of all coordinated movements; everything that
indicates what the audience, from their external standpoint (p. 313),
must regard as self-consciousness; and yet there may be nothing
whatever of self-reference in the lecturer’s own experience. He feels
timid, excited, heartily uncomfortable; but it is very unlikely that
he is thinking of himself; he has too many other things to think
of! Suppose that his lecture is a success, and that he steps from
the lecture-room in a mood of self-congratulation; he feels relief,
relaxation; he ‘glows’ with satisfaction and pride; but, again, there
need be no sort of self-reference in his experience. Yet, in writing
to a friend about the eventful lecture, he may very well say: ‘I felt
terribly self-conscious when I began, but afterwards I really was a
bit pleased with myself!’ The personal forms are so natural as to be
almost inevitable. How often, when a conversation has languished, do
two or three persons with a simultaneous impulse try to revive it—by
uttering a long-drawn ‘I’! and how often are we surprised, when we read
over a letter just written, to see that every paragraph begins with the
same ‘I’! Not by any means necessarily because we are thinking at the
time of ourselves, but very likely because we have nothing urgent to
say, and so slip instinctively into the commonest and most stereotyped
pattern of speech. Language, therefore, is no more than any other
movement (p. 232) an index to mind. The I-phrases and the self-words
may carry a self-meaning, or they may not; it all depends upon the
determination of the moment.

_Do not imagine, however, that psychology alone suffers from this warp
and bias of language_! The tendency to personalisation (p. 205), which
shows itself in the mannikin-mind and the common-sense self, appears
also in the ‘forces’ of physics and the ‘attractions’ of chemistry;
and if the psychologist has to clarify the current notions of mind
and self, the worker in these other sciences must, on his side, come
to terms with a like heritage of equivocal words. All such concepts
illustrate the same speculative trend of primitive thinking; and all of
them are stumbling-blocks in the path of science.

§ 77. =Consciousness and The Subconscious.=—“Consciousness,” says
Professor Ward, “is the vaguest, most protean, and most treacherous
of psychological terms”; and Bain, writing in 1880, distinguished no
less than thirteen meanings of the word; he could find more to-day!
The =ambiguity= of the term seems to be due, in the last resort, to
_the running together of two fundamental meanings_, the one of which
is scientific or psychological, the other logical or philosophical.
_In the latter, the logical meaning, consciousness is awareness or
knowledge_, and ‘conscious of’ means ‘aware of’; _in the former, the
scientific meaning, consciousness is mental experience_, experience
regarded from the psychological point of view, and one can no more
use the phrase ‘conscious of’ than one can use ‘mental of.’ If you
think how natural it is to say ‘I was conscious of so-and-so,’ you
will realise that the logical meaning is generally current; and if
you remember that we have the terms ‘mind,’ ‘mental process,’ as
names of mental experience, you will see that in psychology the word
‘consciousness’ is unnecessary; we have, in fact, not used it in this
book,—until we came upon the popular expression ‘self-consciousness’
in § 76.

We have avoided the word, however, not only because it is unnecessary,
but also because the logical or philosophical meaning that it tends to
suggest is directly harmful in psychology. For _the psychologist has
nothing in the world to do with knowledge or awareness_; he stands,
in this regard, upon precisely the same level as the physicist or the
chemist. Look up the word _atom_ in a dictionary; you find, perhaps,
that it is ‘an ultimate indivisible particle of matter’; and you would
smile if you read ‘knowledge of an ultimate indivisible particle of
matter.’ Look up _metal_; and you find ‘an elementary substance
possessing such and such properties’; you would think it absurd to say
‘an awareness of an elementary substance’ possessing those properties.
But now think of _sensation_, which is an elementary mental process
(p. 65): you would probably not smile if you found ‘the first stage
of knowledge; the elementary way of knowing some phenomenon of the
outside world’; and that is because you are thoroughly accustomed to
regard consciousness as awareness, and conscious processes as processes
which are aware of something beyond themselves. Yet it is every whit as
absurd, from the scientific point of view, to make sensation a ‘stage
of knowledge’ or a ‘way of knowing’ as it is to define the atom as
‘knowledge’ or the metal as ‘an awareness.’ Science takes experience
for granted, deals with the nature of things given (p. 4); so that
questions about ‘knowing’ or ‘being aware of’ lie beyond the range of
science, whether the particular science is psychology or physics.

You now understand why it is that we have avoided the term
‘consciousness.’ If we had said that _red_ is an elementary conscious
process, then you might have supposed that it is an elementary process
in or by which you become aware of a red object; whereas, if we say
that _red_ is an elementary mental process, you have no reason to think
of the red object, since ‘to become mental of a red object’ is not
English. It is very likely, all the same, that you _have_ been thinking
of the object of knowledge, in spite of the terminology of the book,
and in spite of the express warning that science has nothing to do with
values or meanings or uses; the statements of a text-book, however
emphatic they are, cannot always make headway against ingrained habits
of thought and speech. If, then, you have at any point fallen into
this mistake (and it may comfort you to know that the author, in his
first years of studentship, was trapped by it again and again), go back
now and read over the chapters in point; and if you discover that the
mistake was partly due to the language there employed, remember that
authors are human and that words are very slippery things.

So much of consciousness: what, now, shall we say of the
=subconscious=? The term is fashionable; and though we have nowhere
used it, we can hardly pass it by without mention. The subconscious
may be defined as _an extension of the conscious beyond the limits of
observation_. As an extension of the _conscious_, it tends always to be
an extension of meaning beyond the _meaning_ of the conscious; we do
not hear of a ‘submental.’ As an _extension_ of the conscious, it is
always a matter of _inference_; what we cannot observe, we must infer.
So there needs no argument to prove that the subconscious is not a
part of the subject-matter of psychology. How, then, does it come into

It comes in as _an explanatory concept_, like the older concept of
association (p. 146), to account for, to rationalise, the phenomena
that are conscious. We have ourselves been satisfied with description
and correlation, and we have therefore confined ourselves to mental
and nervous processes which are in principle observable; though we
have often enough been obliged to say that the facts, in this or that
chapter of psychology or neurology, are few or wanting. There is,
however, in many minds, a craving for ‘explanation’; and it must be
admitted that such a craving is natural enough; for it shows in every
phase of primitive thought, and may be traced throughout the history
of science. Think, for instance, of the potency of explanation by
‘cause and effect’!—though when we examine a case of cause and effect
we never, in fact, find anything more than correlation. There are
many psychologists, then, who cannot be satisfied with description
and correlation; they must refer the direction of thought to a
‘subconscious disposition,’ and explain the connections of ideas
by ‘subconscious tendencies,’ and so on. They have recourse to the
subconscious for purposes of explanation.

We must urge two objections against this mode of psychologising. In
the first place, _the construction of a subconscious is unnecessary_.
Science is not called upon to ‘explain’ anything; description and
correlation are the modern—and more modest—representatives of the
‘explanation’ that an older science looked for and professed to find.
Secondly, _the introduction of a subconscious is dangerous_. It is a
matter of inference from the conscious; but who shall draw the line, in
such a case, between legitimate and illegitimate inference? When from
the course of the mental stream and the interplay of mental processes
we infer the existence of associative and determining tendencies in
the nervous system, our argument is safeguarded. No man, it is true,
has seen those tendencies in course; but the inference to them is
checked and controlled by the whole vast body of fact and method
that makes up modern physiology. Things stand very differently with
the subconscious. Here the inference must, it is plain, go beyond
the conscious, since its aim is to explain the conscious; yet the
conscious facts are all the facts we have; when once we have embarked
on the subconscious, there are no more facts to steer by. Henceforth
everything depends upon individual preference; and we may have many
theories of the subconscious, widely different and equally plausible.
The danger is that an erroneous theory of the subconscious distort our
view of the conscious.

There is, however, another side to this whole question. _The notion
of a subconscious has proved useful in certain fields of practical
psychology, and more especially in psychiatry and psychotherapeutics;
and in matters of practice utility is a sufficient justification._
Science cannot ask the physician to give up a theory which works.
She can only point out that present utility is no test of ultimate
truth,—there were plenty of useful inventions in the days when the
physics of heat was dominated by the theory of caloric, and the
physics of light by the theory of emission!—and that nobody has ever
observed, or can ever observe, the subconscious at work; the wonderful
things that it does testify rather to their reporter’s thought and
imagination, to his conscious ingenuity in explaining, than to the
scientific reality of the subconscious itself.

§ 78. =Conclusion.=—So we are at an end; and as you look back over
the chapters of the book, you will have your own thoughts about the
work done,—about your change of attitude from common sense to
psychology, about the nature of mind, when mind is regarded from the
scientific point of view, about the difficult or unsatisfactory places
in psychology. The author has no wish to disturb these thoughts; every
student must sum things up for himself, as every student, if he is to
get the scientific point of view, must rely on his own thinking from
the beginning (p. 36); for the kingdom of science is not in word but in
power. There are, nevertheless, a few considerations that may be set
down here, not as a summary made for you by the author, but simply as a
general supplement to your own conclusions.

Realise, then, first of all, that _there is nothing in the whole wide
world that cannot be psychologised_. Sound and light and heat, law
and language and morals, “the whole choir of heaven and furniture of
earth,” all alike become subject-matter of psychology if we regard them
from the psychological standpoint, as they are in man’s experience
(p. 9). The range of psychology is the range of that experience, and
nothing more narrow. The psychological point of view is logically
coordinate with the point of view of the physical sciences; these
describe the world with man left out, psychology describes the world
with man left in; but the psychologist surveys the broader field.

