Article ID: CBB001214433

Schumann's Wheel Tachistoscope: Its Reconstruction and Its Operation (2014)


Stock, Armin (Author)

History of Psychology
Volume: 17, no. 2
Issue: 2
Pages: 149-158

Publication Date: 2014
Edition Details: Part of a special section, “On the Occasion of the Centenary of Max Wertheimer's Article on the “Phi Phenomenon””
Language: English

In the fall and winter of 1910, Max Wertheimer (1880--1943) performed his famous experiments on perceived motion, published in 1912. Besides slider experiments he mainly used a wheel tachistoscope developed by Friedrich Schumann (1863--1940) at the end of the 19th century. The Adolf-Wuerth-Center for the History of Psychology has several wheel tachistoscopes in its collection of instruments. Their provenance can be traced back to the Institute of Psychology of the University of Frankfurt and the University of Zurich. It is very plausible that Wertheimer, who performed his experiments at the Frankfurt Institute, used one of them. But the wheel tachistoscope alone is not sufficient to reconstruct Wertheimer's original experiments. As always, the devil is in the details. Wertheimer's descriptions of the necessary accessories, a prism, a viewing device, and an electric motor to move the wheel, are rather sparse. This article describes the results of a search for traces in the literature, in archives, and in literary depositories to shed some light on Wertheimer's experimental equipment. As a result, it was possible to reconstruct the entire apparatus and to obtain the same optical impressions with the reconstructed devices as Wertheimer's observers reported. In addition, one of his results was replicated with new participants exactly 100 years after its first publication. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)

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Article Wertheimer, Michael (2014) Max Wertheimer Centennial Celebration in Germany. History of Psychology (pp. 129-130). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Werthheimer, Michael
King, D. Brett
Ash, Mitchell G.
Staubermann, Klaus B.
Keller, Heidi
Crochetière, Kevin
History of Psychology
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Social Research
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Rittenhouse: Journal of the American Scientific Instrument Enterprise
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
Harvester, Wheatsheaf
Transaction Publishers
Monsenstein und Vannerdat
Birkhäuser Basel
Scientific apparatus and instruments
Experimental psychology
Gestalt psychology
Physiological psychology
Wertheimer, Max
Köhler, Wolfgang
Wundt, Wilhelm Max
Koffka, Kurt
Husserl, Edmund
Freud, Anna
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
21st century
Central Europe: Germany, Austria, Switzerland
Leipzig (Germany)
Clark University
National Taiwan University
University of Edinburgh

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