Psychological Research

, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 233–239

F. Hegelmaier: On memory for the length of a line

  • Donald Laming
  • Janet Laming

DOI: 10.1007/BF01358261

Cite this article as:
Laming, D. & Laming, J. Psychol. Res (1992) 54: 233. doi:10.1007/BF01358261


A very early student project undertaken by Friedrich Hegelmaier (1833–1906), published in German in 1852, is republished in English translation. Slight though the experimental work is, it nevertheless occupies a unique place in the history of experimental psychology. It is the source whence Fechner had the method of constant stimuli, a method that continued in use as the preferred psychophysical method, substantially in the form described here, for more than a century. The experiment is arguably the first experiment in the modern sense of a systematic preplanned body of observations and has the glaring faults that one would expect in a very first experiment. Finally, Hegelmaier suggests the use of two simultaneous tasks as a means to investigate human performance, a full hundred years before that idea was realized in practice. If only he had continued in experimental psychology!

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Laming
    • 1
  • Janet Laming
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.The Voltaire FoundationUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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