Realise, secondly, that _you have the materials and the opportunity
of psychological observation always with you_. Truly, we must have
laboratories; if we are to attain to accurate and comparable results,
we must put ourselves under conditions that can be rigorously
controlled. But get the habit of psychological observation, and you
will be surprised to find (though it follows, does it not, from the
laws of attention?) how much psychology there is in your daily life;
how often you can snapshot a baffling experience, and catch a hint of
analytical possibilities; how often you light upon something that the
text-books do not discuss, but that this habit of observation reveals
and places for you. Take the occasions as they come; plenty of good
astronomical work has been done with a pair of opera glasses!—and if
you cannot, later on, experiment for yourself in a laboratory, at least
you have gained a new outlook and a new competence; it is as if you
had gained access to a whole literature by the mastery of some foreign

Realise, thirdly, that _a system of science, whether the science be
psychology or any other, is built up of nothing else than facts and
logic_. The facts of observation are the essential things; without
them there is no science possible; but logic makes the facts available
and rememberable; it groups and classifies, decides the sequence of
chapters and paragraphs, points to gaps and discrepancies in the
record of facts, governs the whole presentation. So there should be
nothing more in a text-book of science than facts and logic. The man of
science, trying to answer an unanswered question (p. 277), will guess
and forecast and speculate and imagine; and some of his guesses and
speculations may be worthy of mention in the history of his science;
but there should be no glimmer of them in the scientific system.
Science, you remember, is impersonal and disinterested, dry fact and
cold logic; there are all sorts of personal adventures and interesting
episodes by the way, while science is in the making; but if you have
the scientific temperament, you feel the fascination of fact and logic

And, in any case, they are all that science gives you! So realise,
lastly, _the limitations of science; do not expect from it more than
it can give_. Over and over you hear it said ‘Science has failed to
satisfy us about this’ and ‘Science has shown itself unable to deal
with that’; but ask yourself—if you deem the statements true—what
are the ‘this’ and the ‘that,’ and whether science ever gave any
pledge that she would handle them. Scientific discoveries have had
far-reaching consequences for practice, and have changed our whole
mode of living; but the fact remains that “the most useful parts of
science have been investigated for the sake of truth, and not for their
usefulness.” Scientific progress is reflected in the systems of logic
and ethics and æsthetics, even in metaphysics itself; but theoretical
values lie, as practical values also lie, beyond the purview of the
scientific enquirer. Science is bound down from the outset to a certain
method, the method of observation; to a certain point of view, the
existential as opposed to the significant; to a certain task, the task
of description and correlation. Beyond these limits, science has no
pretensions; within them, she has accomplished much, and is earnest to
accomplish more.

Questions and Exercises

(1) Keep a pad by you for a week, and note down the occasions when your
experience is wholly selfless and markedly selfful. Describe, as well
as you can, the various self-experiences.

(2) Mention some of the superstitions that connect the name with the
personality (p. 313). Is there any echo of these superstitions in our
own civilised experience?

(3) On p. 319 a hint is given of the way in which vision, kinæsthesis
and organic sensation, and verbal ideas might come to be preferred, as
vehicles of the meaning of self. Can you make any further suggestion as
regards kinæsthesis and organic sensation?

(4) A well-known medical writer remarks: “Self is stomach. The function
of assimilating food is the most fundamental of all the functions; it
is antecedent even to locomotion and propagation. Hence anything which
directly affects the organism as a whole affects the stomach.” What
self is here referred to?

(5) Professor Mach tells the following story. “I got into an omnibus
one morning, after a tiring night on the train, just as some one else
was entering from the far end. ‘Some broken-down schoolmaster,’ I
thought. It was myself; there was a large mirror opposite the omnibus
door” (see Analysis of Sensations, 1910, 4). What psychological laws
does the story illustrate?

(6) What is meant by the ‘unity of consciousness’?

(7) Sir Walter Scott tells the tale of a boy, always at the top of
his class, who, when asked a question, “fumbled with his fingers at a
particular button in the lower part of his waistcoat”; Scott cut the
button off, and the boy came down from his place of leadership (J. G.
Lockhart, Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, i., 1837, 94). What
is the psychology of the incident?

(8) Write a psychological criticism of the following statement:
“Alike in conflict, rivalry, sense of liability to punishment or
vengeance, etc., the truth is continually being borne in upon the mind
of an animal that it is a separate individuality; and this though it
be conceded that the animal is never able, even in the most shadowy
manner, to think about itself as such. In this way there arises a sort
of ‘outward self-consciousness,’ which differs from true or inward
self-consciousness only in the absence of any attention being directed
upon the inward mental states as such” (G. J. Romanes, Mental Evolution
in Man, 1888, 198 f.).

(9) Among the facts which have led to the hypothesis of a subconscious
are (_a_) the existence of blind strivings, organic tendencies,
etc., for which no conscious antecedent can be discovered; (_b_) the
mechanisation of complicated movements, such as piano-playing; (_c_)
the appearance in ‘memory’ of ideas which seem to have cropped up of
themselves, _i.e._, have no assignable physical or mental condition;
(_d_) the phenomena of secondary personality (Dictionary of Philosophy
and Psychology, ii., 1902, 606). How does the hypothesis help in such
cases? and how does the psychology of this book take account of the

(10) Consider any case of remedial suggestion, of what is popularly
called faith-cure, that you happen to know at first-hand. Show how the
hypothesis of subconscious agency might naturally occur to one who
tries to ‘explain’ the facts, and show how science might deal with them
apart from that hypothesis.

(11) (_a_) Satisfy yourself, by the collection of phrases, that
the words ‘conscious,’ ‘subconscious,’ ‘unconscious,’ are used in
very various meanings. (_b_) What does the word ‘conscious’ mean by
derivation? How did it originate?

(12) The complaint is often made that scientific men do not popularise
their results. What do you take to be the great stumbling-block in the
way of popularisation?


W. James, Principles of Psychology, i., 1890, chs. ix., x.; J. Sully,
The Human Mind, i., 1892, ch. xii., §§ 25, 26; C. Mercier, Sanity and
Insanity, 1899; T. Ribot, The Diseases of Personality, 1895; J. M.
Baldwin, Mental Development in the Child and the Race: Methods and
Processes, 1906, and Social and Ethical Interpretations in Mental
Development, 1906, refs. in indices; W. Wundt, Lectures on Human and
Animal Psychology, 1896, and Outlines of Psychology, 1907, refs. in
indices; E. B. Titchener, Text-book of Psychology, 1910, 544 ff.; A.
Bain, The Emotions and the Will, 1880, 539 ff., 602 ff.; T. Flournoy,
From India to the Planet Mars, 1900; M. Prince, The Dissociation of a
Personality, 1906, and The Unconscious, 1914; S. Freud, Psychopathology
of Everyday Life, 1914; B. Hart and C. Spearman, General Ability, Its
Existence and Nature, in the British Journal of Psychology, v., March
1912, 51 ff.

On beliefs connected with names, see E. B. Tylor, Researches into the
Early History of Mankind, 1878, 123 ff.; J. G. Frazer, Taboo and the
Perils of the Soul, 1911, 318 ff.



 I am assured that a lady of a well-known court saw in a dream and
 described to her friends the person she afterwards married, and the
 hall in which the betrothal was celebrated; and she did this before
 she had seen or known either the man or the place. They attributed
 the circumstance to some indefinite secret presentiment; but chance
 may produce this effect, since it is quite rare that it happens;
 besides, dream-images being somewhat obscure, there is more liberty
 in connecting them afterwards with certain others.—GOTTFRIED WILHELM

§ 79. =Sleep and Dream.=—The profound sleep that comes to us every
night, and that we take entirely as a matter of course, rests without
any doubt upon an instinctive tendency; but there can be little doubt,
either, that the instinct has been modified in the course of human
evolution. _It seems probable, indeed, that profound sleep, the lapse
of all but the vegetative organic functions, has been developed from
the same fundamental tendency as hypnosis_, so that natural sleep
and artificial hypnosis represent two branches which spring from a
single stem. This original and instinctive tendency is toward what
we may call, in biological phrase, a =partial or defensive sleep=, a
rest enjoyed while the animal is still partly on guard. It underlies
the sleep of the mother, who is roused at once by the movement of her
infant child; the sleep of the nurse, who is awaked by the restlessness
of her patient; the sleep of the tired horseman or driver, who keeps
the saddle or holds the reins, and remains alive to any sign of
uneasiness on the part of his horse. It shows also in the ability of
the wearied surgeon to rouse himself and perform an operation, though
he falls asleep once more the moment it is over and has no remembrance
of it at his normal waking. Such a partial rest, persisting only thus
occasionally in the life of civilised man, is all that an animal
surrounded by dangers can afford; if sight and smell and taste may
be allowed to lapse, still touch and hearing must keep awake,—must
keep awake, at any rate, to the kind of stimulus that spells danger.
We are speaking now in figurative terms; the history and nervous
mechanism of the sleep-tendency offer a problem to science, and must be
scientifically worked out; but it is enough here if you get a general
notion of the way in which sleep began.

In process of time, as dangers grow less or as the nightly care of
the community is put into the hands of watchmen whose special duty it
is to signal their approach, _sleep becomes total and profound_. Even
our own protected sleep, however, is not always undisturbed. We resign
ourselves to it with a full sense of security; and we go to sleep in
a dark and quiet room, we rid ourselves of the friction of clothes,
we keep a constant temperature in our bedroom, we lie down. Sleep,
nevertheless, is interrupted, more or less often according to age and
constitution, by a =dream=, by a series of experiences like those of
the waking life; and sometimes the dream is accompanied by muscular
activity; we talk or walk in our sleep.

The dream, then, is subject-matter for psychology; and the first
question that we have to ask about it concerns its make-up; _of what
mental processes is the dream composed_? The answer is twofold. So far
as _pattern_ goes, anything whatsoever may appear in the dream-state:
perception, memory, emotion, imagination, thought, everything. But as
regards the _mental processes_ themselves, the dream is selective;
certain processes are preferred for dreaming, so to say, as certain
processes are preferred for the representation of self. The details
of dreams are very quickly forgotten; and there is always danger lest
recall and report, in the waking state, change the terms of a dream,
translate them from their original mode into the customary terms of
waking experience. We have, however, a large number of records, taken
under favourable conditions, and we find substantial agreement among
the various observers. Dreams are mainly visual, though lights are more
and colours are less common, perhaps, than is ordinarily supposed.
Next in order of frequency to vision stands audition; conversation,
especially, is a common feature of dreams. Next follow sense-feelings
and feeling-attitudes; unpleasant experiences seem, on the whole, to
be more frequent than pleasant, though there are marked individual
differences. Thereafter, at a wide remove, come touch and kinæsthesis
and organic complexes; and last of all, taste and smell.

We know so little of the nervous correlates of the dream that a
discussion of these facts must of necessity be speculative. It has been
said that we dream largely in terms of sight for the same reason that
we remember and imagine largely in those terms (‘dream’ is, for that
matter, the older English word for ‘imagine’): the eye is the most
important of all the sense-organs, the organ most continuously used,
and the organ most relied upon for knowledge of the outside world;
hence the visual centre of the brain has multitudinous connections
with all the other brain-centres, and is readily excited when any
one of them is excited. It has been pointed out, also, that the eye
is extremely sensitive to slight changes of illumination, as well as
to changes in the pressure of the eyelids, the state of circulation
in the retina, and so forth; and that the sensations thus set up are
reinforced by the persistent central grey. Observation has proved that
the figures of a dream-scene may roughly correspond with the dots
and splashes of light and colour that you see over the dark field of
vision just before you fall asleep. So in regard to hearing: it may
be said that verbal perceptions and ideas are, in the waking life,
subordinate in number and importance only to those of vision; and it
may be said, also, that the ear is the great defensive organ of the
night-time, so that ear-sleep (if we may coin the word) is rarely
profound, and the ear is liable to excitation by any chance crack or
rustle in our surroundings, even by the pulsing of the blood through
its own vessels. Here, indeed, we raise the whole difficult question of
_the origination of dreams_. We cannot say that a dream may not arise
‘in the brain’ altogether apart from stimulation of a sense-organ;
yet the sense-organs are always liable to stimulation, from without
or from within; we know that stimuli, too weak to arouse a sleeper,
will set up dreams; and it seems safe to conclude that most dreams
are originated by sensory stimulation, while their subsequent course
is due to associative and perhaps to determining tendencies active at
the moment. Attempts have been made to refer certain familiar kinds of
dream—dreams of flying, falling, appearing in public scantily clothed,
preparing for a journey, etc.—to particular forms of stimulus: arrest
of heart-beat, irregular breathing, cold from the slipping down of
bed-clothes, etc.; but no positive correlation has been arrived at.

