Psychologische Forschung

, Volume 22, Issue 3–4, pp 320–342 | Cite as

On visual speed

  • Dorwin Cartwright


According toJ. F. Brown the dependence of visual speed on field factors is principally due to influences which such field factors exert on phenomenal time.K. Koffka has pointed out that the same dependence may be due to variations of the spatial threshold in fields of different properties. In this paper experiments have been reported which in two cases decide in favor ofKoffka's explanation. This explanation is likely to be applicable to further instances. — Some ofBrown's own experimental results appear to be incompatible with his theory.


Paper Experiment Field Factor Visual Speed Spatial Threshold Phenomenal Time 
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J. F. Brown erklärt die Abhängigkeit gesehener Geschwindigkeiten von Feldfaktoren durch entsprechende Variationen im Gebiet der phänomenalen Zeit.K. Koffka hat darauf aufmerksam gemacht, daß die gleichen Tatbestände auf Abhängigkeit der Raumschwelle von Feldfaktoren beruhen könnten. Die vorliegende Arbeit berichtet über Versuche, die in zwei Fällen zugungsten vonKoffkas Erklärung entscheiden. Wahrscheinlich kann diese Erklärung auf andere Fälle ausgedehnt werden. —Brown selbst hat Versuche angestellt, deren Ausfall mit seiner Theorie unvereinbar erscheint.


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  1. 2.
    Brown, J. F.: Psychol. Forsch.10, 84f. (1927);14, 199f. (1931). — In the following these papers will be referred to as (Brown I) and (Brown II), or as (I) and (II).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Cf., for instance,O. Zoth: inNagels Handbuch der Physiologie des Menschen III, Bd. 2, S. 381. 1905.Google Scholar
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    The absolute sizes of the openings seem to have little influence on the ratio of the phenomenal speeds in these openings if the ratio of their linear dimensions is kept constant. (Cf.Brown I, 92).Google Scholar
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    Brown II; 223.Google Scholar
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    We should perhaps mention that both our discussion and our experiments involve at this point a slight ambiguity. It is not merely the frame which in one experimental condition is horizontal, in the other vertical. With the orientation of the frame we change the spatial direction in which we measure the threshold. It seems possible to separate these factors. If, for instance, the threshold were measured in a square it might still be found greater in the horizontal than in the vertical direction, although now the difference between a vertical and a horizontal frame would have disappeared. Such experiments ought to be conducted under two conditions as to the nature of the square: once within an objective square and once in a figure that appears phenomenally as a perfect square. Instead of a square a circle might also be taken as a frame.Google Scholar
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    Cf.Brown II, 224f.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1938

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorwin Cartwright
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychological Laboratory of Swarthmore CollegeSwarthmoreUSA

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