A Hundred Years of Psychology, 1833-1933

By J. C. Flugel | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
FURTHER STUDIES IN SENSATION

IN our last chapter we studied the work carried on in the "home" of experimental psychology in the important first two decades when the new science was on trial. From Leipzig Wundt's students went out to carry on the work in other quarters of the world. But before we follow these adventures, we must pause a little while to study the contemporary developments in Germany--for, although Leipzig was beyond all doubt the centre of the new work, it had by no means an exclusive monopoly, even in the early days. Before 1879 experimental psychology had largely come into being in the laboratories of physiologists. This work still to some extent continued. While, quite apart from Wundt's tradition (though of course not uninfluenced by it) there arose in the seventies and eighties one or two important figures who were quite definitely and primarily experimental psychologists, at least during a part of their lives or as regards a part of their endeavours.

We may begin with the physiology of sensation. There were at least four major events in this sphere during the period 1860-1900, outside the work of Helmholtz and of Wundt. Three of them were, however, primarily concerned with theory rather than with the discovery of new facts, and two of these were in the field of vision. In 1866 M. Schultze discovered the separate function of the rods and the cones in the retina, i.e. that the rods appear to be concerned primarily with vision at low, the cones with vision at higher

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