_Dreams are ordinarily regarded as the type of fantastic and disordered
experience_, “the children of an idle brain, begot of nothing but
vain fantasy”; and some dreams, it is true, are very fragmentary,
and some dream-combinations seem ridiculous enough to the waking
judgement, and some shifts of dream-scene are startlingly abrupt. It
may be questioned, nevertheless, whether the changes are in fact more
sudden or more radical than those of the waking life, and whether
the grouping is more fantastic than in the day-dream. _The great
perceptive attitudes remain for the most part unchanged._ We notice,
on later reflection, that time may be curiously foreshortened, so that
we have the events of a day crowded into a few seconds; but this is
due partly to the occurrence of attitudes, of the nutshell-packing of
experiences (p. 271), such as we find also in our waking memories,
and partly to our own reflective reading of the dream; we, who are
now awake, distribute the events over a day, much as the novelist
may do in telling his story, or the playwright in developing his
plot. _The sense of personal identity is rarely lost_; and the dream
frequently reflects the personality of the dreamer; temperament,
interests, principles, show themselves in it; no one of us could dream
his neighbour’s dreams. In general, too, _the dream plays about a
topic or situation_; and if the changes are both sudden and profound,
we must remember that our waking trains are held in course, as dreams
are not, by the continuity of the stimuli around us, and that even so
we are often interrupted in a current train, and shift from topic to
topic at a moment’s notice. The dream is under no external control by
an environment, nor is it as a rule organised and regulated throughout
by a dominant determining tendency, as is the case with thought and
constructive imagination. It is subject, however, to the laws of
associative tendency, and sometimes at any rate it seems to issue from
a determination; a dream may, for example, be continued on successive
nights. On the whole, then, _dream-experience is less disorderly
than is usually supposed_. Our statements must be guarded: we cannot
say that the perceptive attitudes are never disturbed; we know that
personality may be greatly modified; we know that scene may follow
scene in the most bizarre way. The whole trend of popular psychology,
however, is to emphasize the differences between dreaming and waking,
while the trend of accurate observation is to bring them together.

The _dream-incidents_ are derived, in the lighter stages of of sleep,
mainly from the incidents of the preceding day, and in the deeper
stages mainly from the remoter experience of the waking life. This is
what we should expect from our knowledge of the temporal course of
associative tendencies. Moreover, we know that, in profound sleep,
the brain is comparatively bloodless; and it is reasonable to suppose
that, in dreaming, the activity of the tendencies is local and
sporadic. That would account for the _incongruities_ that our waking
judgement discovers in the dream-situations, and also for the general
_ineffectiveness_ of dream-thought. When, however, we enquire further
into the nervous mechanism of dreaming, we must enter the realm of
hypothesis. _It is a real puzzle_, for instance, _that we do not
oftener walk and talk in our sleep_; for dream-ideas are vivid, and the
vivid ideas of the waking life are ordinarily followed or accompanied
by action. We may guess that there is a positive blocking of the
nerve-paths that lead from sensory to motor centres in the brain, or
from the motor centres to the muscles; else the dream would surely
be talked or acted out; but we can say nothing definite about this
motor inhibition. The organism at large seems to be under a ‘negative
suggestion’ in regard to movement; for the pattern of action—though,
like all the mental patterns, it may appear in the dream-state—is
notably less frequent than the patterns of perception and idea and

We said that dream-ideas are vivid; and there is no doubt that dreams
in general have an _hallucinatory_ character; dream-images are
extremely vivid, dream-scenes are staged in what is taken for objective
space, dream-events occur without any felt dependence upon the dreamer.
This impression of the reality of dream-incident is partly due to a
negative condition; we have no means, in the dream-state, of testing or
checking what happens. In the waking life we compare experience with
experience; in the dream there is nothing with which the present train
of ideas may be compared. It seems, however, that the hallucinatory
character is native to our dream-ideas, that it is due to positive
as well as negative conditions; though, again, we cannot say what
the conditions are, until we know more about the nervous correlate
of dreaming. The net result is that, in popular phrase, _we take our
dreams for granted_; the dream-world, so long as we are in it, appears
as real as the world of our waking existence. This does not at all mean
that we accept, blindly, everything that takes place. We may protest
and criticise in dreams, just precisely as we protest and criticise in
real life; we may dream that we are dreaming, just as we sometimes say
‘I must have been dreaming’ when we give a wrong account of some waking
experience or find ourselves mistaken in a recollection; and we may
have a sense of unreality in dreams, just as we have it now and again
in waking situations. It means only that the nervous system of the
dreamer is stamped with the great biological tendencies that we have
noted and discussed; the tendency to take things as real is present by
night as well as by day.

The old common-sense notion that dreams are prophetic has no foundation
in fact. The idea that underlies it—the idea that dreams must be of
some use to the organism—nevertheless persists, and has found recent
expression in a comprehensive theory of dreams. _The theory is that all
dreams, if one interprets them aright, represent the fulfilment of a
wish, entertained in the waking life but repressed by circumstances._
The organism attains by night, though in veiled and transmuted shape,
what it has failed of attaining by day. This theory has been elaborated
and illustrated with very great ingenuity; but _its claims are too
sweeping_. Recent observations seem to show that the wish-dream is
likely to occur in the hours before waking, rather than in the early
hours of the night or in the middle period of profound sleep; that many
dreams cannot be interpreted, even with the best will, as fulfilments
of wish; and, in particular, that fear-dreams form a category as
distinct and ultimate as wish-dreams. The merit of the theory is that
it emphasises the feeling-processes of the dream-life; it does not give
us the key to the psychology of dreaming.

§ 80. =Hypnosis.=—We have seen that there are two lines of development
from partial or defensive sleep; and that hypnosis is the final term
of the one line, as normal deep sleep is the final term of the other.
_Hypnosis may therefore be regarded as a state in which the organism
is partly asleep, and partly alert and awake._ The wakefulness is
characterised by a high degree of attention; and the hypnotised
subject is accordingly liable to suggestion by anything that fits in
with the direction of attention.

The symptoms of hypnosis do not follow any stereotyped pattern;
so that _it is difficult to draw a generalised picture of the
hypnotic individual_. If, however, we are willing to run the risk of
generalisation, we may distinguish three successive stages in the
phenomena. The hypnotised subject is at first =heavy or drowsy=; his
behaviour is like that of a man suddenly aroused from sound sleep, and
not yet ‘come to himself.’ Then follows the stage of light hypnosis
or, as it is technically called, the stage of =catalepsy=. The subject
is to some extent anæsthetic; his sense-organs are closed to all the
ordinary impressions from the outside world. At the same time, he
hears what is said to him by the operator, and performs any action
that the operator may suggest. He does nothing without the word of
command; so that he will maintain a position, however uncomfortable it
might be under ordinary circumstances, until the order comes to relax
it. On waking, he remembers cloudily what took place during hypnosis.
In the third and final stage, which is known as =somnambulism=, the
anæsthesia becomes more complete; and the subject not only acts, but
also perceives, at the bidding of the operator; takes coal for sugar,
ink for wine, tapping on the table for the playing of a violin, and so
forth. On waking, he has no memory of what has taken place.

We see, then, that _there are four main symptoms of hypnosis:
anæsthesia, motionlessness, suggestibility and amnesia_; and it is
worth while to remind ourselves, at once, that all these symptoms have
their counterparts in the normal waking life. Thus, a child falls down
and hurts itself; it may be crying bitterly; but you distract its
attention by a toy, and the crying stops and the pain is forgotten;
the diversion of attention has meant anæsthesia. Again, you are on a
country walk with a friend, and you begin to discuss some topic of
mutual interest; you both get more and more absorbed, and you both
walk more and more slowly, until presently you find yourselves at a
standstill in the middle of the road; concentrated attention has meant
arrest of movement. If the lecturer in a class-room says: ‘I want you
now to take down what I am going to say,’ the suggestion is immediately
accepted, and the whole class makes ready to write. Finally, we are all
forgetful of what happens in a particular situation if circumstances
change and we are confronted by another situation; how many of us
remember our dreams? The new day brings its novel situations, and the
dreams drop out of sight; and the change from dreaming to waking is no
greater than the change from the hypnotic to the normal state. Hence
the peculiarity of hypnosis is not the introduction of strange or
curious phenomena, but rather the grouping, in an extreme and unusual
way, of phenomena with which we are in principle familiar.

It would seem to follow from this analysis that _we are all and sundry
liable, under certain favourable conditions, to fall into the hypnotic
state_; and that conclusion is borne out by the facts. Only idiots and
infants are exempt from hypnosis; and they are exempt only because
of the low development of attention, because they cannot, under any
conditions, concentrate or ‘pull themselves together.’ When people
tell you that Professor So-and-so tried to hypnotise them, but that
their will proved too strong for him, you may reply that they do not
understand what they are talking about; it would be as logical for them
to assert that the champion tennis-player of the world had failed to
beat them in a match, because they had refused to lift a racquet. The
stronger the ‘will,’ that is to say, the stronger the habit of absorbed
attention and the greater the power of dominant determinations, the
easier is the induction of hypnosis. Moreover, as human beings are one
and all liable to be hypnotised, so do we find that the animals, in
their degree, are liable to something like catalepsy. The nightly sleep
of birds and the winter-sleep of many animals is a cataleptic sleep;
very many insects ‘sham dead,’ as we say, when they are surprised or
handled; and animals may be thrown, by manipulation, into an artificial
state which resembles catalepsy in ourselves, and which has received
the like name of =cataplexy= (‘catalepsy’ is a seizure, and ‘cataplexy’
is a stroke).

