The Language of Wisdom and Folly: Background Readings in Semantics

By Irving J. Lee | Go to book overview

An Experimental Study of the Effect of Language on the Reproduction of Visually Perceived Form

L. CARMICHAEL, H. P. HOGAN, AND A. A. WALTER


II
SPECIFIC PROBLEM AND METHODS OF EXPERIMENTATION

In the investigation here reported an effort was made to direct experimentally the changes in the reproduction of visually perceived form by the use of language. One set of twelve relatively ambiguous figures was prepared. (See Chart I.) Two names were assigned to each of these figures (Word List I and Word List II). The same visual figure was presented to all subjects, but one list of names was given to the figures when they were presented to one group of subjects, and the other list of names was given to the figures when they were presented to a second group of subjects. A small control group was also used to whom the forms were presented without the assignment of any name.

The apparatus used in presenting the visual forms was a modification of the Ranschburg memory apparatus, similar to that described by Gibson.2 The twelve stimulus-figures were drawn in black upon a white cardboard disk 19 cm in diameter. The disk was divided into 30 sectors and a figure was drawn upon every other sector. At the end of the series a space of 7 empty sectors occurred before the series repeated itself. The exposure apparatus was operated by an electrically activated pendulum. The experimenter sat at one side of the table on which the

____________________
1
From Journal of Experimental Psychology, Vol. 15, No. 1, February, 1932, pp. 74- 82. Reprinted by permission.
2
J. J. Gibson, "The Reproduction of Visually Perceived Forms," Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1929, Vol. XII, p. 6.

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The Language of Wisdom and Folly: Background Readings in Semantics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Part I - The Recognition of Words as Such 1
  • Everything Has a Name 3
  • The Phenomenon of Language 6
  • Symbolic Pointing 7
  • The Mobile Word 15
  • Two Types of Names 19
  • Precision in Natural Language1 23
  • Part II - The Functions and Purposes Of Language in Use 29
  • The Three Forms of Discourse 31
  • The Condition of Clarity1 41
  • The Functions of Poetry 48
  • Behavior That Language Makes Possible 57
  • Talking About the Weather 59
  • Part III - Matters of Fact, Fiction and Opinion 63
  • Matters of Fact and Opinion - George Cornewall Lewis 65
  • The Semantic Conception of Truth - Alfred Tarski 67
  • Every Man His Own Historian 71
  • Literature as Revelation 78
  • Knowledge by Definition 82
  • On the Logic of Fiction 92
  • Fictions, Hypotheses and Dogmas 101
  • Part IV - Questions and Answers 109
  • The Nature of a Question 111
  • "Footless" Questions 121
  • The How and the Why of Things 129
  • Part V - The Ambiguous Word 135
  • On Definition 137
  • Nominal and Real Definitions 139
  • How is "Exactness" Possible? 141
  • Definitions and Reality 149
  • Interpretation 160
  • Ambiguity and Its Avoidance 164
  • Part VI - The Recognition of Differences 173
  • Of General Terms 175
  • Realists and Nominalists 178
  • On Knowing the Difference 180
  • The Passion for Parsimony 184
  • The Individuality of Things and The Generality of Language 188
  • Part VII - Verbal Fascination 205
  • The Attributive Attitude - Ellis Freeman 207
  • Riefication 214
  • The Context of Associations 224
  • Part VIII - The Structural Patterns and Implications Of a Language 245
  • Perception and Language 247
  • An Experimental Study of the Effect Of Language on the Reproduction Of Visually Perceived Form 251
  • Language and Thought 262
  • Languages and Logic 273
  • Part IX - Escape from Verbalism 287
  • Sensation and Cerebration 289
  • An Address on Words and Things 295
  • Experience with Languages 305
  • Two Kinds of Knowledge1 309
  • Preparation of the Child for Science 310
  • Significs 336
  • Index 359
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