So much for the primary facts: what, now, of the ‘operator’? Well, it
is quite possible to hypnotise oneself, just as it is quite possible
to put oneself to sleep by counting sheep or listening to an imaginary
rain. One has only to _mean_ or _intend_ to oneself that the hypnotic
state is coming, and—if there is no interruption—it will presently
come; self-suggestion or autosuggestion may be as effective as the
suggestion of an operator. For _in every case the influence that
the operator has over the subject is an influence given him by the
subject_; the immediate conditions of hypnosis lie in the subject
himself, and not in the personality of some other man. The professional
operator has, it is true, two advantages. He asserts emphatically that
he ‘can hypnotise’; he advertises; and we tend to believe emphatic and
repeated statements, however groundless they may really be; so that we
are likely to give him an influence over us before we have even seen
him. Secondly, the operator knows, from long experience with hypnotised
subjects, how the individual shall most readily be brought into the
hypnotic state, how (that is) his complete attention may be secured and
directed: whether by coaxing or by bullying, whether by strokes of the
hand that suggest a gradual flow of power or by a smart blow on the
back of the neck that produces a momentary helplessness and confusion.
_All the ‘methods’ of hypnotising are so many tricks to bring about
a state of undivided attention and a corresponding suggestibility in
the subject._ So the operator has genuine advantages, but they are
advantages that might be secured by anyone who took the trouble; they
are not connected with special gifts or superiorities.

Here, however, you may raise an objection; you will say that operator
and subject are _en rapport_, that there _is_ a special bond which
connects them, and that the records of hypnosis prove it. Yes, there
may be a special bond; and yet the preceding paragraph sets forth the
truth about the operator. Do we not all believe in our own physician,
our own family lawyer, our own clergyman? and yet our neighbours make
different choices. Suppose, then, that you have first-hand evidence of
the powers of some platform operator, or of some physician who treats
his patients hypnotically; you may very easily come to think that this
particular man has a peculiar control over you. You may suggest this
belief to yourself, or perhaps the physician—not wishing to have his
case interfered with by others—may suggest it to you; in any event,
you are imbued with the idea that this man, and this man only, is
able to treat you; and it then follows, naturally, that the required
concentration of attention and the required openness to suggestion can
be secured only when he is present. But the _rapport_ is, after all,
nothing more than _an insistent belief of your own_; it is neither
more effective nor less intelligible than would be the contrary belief
that a certain person of your acquaintance could _not_ hypnotise you.
So far, therefore, from invalidating our former conclusions, the
occasional existence of the _rapport_ serves to confirm them.

We now turn from the hypnotic state itself to its relations with
the waking state; and the first point to consider is the fact of
=post-hypnotic or terminal suggestion=. Suppose that an operator
suggests to the hypnotised subject that a certain action is to be
performed at such-and-such a time after waking; “before I wake you let
me impress upon you that you are to drink two glasses of water at five
o’clock this afternoon; you understand?—two glasses of water at five
o’clock.” The subject rouses; has no memory of the command; and yet,
when the time comes, obediently pours and drinks the water. The fact
is, you see, that the suggestion of _time_ builds a bridge between the
two separate states, the hypnotic and the waking; the idea of time is
common to both. Hence when the suggested time comes round, and the
subject knows—by the clock, by the sun, by his occupation, by his
organic sensations—that five o’clock is approximately here, this idea
acts as a suggestion; the hypnotic state is reinstated for a while,
though probably in weakened form; and the action is performed. As soon
as it is over, the subject is his waking self again.

We have the obverse of this post-hypnotic suggestion in the phenomenon
of =double consciousness=. A subject is hypnotised and becomes
somnambulistic; when he is waked, he has no memory whatsoever of the
events that occurred during the hypnotic state. Later, he is hypnotised
again; and now it turns out that he remembers what took place during
the previous hypnosis. So he seems to have a double consciousness; the
normal waking consciousness, which is sensibly continuous in his waking
states, and a secondary hypnotic consciousness, which is continuous
from one state of somnambulism to another. There is, again, nothing
mysterious in the facts; we have their parallel in the normal shifts
of personality; we have seen that a man is a different self in the
office, on the golf-links, with his children in the nursery; and we
have now only to add that the known laws of memory are adequate to
these phenomena of double consciousness. For we do not pass in thought
from one situation to another unless the situations are connected by
some idea which is common to them both; the hard-worked professional
man, when he is on the links, _forgets_ the office; that is the reason
for his play; and he forgets the office because there is no community
of ideas between his work and his recreation. In hypnosis, too, we
break sharply with the waking life; if the two are to be connected,
a bridge must be built _ad hoc_ by the operator; but when we relapse
into hypnosis we pick up again the thread of our hypnotic memory, as
naturally as the professional man picks up his work when he seats
himself at his desk after a half-holiday.

There are still a couple of questions, often asked by students, that
you may care to have answered; and the first of them usually takes the
form: _Can a man be hypnotised against his will?_ To which the author’s
reply always is: It depends on what you mean by ‘against his will.’
For consider! There is no reason at all why we may not, any one of
us, be taken off guard and surprised into the hypnotic state. We have
probably all been surprised by sleep during a lecture or a sermon;
the conditions were favourable, and we nodded. So the conditions may
be favourable for hypnosis; and if someone is watching us, and sees
that the conditions are favourable, he may have us hypnotised before
we know where we are. The risk is not great; but the possibility is
there. Again, if a patient has fallen into the habit of taking hypnotic
treatment, and if he has thus slipped into a position of invalidish
dependence upon his physician, so that obedience to the suggestion
of hypnosis has become natural to him, then it is entirely likely
that the physician’s command would induce the hypnotic state, even
if the patient at the time should not desire it. And what holds of
physician and patient holds of any operator and any subject in like
circumstances; the habit of obedience grows by obeying. In this sense,
then, one might be hypnotised ‘against one’s will.’ If, however, the
question means what it is probably intended to mean: Can another
man come to me and, by virtue of some inherent power, force me into
hypnosis in spite of my resistance to that suggestion? then the answer
is No; no more than a man can force you to lend him money or to perjure
yourself for him in a court of law. It is you who must entertain
his suggestion; so long as you refuse to do that, you are immune to
hypnosis at his hands.

The other question concerns the value of hypnosis for medical or
therapeutic purposes; _can hypnosis effect cures? can it replace
the anæsthetics of ordinary medical practice?_ It has, as a matter
of fact, received fairly extended trial as an anæsthetic; and while
it has allowed many operations, minor and major, to be carried out
successfully, it is far less reliable than the an æsthetic drugs;
mainly, no doubt, because it cannot be administered by the physician,
as drugs can, but depends upon the attitude of the patient himself.
There is no future for hypnosis in this connection. As to its
therapeutic value, we can only say that whatever can be accomplished
by suggestion, in the normal life, can be accomplished by the very
strong suggestion of hypnosis in the disordered life. A suggestion
can initiate, modify, and arrest movement; a sharp rebuke will
start a child into activity, or change his occupation, or stop a
present misdeed and prevent like misdeeds in the immediate future. A
suggestion, again, can make us blush; and a suggestion can make us
cry. Here, then, is the therapeutic value of hypnosis; it may arrest
or remedy habits like alcoholism, and it may act upon derangements
of circulation and secretion. Farther than this it cannot go; and
even within these limits its utility is variable. Some children obey
the first word of command, and others must be bidden over and over
again before they do as they are told; some of us blush easily, and
some hardly ever; some are readily stirred to tears, and some with
great difficulty. So it is with the liability to hypnotic suggestion;
everyone is liable, but not everyone to the same degree. Besides, as we
saw just now, the habit of hypnosis grows, like all habits, upon him
who has formed it; the patient may develop a craving for the hypnotic
treatment, and in this way may take on a habit of dependence, of
constant reliance upon others, which is as afflicting and demoralising
as the disorder which the treatment was meant to cure. So that, on the
whole, _hypnosis should not be lightly appealed to; the decision should
in every case remain in the hands of the experienced physician_.

There is one other effect of hypnosis that we have not spoken of in
detail, and that is of great psychological interest; the somnambulist,
we said, will _perceive_ as the operator wishes him to perceive,
will take coal for sugar and ink for wine. It has long been debated
whether this statement is literally true. The hypnotised subject
behaves _as if_ he perceived the sugar and the wine; but is there any
reason to think that he actually perceives them? Or if the suggestion
is negative, and the subject is told that a certain person has left
the room, he will behave _as if_ that person were no longer present;
but does he actually fail to see him? May not the suggestion bear
directly upon the subject’s conduct, and leave his perceptions
unchanged? The facts point in both directions. Many of the apparent
changes of perception are, in all probability, nothing more than
changes of behaviour towards the perceptual stimuli; but there is,
all the same, no impossibility in a change of perception itself. We
have already noted the negative effects of abstraction (p. 281); and
recent experiments with normal subjects seem to show conclusively that
a suggestion, a form of words that carries the force of a command, may
set up the mental process, or the change of mental processes, normally
correlated with presence or change of external stimulus. A red, seen
under the suggestion of blue, will not only be reported _as_ bluish,
but will actually _look_ bluish; and a thermally indifferent impression
will not only be reported _as_ warm or cold, but will actually be
_felt_ warm or cold. If such things happen in the normal waking life,
they may assuredly happen in the narrowed and intensive suggestibility
of the hypnotic state.


A. Moll, Hypnotism, 1891; W. Wundt, Lectures on Human and Animal
Psychology, 1896, Lect. xxii.; M. de Manacéïne, Sleep, 1897; J.
Jastrow, Fact and Fable in Psychology, 1900; E. Jones, Freud’s Theory
of Dreams, in American Journal of Psychology, xxi., April 1910, 283
ff.; S. Ferenczi, The Psychological Analysis of Dreams, _ibid._, 309
ff.; M. Bentley, The Study of Dreams, _ibid._, xxvi., April 1915, 196

                            INDEX OF NAMES

  Angelo, M., 299.

  Aristotle, 25, 41, 84, 142 f., 145 ff., 168, 175, 218, 305.

  Arnold, M., 305.

  Bacon, F., 34, 313.

  Bain, A., 229, 257, 260, 324, 334.

  Baldwin, J. M., 41, 72, 89, 334.

  Barrie, J. M., 247.

  Bastian, H. C., 72.

  Beethoven, L. van, 196.

  Bentley, M., 349.

  Bergson, H., 229.

  Berkeley, G., 264, 289.

  Blagden, C. O., 72.

  Boas, F., 303, 306.

  Bradley, F. H., 174, 176.

  Bridgman, L., 27, 41.

  Buridan, J., 247.

  Burr, A. R., 39.

  Cannon, W. B., 220 f., 229.

  Carpenter, W. B., 108 f., 111.

  Carroll, L., 21.

  Charcot, J. M., 139, 143.

  Chavannes, P. de, 196.

  Clifford, W. K., 38.

  Dalton, J., 58, 72.

  Darwin, C., 3, 51, 222 f., 225, 228 f.

  Da Vinci, L., 228.

  Deland, M., 175.

  Descartes, R., 228.

  Dessoir, M., 42.

  Dickens, C., 141, 187, 202.

  Downey, J. E., 88.

  Dunlap, K., 41.

  Ebbinghaus, H., 151 f., 176.

  Ferenczi, S., 349.

  Fernald, M. R., 144.

  Fiske, E. W., 41.

  Flournoy, T., 334.

  France, A., 293.

  Franz, S. I., 41.

  Frazer, J. G., 40, 334.

  Freud, S., 334.

  Froude, J. A., 37 f.

  Galen, C., 227.

  Galton, F., 51, 87 f., 140.

  Goethe, J. W. von, 141.

  Haddon, A. C., 306.

  Hall, F. H., 41.

  Hamilton, W., 103, 110 f.

  Hammond, W. A., 41.

  Hart, B., 334.

  Hawthorne, N., 201.

  Hearn, L., 194, 294 f., 306.

  Helmholtz, H. L. F. von, 38, 54 f., 72, 143.

  Henry, W. C., 72.

  Hering, E., 59, 202.

  Hill, A., 37 f.

  Hobbes, T., 162, 261 f.

  Howe, M., 41.

  Howell, W. H., 72.

  Hume, D., 73, 76, 88, 148, 258.

  Huxley, T. H., 20, 37 f., 243 f., 260, 264, 289.

  James, W., 25, 39, 111, 141, 143, 149, 168, 174, 176, 202, 207,
             218 ff., 229, 256, 260, 287 f., 334.

  Jastrow, J., 41, 349.

  Jevons, W. S., 41, 202.

  Jones, E., 349.

  Kipling, R., 98.

  Kirchhoff, G. R., 37 f.

  Klemm, O., 42.

  Külpe, O., 41, 176.

  Kuhlmann, F., 202.

  Ladd, G. T., 38, 41, 72.

  Lang, A., 206.

  Lange, C., 219, 221.

  Lathrop, G. P., 201.

  Le Bon, G., 41.

  Leuba, J. H., 303, 306.

  Lewes, G. H., 183, 202.

  Ludwig, C., 48.

  McDougall, W., 41, 229.

  Mach, E., 72, 332.

  Manacéïne, M. de, 349.

  Mercier, C., 334.

  Meredith, G., 202.

  Meumann, E., 176.

  Mill, J., 174.

  Mill, J. S., 39.

  Millet, J. F., 299.

  Moll, A., 41, 349.

  Moore, G., 306.

  Morgan, C. L., 247, 260.

  Münsterberg, H., 42.

  Myers, C. S., 72, 89, 176.

  Newton, I., 36, 39.

  Offner, M., 176.

  Parry, C. H. H., 143.

  Parsons, J. H., 72.

  Pearson, K., 38.

  Pillsbury, W. B., 38 f., 110 f., 288.

  Plato, 65, 186.

  Poe, E. A., 201.

  Preyer, W., 41.

  Prince, M., 334.

  Quintilian, M. F., 202.

  Rhys Davids, C. A. F., 41.

  Ribot, T., 202, 229, 288, 306, 334.

  Romanes, G. J., 333.

  Rousseau, J. J., 40.

  Ruskin, J., 299.

  Sanford, E. C., 260.

  Santayana, G., 306.

  Schäfer, E. A., 72.

  Scott, W., 332.

  Scriabin, A. N., 77.

  Shakespeare, W., 302.

  Skeat, W. W., 72.

  Spearman, C., 334.

  Spencer, H., 37 f., 40, 84 ff., 89, 257, 260.

  Stephen, L., 257, 260.

  Stoelting, C. H., 142, 260.

  Störring, G., 41.

  Stout, G. F., 38.

  Sully, J., 229, 258, 260, 306, 334.

  Taylor, H. O., 40.

  Thackeray, W. M., 227.

  Thomas of Aquino, 103, 111.

  Thorndike, E. L., 42, 173, 176, 229, 301, 306.

  Titian, 299.

  Tylor, E. B., 39 f., 72, 289, 334.

  Velasquez, D., 299.

  Voltaire, F. M., 286.

  Wagner, R., 30, 77, 82.

  Ward, J., 38, 289, 323.

  Washburn, M. F., 41.

  Watson, J. B., 41.

  Weber, E. H., 68 f.

  Wells, H. G., 2.

  Whewell, W., 40.

  Whistler, J. McN., 296.

  Woodworth, R. S., 41, 72.

  Wundt, W., 26, 41, 72, 88 f., 111, 143, 229, 260, 288, 306, 334, 349.

  Yerkes, A. W., 41.

  Yerkes, R. M., 41.

                           INDEX OF SUBJECTS

  Absolute impression, 125, 285.

  Abstract idea, 263 ff.

  Abstraction, nature of, 280;
    experiments on, 249 f., 280 ff.;
    laws of, 280 f., 349.

  Accommodation, sensations of, 128.

  Ache, 64.

  Action, distinguished from movement, 231;
    psychological problem of, 231 f., 258;
    typical, 233 ff.;
    impulsive, 234 f., 244 f.;
    studied in the reaction experiment, 236 ff.;
    varies with shift of emphasis in instruction, 242, 252;
    sensorimotor and ideomotor, 243, 251;
    artificial and physiological reflex, 243 f., 251;
    primitive, 244 f., 258;
    selective, 246 ff.;
    by ‘trial and error,’ 247 f.;
    volitional, 249 ff.;
    alleged determination of, by pleasure and pain, 257 f.

  Activity, ascribed by common sense to mind, 6 f., 91 f., 146, 258.

  Adaptation, visual, 61;
    olfactory, 51, 63.

  Æsthetic sentiments, 299 f., 301 f.

  After-image, visual negative, 62, 74;
    positive, 74, 133;
    of memory, 74.

  Amnesia, hypnotic, 342 f.

  Anæsthesia, kinæsthetic, 46;
    in hypnosis, 342 f.

  Analysis, psychological, 15 f., 112;
    tested by synthesis and repeated analysis, 16 f.;
    of perception and idea, 114 ff., 125, 125 f.;
    of recognition, 177 ff.;
    of emotion, 215 f.;
    of a typical action, 234 f.;
    of expectation, 272 ff.;
    of intellectual attitudes, 274 f.

  Animals, psychology of, 12 ff., 32, 51, 134, 219 f., 247, 267.

  Antagonism, retinal, 59 f., 61, 63.

  Antithesis, Darwin’s principle of, 223.

  Apprehension, direct, 181 f.;
    disturbance of, 182 f.

  Association, the doctrine of, derives from Aristotle, 145 ff.;
    ‘laws’ of, 146 f., 168, 175;
    agreeable to common sense, 146 ff., 203;
    has done psychological service, 148;
    works with meanings, 149, 162, 163 f., 168;
    regards course of ideas too intellectually, 161 f., 258;
    successive, 161 f.;
    regards action too emotionally, 258.

  Attention, common-sense view of, 91;
    description of, 91 f.;
    implies shift of vividness, 91 f., 93 f.;
    a pattern of processes, 92, 99, 109;
    psychological problem of, 93;
    development of, 93 ff., 98 f.;
    primary, and its determinants, 94 f., 101, 195;
    secondary, 95 ff., 101 f.;
    derived primary, 97 f., 102;
    two or more levels of, 99 ff., 108 f.;
    feeling in, 101 f.;
    kinæsthesis in, 101 f.;
    normal to waking life, 102 f.;
    range of visual, 103;
    range of auditory, 103 f.;
    duration of, 104 f.;
    bodily changes in secondary, 105 f.;
    ‘sensory’ and ‘intellectual,’ 106;
    nervous correlate of, 106 ff., 164, 166, 249 f.;
    proposed definitions of, 110;
    necessary to mental connection, 163 ff.;
    implies a general nervous disposition, 166;
    necessary to start of practice, 169 f.;
    in remembrance, 190;
    in recollection, 190 f.;
    in imagination, 197 ff.;
    direction of, in simple reaction, 240;
    levels of, in reaction experiment, 254;
    in thought, 262;
    in expectation, 273;
    in emotion and sentiment, 290.

  Attitudes, mental, 271 ff.;
    psychological status of, 272, 275;
    in dreams, 338.

  Attributes of sensation, 60, 67, 92;
    and types of perception, 121 ff.

  Autosuggestion, 344.

  Awareness, irrelevant to psychology, 324 ff.

  Beats, 55.

  Behaviour, as index of mind, 12 ff.;
    two types of animal, 203 f.

  Black, a contrast-effect, 61.

  Blend, see Fusion.

  Blind, psychological world of the, 130 f.

  Brain, not the ‘organ of mind,’ 10;
    evidence of its correlation with mind, 11 f.;
    responsible for sensation of grey, 59;
    associates, 149, 168;
    a complex and plastic machine, 150.

  Brain-habit, in perception and idea, 115 ff., 131;
    in perceptions of time, 123;
    in perception of distance, 129 f., 131;
    in perception of visual movement, 133 f.;
    in optical illusion, 137;
    in direct apprehension, 182 f.;
    in memory, 185;
    in imagination, 195.

  Catalepsy, 342 ff.

  Cataplexy, 344.

  Change, perception of, 132 f., 160.

  Chess, blindfold, 265.

  Chroma, 57.

  Coincidences, law of, 98.

  Cold, sensation of, 43 f., 64;
    paradoxical, 44 f.;
    in sense-feelings, 82.

  Colour, sensations of, 57;
    all simple, 57 f.;
    mixture of stimuli, 57, 59 f., 63;
    contrast of, 61;
    adaptation to, 61, 63;
    after-images of, 62;
    memory-colours, 63, 75;
    in sense-feelings, 81.

  Colour, of tones, 54, 294.

  Colour-blindness, normal, 58, 62;
    congenital, 58 f.

  Coloured hearing, 76 f.

  Comedy, 302, 305.

  Common factor, in intellectual responses, 310 f.

  Common sense, thinks in terms of value, 1;
    and of self, 2, 311;
    its mixed origin, 4, 308, 311;
    its view of mind, 5 ff., 17, 321;
    of the relation of mind to body, 6 ff., 10 f.;
    seeks to interpret or explain, 8, 65, 146, 148, 202, 213, 258;
    its view of physical and psychological method, 21 f., 39;
    in psychology of touch, 48;
    distinguishes sensation and image, 73;
    rightly opposes ‘pleasure’ and ‘pain,’ 80;
    its view of attention, 91, 166;
    of the association of ideas, 146 f., 203;
    of recognition, 184;
    of instinct, 203, 213;
    of self, 22, 189, 308 f., 309 f., 311 f., 315;
    reads ‘wareness’ into sensation, 324 ff.

  Comparison, need not imply image, 284 f.;
    direct and indirect, 284 f.;
    by absolute impression, 285.

  Composite photograph, 264 ff.

  Compound reactions, 252 ff., 255.

  Concept, 270 f., 281 f.

  Conjunction, a mode of connection of mental processes, 159 f., 168.

  Connection, of elementary processes, 159 f.;
    of perceptions and ideas, three types of, 160 f.;
    often involves feeling, 161 f., 258, 271;
    law of mental, 162 ff., 166 f., 168;
    depends on attention, 163, 165;
    and situational context, 165 ff.;
    is usually a marriage by proxy, 167, 185.

  Consciousness, two meanings of term, 324;
    hence misleading, 324 ff.;
    double, in hypnosis, 346.

  Constructive imagination, 198 ff.

  Context, the psychological equivalent of meaning, 118 f.;
    in perception, 114 f., 117, 121, 131, 165, 167;
    in idea, 116 f., 121, 165, 167;
    situational, 166 ff.

  Contiguity, ‘law’ of association by, 147, 168 f.

  Contrast, visual, 61;
    olfactory, 63.

  Convergence, sensations of, 127;
    convergence of associative tendencies, 158 f., 162, 197, 199.

  Correlation, of brain and mind, 10 ff., 17;
    studied by psychology, 17 f., 113, 231;
    in general, replaces causation and interpretation, in work of
        science, 327, 331.

  Curiosity, 205 f., 301 f.

  Demonstrative gesture, 268.

  Depth, perception of, see Distance, perception of.

  Description, the business of science, 8, 14, 331;
    implies analysis, 17.

  Desire, 256 f.

  Differential psychology, 31 f., 309.

  Discrimination, experiments on, 254, 283 ff.

  Distance, perception of visual, 125 ff.;
    secondary cues to, 126 f.;
    kinæsthetic sensations in, 127 ff.;
    rôle of binocular vision in, 128;
    rests upon a brain-habit, 129 f., 131;
    perception of tactual, 130 f.;
    illusion of, 135.

  Dizziness, 56, 64.

  Double consciousness, in hypnosis, 346.

  Dream, 76, 78, 336 ff.;
    pattern of, 336, 340 f.;
    processes of, 336 f.;
    nervous correlate of, 337 f., 339 f., 341;
    origination of, 338;
    compared with waking state, 338 f.;
    hallucinatory character of, 340;
    not prophetic, 341;
    interpreted as wish-fulfilment, 341.

  Dual division, tendency to, 205 f., 211, 276, 278.

  Duration of sensation, 66, 122 f.;
    determinant of sense-feelings, 82;
    as basis of temporal perceptions, 122 ff.;
    duration of attention, 104 f.;
    of mood, 227, 255.

  Ear, organ of hearing, 51 ff., 55 f.;
    of equilibrium, 56.

  Effort, sensation of, 46.

  Elements, mental, 15 f., 18, 90, 117;
    sensations, 65;
    simple images, 78;
    simple feelings, 79;
    meaningless, 90;
    modes of connection of, 159 f.;
    are not awarenesses, 324 ff.

  Emotion, analysis of, 215 f.;
    issues from a determination, 216;
    organic sensations in, 216, 218 ff., 290;
    classification of, 216 f.;
    James-Lange theory of, 218 ff.;
    expression of, 222 ff., 268;
    primary, 228;
    and instinct, 207, 211, 216, 219.

  Empathy, 198;
    in optical illusion, 137 f.;
    in imagination, 198, 200;
    instinctive tendency toward, 205 f., 211;
    in emotion, 215;
    in hearing of tones, 284 f.;
    mediated by sentiment, 293;
    as basis of moral or social sentiments, 301;
    in æsthetic sentiment, 302.

  Expectation, analysis of, 272 ff.

  Experiment, 22 ff.;
    its relation to observation, 22 f.;
    instance of a psychological, 23 ff.

  Explanation, demand for, not scientific, 327;
    see Common sense

  Expression, of sense-feelings, 82 ff.;
    of secondary attention, 105 f.;
    of emotion, 222 ff., 268;
    of sentiment, 291;
    intention of, in music, 135.

  Extension, sensory, 66, 124;
    as basis of spatial perception, 124.

  Eye, sensations from, 56 ff.;
    a photographic camera, 58;
    structure of daylight, 59;
    of twilight, 60;
    central blindness of twilight, 60;
    normal colour-blindness of daylight, 58, 62;
    adaptation of, 61 f.;
    as organ of space-perception, 128.

  Eye-and-ear method, 236 f.

  Facial expression, 222, 223 f., 228, 274.

  Familiarity, feeling of, 178 f., 190 f., 200;
    derivation of, 179, 195;
    lapses to of-course feeling, 181 f.;
    makes an idea a memory-idea, 184;
    and feeling of validity, 279.

  Fatigue, as muscular sensation, 46, 172;
    as sense-feeling, 172;
    not an index of inefficiency, 172;
    disadvantage of, in psychological observation, 172;
    no single test of, 172 f.;
    mental and muscular, probably the same, 173.

  Feeling, simple, as pleasant and unpleasant, 79, 81 f., 83;
    relation of, to sensation, 79 f., 87 f.;
    method of observing, 80;
    opposition of, 80 f.;
    falls under Weber’s law, 81;
    nervous correlate of, 84, 86;
    biological theory of, 84 ff., 172;
    of familiarity, 178 f., 190 f., 200;
    of of-course, 181 f.;
    in memory, 188 f.;
    in connections of ideas, 161 f., 271;
    of strangeness, 194 f., 198 ff.;
    of validity, 279;
    relational, 279;
    not necessarily a self-experience, 317, 321;
    in dreams, 337, 341.

  Feeling-attitude, 271, 291 f.;
    in thought, 279;
    variety of, 293 ff., 300;
    likeness of, in different situations, 300;
    in dreams, 337.

  Freemasonry of artists, 293.

  Fusion, in perception of heat, 44 f.;
    of cutaneous and kinæsthetic qualities, 47;
    of tastes, 49;
    of smells, 49;
    of taste, touch and smell, 48, 159;
    of tones, 54, 122, 159;
    of organic sensations, 64, 159;
    of feeling and sensation, 81, 90, 319;
    hypothetical, of vision and kinæsthesis, in space-perception, 129;
    a mode of connection of mental processes, 159, 168;
    and synergy of brain-processes, 160.

  General factor, in intellectual response, 310 f.

  Generalisation, nature of, 280;
    experiments on, 282 f.

  Genius, 198.

  Gesture, 222, 224;
    definition of, 268;
    language of, 267 ff.;
    and origin of speech, 269 f.

  Grey, neutral, a brain-sensation, 59;
    physiologically mixed with all visual processes, 59 ff.;
    the final term of adaptation, 61.

  Growth and decay, law of mental, 183, 211, 233.

  Habit, 96, 99, 311;
    formation of, 170 f.;
    disadvantage of, in psychological observation, 171 f.;
    pattern of processes in, 171 f.;
    Darwin’s principle of serviceable associated, 223;
    of psychological observation, 329 f.;
    hypnotic, 348.

  Habitual images, 77 f., 265 f., 270.

  Hallucination, 76, 78, 340.

  Heat, perception of, 44 f.

  Hue, 57.

  Hunger, 64 f.

  Hypnosis, instinctive origin of, 335, 341;
    generalised picture of, 342;
    symptoms of, 342 f.;
    liability to, 343 f.;
    function of operator in, 344 f.;
    methods of, 344;
    therapeutic value of, 347 f.;
    habit of, 348;
    relation of, to will, 343;
    change of perception in, 342, 348 f.

  Idea, analysis of typical, 116 f.;
    made up of core and context, 116 f., 121, 165, 167;
    meaning in, 117 ff.;
    varying complexity of, 121;
    types of, 138 ff., 154, 166 f., 197;
    association of ideas, 145 ff.;
    idea of associationism is a meaning, 149, 162, 163 f., 168;
    situational context of ideas, 166 ff.;
    the memory-idea, 184 ff.;
    the idea of imagination, 194 ff.;
    empathic, peculiarity of, 198;
    abstract, 263 ff.

  Ideas, community of, 296.

  Ideomotor action, 243, 251.

  Illusion, perceptive, 135 ff.;
    arrow head and feather, 136 ff.;
    of memory, 186, 188 f.;
    of recognition, 187 f.

  Image, simple, probably not distinguishable from sensation, 73 ff.,
        78, 90, 184;
    after-image, 62, 74, 78;
    memory after-image, 74, 78;
    memory colour, 63, 75, 78;
    recurrent, 75, 78;
    tied, 75, 78, 87;
    of later origin than sensation, 75;
    variable with the individual, 75 f., 78, 138 ff., 166 f., 185;
    hallucinatory, 76, 78, 340;
    dream, 76, 78, 336 f., 340;
    synæsthetic, 76 f., 78;
    habitual, 77 f., 265 f., 270;
    free, of memory and imagination, 77 f., 120, 184 ff., 195 ff.;
    complex, 78, 197;
    relative frequency of, in different sense-departments, 78 f.;
    in perception and idea, 114 ff.;
    and meaning, 120, 271;
    of recognition, 184, 273;
    typical, 266, 282;
    verbal, peculiarity of, 271;
    of expectation, 273;
    of comparison, 284 f.

  Imagery, types of, 138 ff., 154, 166 f.;
    outward signs of, 140;
    utility of, 141, 195 f.;
    translation of, in memory, 166 f., 185 f.;
    stability of, in imagination, 195 ff.;
    in thought, 265 f.

  Imagination, implies feeling of strangeness, 194 f., 198 f., 200;
    idea of, conservative, 195 ff.;
    idiosyncratic, 197;
    pattern of, 197 ff.;
    receptive, 197 f.;
    constructive, 198 ff.;
    characterised by empathy and feeling of strangeness, 198, 200;
    and memory, 200;
    and thought, 275 f., 279 f., 300.

  Impulsive action, analysis of, 234 f.

  Inattention, 102 f.

  Index of change, 132.

  Inhibition, nervous, in attention, 106 ff., 164, 249 f.;
    initial and terminal, of associative tendencies, 157 f.;
    of instincts, 209.

  Initial inhibition, 157 f.

  Instinct, popular view of, 203;
    definition of, 204;
    rôle of, in life of man, 205, 207;
    list of human instincts, 205 ff.;
    biological characters of, 208 ff.;
    psychological characters of, 210 ff.;
    and reason, 203, 207, 210, 301;
    and emotion, 207, 211, 216, 219.

  Instruction, 96 f., 214;
    significance of, for action, 240 ff., 252;
    negative, 250, 253.

  Intellectual attitudes, 271 f.;
    analysis of, 274 f.

  Intellectual ‘common factor,’ 310 f.

  Intellectual sentiments, 297 f., 299 f.;
    and curiosity, 301.

  Intensity of sensation, 66, 67 ff.;
    and vividness, 92;
    as determinant of attention, 94;
    does not found a group of intensive perceptions, 125;
    absolute impression of, 125, 285;
    of feeling, in passion, 225 f., 304;
    in classification of temperament, 227.

  Interest, acquired, 97 f., 226;
    in attention, 101;
    natural, 207, 226.

  Introspection, as method of psychology, 22;
    formula of, 19, 22, 80;
    difficulties of, 20 ff.;
    experimental,23 ff.;
    of feeling, 80.

  Itch, 44.

  Judgement, borrowed from social surroundings, 262 f., 291 f.;
    terminus of thought, 276;
    has no definite pattern, 279;
    core of sentiment, 290.

  Kinæsthetic sensations, 45 ff.;
    meaning of term, 46;
    blend with cutaneous sensations, 47 f.;
    play a large part in perception, 65;
    fall under Weber’s law, 68, 135;
    enter into sense-feelings, 81 f., 319;
    in attention, 101 f.;
    as vehicle of meaning, 119 f., 140;
    in visual perception of distance, 127 ff.;
    empathic, in optical illusion, 137 f.;
    imitative, in memory, 190 ff., 200;
    empathic, in imagination, 198;
    in motor reaction, 241;
    in expectation, 273.

  Knowledge, problem of, foreign to psychology, 324 ff.

  Language, serves practical needs, 36, 313, 321;
    relation of, to thought, 266 ff.;
    spoken, originally gesture, 269 f.;
    development of, 270;
    unsafe guide to psychology of sentiment, 297;
    embodies a theory of the self, 313, 316, 321 ff.;
    disadvantages of, for science, 36, 321 ff.;
    an unreliable index of mental process, 323.

  Learning, 150 f., 152, 154 f.;
    implies attention, 163 ff.;
    importance of psychological situation for, 163 f., 165 f.;
    and mnemonics, 193 f.

  Light, sensations of, 56 f.;
    all lights psychologically simple, 57;
    contrast of, 61, 63;
    adaptation to, 61;
    after-images of, 62, 133;
    intensity of, falls under Weber’s law, 68;
    in sense-feelings, 81.

  Man, inner, of common sense, 7;
    ‘man left in,’ of psychology, 9, 10 f., 17 f., 19, 307.

  Marriage by proxy, of ideas, 166 f., 185.

  Matter, 9.

  Meaning, not a scientific term, 4, 26, 325;
    may be stripped from process, 26 f.;
    added to process, 27;
    disjoined from process in time, 27 f.;
    different, may attach to same process, 28 f.;
    same, may attach to different processes, 29;
    not covariant with process, 29 f.;
    of touch-blends, 47 f.;
    of organic complexes, 65;
    does not inhere in mental elements, 90;
    not to be confused with sensory vividness, 93;
    of perception and idea, 113, 117 ff., 123, 127;
    psychologically regarded, is context, 118 f.;
    carried by kinæsthesis and organic sensations, 119 f., 140;
    older than free image, 120;
    carried physiologically, 120 f., 129 f., 181, 316;
    in perceptions of time, 123;
    in perceptions of space, 123, 127, 129 f., 133 f.;
    in doctrine of association, 147 f., 149, 162, 163 f., 168;
    and memory-idea, 185 f., 197;
    of words, 150, 164, 269 f.;
    in verbal image, 271;
    in mental attitudes, 272;
    of self, 315, 318 f.

  Melody, perception of, 134 f.

  Memory, implies recognition, 177;
    common-sense view of memory-image, 184, 185 f.;
    image need not appear, 184;
    turns upon feeling of familiarity, 184 f.;
    idea of, does not copy past experience, 185 f.;
    illusions of, 186, 188 f.;
    pattern of, 189 ff.;
    as remembrance, 190;
    as recollection, 190 f.;
    characterised by familiarity and imitative kinæsthesis, 192, 200;
    artificial, 192 ff.;
    and imagination, 195, 200;
    proposed definitions of, 201;
    in old age, 282.

  Memory after-image, 74, 78.

  Memory-colour, 63, 75.

  Memory-image, 77 f., 120, 184 ff.

  Mental processes, nature of, 20 f., 90;
    relation of, to meaning, 26 ff., 30, 47 f., 90;
    contextual, 118 f., 241, 265, 270, 273;
    not reliably indicated by movement, 232 f., 323;
    not intrinsically self-experiences, 316 f., 320 f.

  Method, of psychology, 18 ff.;
    eye-and-ear, 236 f.;
    of trial and error, 247;
    of reaction, 253 f.

  Mind, common-sense view of, 5 ff., 17, 321;
    scientific view of, 8 f., 307;
    relation of, to body, in common sense, 6 ff.;
    in scientific psychology, 10 ff., 17 f., 232;
    made up of processes, 20 f.;
    historical differences in attitude toward, 38 f.

  Mnemonics, principle of, 192;
    topographical, 193;
    number and rhythm in, 193;
    utility of, 193 f.

  Mood, 225 ff., 255, 304.

  Moral sentiments, 298 ff.;
    and empathy, 301.

  Motor reaction, 239 ff.

  Movement, of head and eyes in fixation, 62 f.;
    as determinant of attention, 94;
    as cue to distance, 127;
    perception of visual, 132 ff.;
    of eyes, in optical illusion, 136 f.;
    instinctive, 204 ff.;
    expressive, 222 ff.;
    differentiates plant from animal, 230 f.;
    distinguished from action, 231;
    unreliable index of mental processes, 232 f., 323;
    ‘sensations of intended movement,’ 241;
    inhibition of, in sleep, 340;
    in hypnosis, 342 f.

  Muscle sense, 45 ff.

  Music, implies intent to express, 135;
    involves transposition, 135;
    primitive, 134 f.

  Name, personal, 313.

  Naming, first stage in process of association, 160 f.

  Nausea, 64 f.

  Negative instruction, 250, 253.

  Nerve-forces, directive, 18, 96 f., 164, 205 f., 212 ff.;
    in attention, 96, 166;
    in perception and idea, 115 ff.;
    of reinforcement and inhibition, in attention, 106 ff., 164, 249 f.;
    double-acting, 109, 249 f.;
    in memory, 190;
    in imagination, 199 f.;
    in selective action, 248;
    in volitional action, 251;
    in thought, 261, 274, 275, 277.

  Nervous disposition, as vehicle of meaning, 120 f., 129 f., 131,
        133 f., 181 f., 185, 195, 243, 274, 316.

  Nervous system, functions of, 10;
    correlated with mind, 10 ff., 17 f., 232, 307;
    the ‘man left in’ of psychology, 10;
    as index of mind, 13;
    Darwin’s principle of direct action of, 223.

  Noise, sensations of, 55, 57.

  Note, musical, perception of, 122;
    analysis of, 159.

  Observation, as scientific method, 19, 331;
    formula of, 19, 22, 80;
    difficulties of, 20;
    and experiment, 22 f.

  Of-course, feeling of, 181 f.

  Organic changes, in sense-feeling, 82 ff.;
    in secondary attention, 105 f.;
    in emotion, 219 ff.

  Organic sensations, 64 f.;
    their part in emotion, 65, 216, 218 ff., 290;
    in sense-feelings, 81 f., 319;
    as vehicle of meaning, 119 f.;
    in instinct, 211;
    in sentiment, 291;
    not necessarily self-experiences, 318, 321.

  Origin of language, 269 f.

  Pain, sensation of, from skin, 43 ff.;
    from underlying tissues, 46 f.;
    organic, varieties of, 64;
    in hunger and nausea, 64;
    may be pleasant or unpleasant, 79;
    see Pleasure and pain

  Paramnesia, 187 f.

  Passion, 226, 304.

  Pathology, as aid to psychology, 26 ff., 46, 139, 314 f.

  Perception, analysis of typical, 114 ff.;
    made up of core and context, 114 f., 117, 121, 131, 165, 167;
    meaning in, 117 ff., 123, 127, 129 ff., 133 f.;
    varying complexity of, 121;
    types of, 121 ff.;
    qualitative, 122;
    temporal, 122 ff.;
    spatial, 124 f.;
    complex, 125;
    no class of intensive, 125;
    of distance, 125 ff.;
    of visual movement, 132 ff.;
    of melody, 134 f.;
    illusory, 135 ff.;
    connection of elements in, 159 f.

  Personal difference, 237.

  Personal equation, 237.

  Personalisation, tendency toward, 205, 323.

  Personality, dual and multiple, 314 f.

  Physics, leaves man out of the world, 8;
    method of, 21 f.;
    early became experimental, 25;
    suffers from bias of language, 323.

  Pitch, of tones, 52;
    of noises, 55;
    memory of absolute, 134.

  Plants, psychology of, 13 f., 31 f., 230.

  Pleasantness and unpleasantness, the qualities of simple feeling, 79,
    in memory, 188 f.

  Pleasure and pain, 79, 84 ff.;
    alleged determinants of action, 257 f.

  Post-hypnotic suggestion, 345 f.

  Pressure, sensation of, from skin, 43 ff.;
    from muscle, 46 f.;
    from joint, 46 f.;
    organic, 64;
    falls under Weber’s law, 68.

  Primitive man, mind of, 303, 313;
    primitive music, 134 f.

  Problem, of psychology, 14 ff., 18, 113, 148, 231, 258, 331;
    of attention, 93;
    of meaning, 117 f.;
    of action, 231 f., 258.

  Process, see Mental processes, Psychoneural processes

  Psychography, 309.

  Psychologist, how concerned with himself, 3;
    not a student of human nature, 3 f.;
    not adequate to the whole of his science, 31.

  Psychology, the science of mind, 2, 5;
    subject-matter of, as defined by common sense, 6 ff., 17, 34, 321;
    by science, 8 f., 329;
    leaves man in the world, 9, 307;
    takes account of nervous system, 10 ff., 17 f.;
    of animals, 12 ff., 32, 51, 134, 219 f., 247, 267;
    of plants, 13 f.,31 f., 230;
    problem of human, 14 ff., 18, 113, 148, 231, 326 f.;
    method of, 18 ff.;
    has recently become experimental, 25 f., 34;
    scope of, 30 ff., 329;
    classification of, 31 ff.;
    differential, 31 f., 309;
    immaturity of, 25 f., 34;
    difficulties of, to beginner, 34 ff., 90, 112 ff., 321 ff., 325 f.;
    definitions of, 38;
    may have begun with observation of expressive movements, 222;
    describes a generalised world, 307;
    has to do with self, 308 f.;
    has nothing to do with knowledge or awareness, 324 f.;
    in daily life, 329 f.;
    results of, are useful in practice, 4 f., 33, 232, 281, 310.

  Psychoneural processes, 164, 212.

  Psychotechnics, 33.

  Quality, of sensation, 65 f.;
    as basis of qualitative perception, 122;
    of simple feeling, 79, 81.

  Question, as stimulus to thought, 276 ff., 330.

  Rapport, hypnotic, 344 f.

  Reaction experiment, history of, 236 f., 252 ff.;
    simple form of, 238;
    aids us to analyse action, 238 f., 253;
    compound form of, 252 ff., 255;
    has not developed in accordance with classification of action,
        252 f.;
    various uses of, 253 ff.;
    association reaction, 254 f.

  Reaction method, 253 ff.

  Reaction time, 238;
    sensory and motor, 240;
    significance of, 242, 254.

  Reason, 203, 207, 210, 301.

  Receptive imagination, 197 f.

  Recognition, analysis of, 177 ff.;
    hinges on feeling of familiarity, 178, 181, 184 f., 276;
    varies in definiteness, 179 f.;
    direct and indirect, 180 f.;
    halting and partial, 181;
    lapses to direct apprehension, 181 ff.;
    common-sense view of, 184;
    illusions of, 187 f.

  Recollection, 190 f.

  Recurrent images, 75, 78.

  Reflex, artificial, 244, 251;
    physiological, 244 f.

  Reinforcement, nervous, in attention, 106 ff., 164, 249 f.

  Relational feelings and attitudes, 279.

  Religious sentiments, 299 f., 302 f.

  Remembrance, 190.

  Repetition, as determinant of attention, 94, 163;
    strengthens associative tendencies, 153, 163.

  Representative gesture, 268 f.

  Resistance, perception of, 122.

  Retina, complex structure of, 58 ff., 60, 63;
    normal colour-blindness of, in daylight, 58, 62;
    central blindness of, in twilight, 60;
    compared with olfactory membrane, 63.

  Rhythm, perception of, 123, 125, 159 f.;
    subjective, 104;
    helps to establish associative tendencies, 153;
    in mnemonics, 193.

  Saturation, of colours, 57.

  Science, has no concern with values, 1 ff., 22, 325;
    is no respecter of persons, 2 f.;
    makes impersonal and disinterested search for facts, 2 f., 4, 30 f.,
        39, 48, 275, 313, 325, 330;
    limitations of, 4, 331;
    physical and psychological, 8 f.;
    describes and does not explain, 8, 14, 37, 91;
    method of, 19, 22 f.;
    definitions of, 37;
    generalises, 307 f.;
    finds language misleading, 323;
    is built up of facts and logic, 330 f.

  Self, of common sense, 2, 22, 189, 308 f., 309 f., 311 f., 315,
        321 ff.;
    concept of, 307 ff., 318, 321 f.;
    psychological definition of, 308 f.;
    persistence of, 312 ff., 320;
    as experienced, 315 ff.;
    a meaning, 315, 318 f.

  Self-consciousness, 322 f.

  Self-experience, forms of, 316, 318 ff.;
    processes involved in, 316, 319 ff.

  Sensation, definition of, 65, 66;
    attributes of, 65 f., 67, 92;
    from skin, 43 ff.;
    from muscle, tendon, joint, 45 ff.;
    of taste and smell, 48 ff.;
    from ear, 51 ff., 56;
    from eye, 56 ff.;
    from internal organs, 64 f.;
    intensity of, 67 ff.;
    relation of, to simple image, 73 ff.;
    secondary, 74 f.;
    in perception and idea, 114 ff.;
    of accommodation and convergence, 127 f.;
    no sensation of depth, 126, 128 f., 132;
    no sensation of visual movement, 132;
    of ‘intended movement,’ 241, 273;
    of ‘future occurrence,’ 273.

  Sense-feeling, blend of sensation and feeling, 81, 319;
    classification of, 81 f., 212, 216 f.;
    variety of, 82;
    opposition of, 82;
    in attention, 101 f.;
    in connections of ideas, 161 f., 271;
    in recognition, 178;
    in instinct, 212;
    in wish and desire, 256 f.;
    uniformities of, 296.

  Sense-organs, their importance for psychology, 17 f.;
    of skin, 43 f.;
    of muscle, tendon, joint, 47;
    of taste, 49;
    of smell, 49 f., 63;
    of hearing, 55 f.;
    of equilibrium, 56;
    of sight, 58 ff., 63.

  Sensorimotor action, 243, 251.

  Sensory reaction, 239 ff.

  Sentiment, nature of, 290;
    instances of, 291;
    a rare experience, 291;
    lapses to feeling-attitude, 292;
    empathy by, 293;
    and sentimentality, 295 f.;
    forms of, 297 ff.;
    runs in threes, 297;
    pattern of, 300;
    means of studying, 300 ff.

  Short-cuts, nervous, in perception, 123, 127;
    in practice, 170;
    in action, 245 f., 252;
    in thought, 286.

  Similarity, ‘law’ of association by, 147.

  Situation, importance of the psychological, in learning, 163 f.,
        165 f.;
    attentional, 165 f., 261;
    connection of ideas within, 166;
    connection of ideas belonging to different situations, 167 f.;
    in emotion, 216, 290;
    in thought, 276 ff.;
    social, 298 f.;
    religious, 299;
    in sentiment, 290, 300 ff.

  Skin, sensations from, 43 ff., 47;
    borrows from underlying tissues, 45, 47 f.

  Sleep, instinctive origin of, 335 f.;
    walking and talking in, 336, 340.

  Smell, sensations of, 48 ff.;
    blends of, with taste and touch, 48;
    blends of odorous qualities, 49;
    disused but not degenerate, 50 f.;
    arithmetic by, 51;
    adaptation to, 51, 63;
    contrast of, 63;
    mixture of stimuli, 63;
    comparison of, with sight, 63;
    in tensity of, falls under Weber’s law, 68;
    in sense-feelings, 81.

  Social sentiments, 298 ff.;
    and empathy, 301.

  Somnambulism, 342.

  Space, psychological problem of, 124 f.;
    short-cuts to meaning of, 123, 127;
    perceptions of, show conjunction of mental processes, 159 f.

  State of consciousness, a misleading phrase, 21.

  Stereoscope, 128.

  Stimulus, a technical term in experimental psychology, 24;
    the ‘biological’ stimuli to attention, 95, 165;
    ‘situational’ stimuli, 165 f.

  Strain, sensation of, 46.

  Strangeness, feeling of, 194 f.;
    derivation of, 195;
    makes an idea into an idea of imagination, 195.

  Stroboscope, 133.

  Style, literary, sentiment of, 294 ff.

  Subconsciousness, definition of, 326;
    an explanatory concept, 326;
    unnecessary and dangerous, 327 f.;
    but has proved useful in practice, 328.

  Subject-matter of psychology, 5 ff., 113 f., 326.

  Suggestion, 213 f., 242, 252, 348 f.;
    in volitional action, 250 f.  hypnotic, 342 f., 348 f.;
    post-hypnotic or terminal, 345 f.;
    perceptive, 348 f.

  Syllables, meaningless, experimental use of, 151, 152 ff., 155, 163 f.

  Sympathy, as basis of moral or social sentiment, 301.

  Synæsthesia, 76 f., 78.

  Synthesis, a test of analysis, 16 f.

  Taste, sensations of, 48 f.;
    blend of sweet and salt, 49;
    blends of taste, smell, and touch, 48;
    in sense-feelings, 81;
    perceptions of, 122;
    and expression of emotion, 223 f.

  Temperament, 226 f., 304.

  Temperature, sensations of, 43 ff.

  Tendencies, associative, 150, 327;
    studied by use of meaningless syllables, 151, 152;
    by use of meaningful material, 152, 154 f., 156 ff.;
    conditions of their establishment, 152 ff., 155 f., 164 f.;
    decay of, 156 f., 266 f.;
    interference of, 157 f.;
    convergence of, 158 f., 162, 197, 199;
    in paramnesia, 187;
    and mnemonics, 193 f.;
    and typical images, 266 f.;
    in dreams, 338 f.

  Tendencies, determining, 212, 327;
    their relation to suggestion, 213 f.;
    in action, 234 f., 246 ff., 258;
    studied by reaction method, 253;
    in emotion, 216;
    in thought, 276 ff.;
    intellectual ‘common factor,’ 310 f.;
    in dreams, 338 f.

  Tendencies, instinctive, to forms of ‘thing’ and ‘space,’ 115, 124,
        129, 205, 276;
    to express and communicate, 135, 268;
    list of human, 205 ff.;
    to dual division, 205, 211, 276, 278;
    in sentiment, 300 ff.;
    to personalisation, 205, 323;
    in sleep, 335.

  Tendencies, nervous, shape perception and idea, 115 ff., 124 f.;
    see Nerve-forces

  Terminal inhibition, 157 f.;
    suggestion, 345 f.

  Tests, mental, 310.

  Thought, general character of, 261 f.;
    true thought rare, 262 f.;
    imaginal processes in, 263 ff.;
    relation of language to, 266 ff.;
    and mental attitudes, 271 ff.;
    pattern of, 275 ff., 283, 286;
    relation of, to imagination, 275 f., 279 f., 300;
    in dreams, 339.

  Tickle, 44.

  Tied images, 75, 78, 87.

  Timbre, 54.

  Time, and sense-feelings, 52, 217 f.;
    perception of, 122 f.;
    short-cuts to meaning of, 123;
    in dreams, 338 f.

  Tint, 57.

  Tonality, 52, 134.

  Tones, simple and compound, 51 f., 122;
    characters of, 52 f.;
    fundamental and overtones, 53 f., 122, 159;
    colour or timbre of, 54;
    fusion of, 54;
    differential, 54 f.;
    beating of, 55;
    in sense-feelings, 81.

  Tragedy, 302, 305.

  Traits, mental, 310.

  Trial and error, method of, 247.

  Tropism, 245.

  Utility, not the aim of science, 1, 4, 30, 38, 325;
    nor the test of truth, 328;
    but results of science are useful, 1 f., 4 f., 38, 331.

  Value, not a scientific term, 1, 4, 22, 30, 325, 331.

  Vividness, of sensation, 66, 92;
    shift of, in attention, 91 f., 93;
    not to be confused with intensity, 92 f.;
    or with clearness of meaning, 93;
    levels of, in attention, 99 ff.;
    inverse relation of focal and marginal, 100, 108 f.;
    nervous correlate of, 107, 109.

  Vocality, of simple tones, 52 f.

  Volume, of tones, 52;
    perception of crude spatial, due to brain-habit, 130 f.

  Warmth, sensation of, 43 ff., 64;
    in sense-feelings, 82.

  Weber’s law, 67 f., 81, 135;
    usefulness of, 68 f.

  Will, definition of, 255;
    types of, 256;
    in relation to hypnosis, 343, 347.

  Wish, 256 f.;
    alleged fulfilment of, in dreams, 341.

  Word-reaction, 254 f.

  Words, experiment on perception of, 23 ff.;
    are ingrained meanings, 150, 164, 269 f., 316;
    induce secondary images, 186;
    logical order of, psychologically misleading, 191;
    danger of technical terms, 213;
    always had derivative or symbolic meaning, 270;
    relating to self, misleading, 322 f.

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