What r e-
sponse do I
Any Situation in
life which cannot
be immediately re-
â– ^Learning Curve
(ditto) ^Individual Differences ^Majority are
In a more advanced course the complete explanation of the value of
such organization of material may be given. Here it is sufficient to
point out by way of illustrations that if, when one is confronted by a
puzzling problem (situation to which he has no immediate reaction),
he will think â€” "Situation, Bond, Response," "Learning Curve," "Indi-
vidual Differences," he will very frequently find a satisfactory solution
to his difficulty. For in so doing he calls to mind many details of this
course which may throw light on his problem.
Discuss, Lesson 3 1
Review, Les. 1-32
Experiment, Les 35
Review, Les. 1-32
178 INTRODUCTORY PSYCHOLOGY FOR TEACHERS
Suppose you are the advertising manager of a Toasted Corn Flakes
Co. The problem before you is to prepare an advertisement which
will sell corn flakes. "Situation, Bond, Response" flashes into your
mind. "What's that got to do with selling corn flakes?" you ask
yourself. Then comes to mind the query, "What response do I want?"
Naturally people buying corn flakes. "What situation will bring about
such a response?" First of all, "a situation connected up already with
eatingf." "What is such a situation?" "It will soon be vacation time.
I want a vacation situation." "What will it be?" After some pondering
you think of the situation, "wife going to the country, husband eats
breakfast at home," etc. And you prepare an advertisement with a
husband eating breakfast alone at home with a package of corn flakes
on the table and a heading, "Wife's gone to the country, but this is a
Suppose again the situation is to pass on an advertisement prepared
by an artist depicting Venus de Milo and copy about the wonderful
statue and equally wonderful breakfast food. Again, "Situation, Bond,
Response" comes to mind. You ask yourself, "will this situation (the
artist's advertisement) lead naturally to the response I want, i. e., to
make people buy corn flakes?" You can't see how it will so you turn
it down. For only most far fetched reasoning can connect "Venus de
Milo" with "Corn Flakes."
Suppose you are the employer of a large number of clerks. You
have tried a young woman of superior attainments with the idea of
eventually placing her in charge of one section of your ofiice. But she
isn't making good according to your expectations. The puzzling situ-
ation confronting you this morning is whether to continue figuring on
advancing her when she has learned a little more or to hire a new
woman right away for the position. You need some one to put in
charge, right now. The learning curve flashes into mind. "Yes, she
learned rapidly at first â€” an indication of superior attainments and little
previous knowledge of the work. But she hasn't progressed for some
time â€” must be on a plateau. What's the trouble? Possibly I can straight-
en it out and she'll make good." You commence to think of the possible
causes â€” is it wrong attitude ? is she trying to advance ? doesn't she like
the work? is there something in the work she has failed to understand
which is preventing her advancement? (The thought "learning curve"
unlocks the knowledge you have about learning and makes your study
of why she is not progressing much more interesting, for you realize
that a change by you in the situation confronting her may lead to her
LivSSON 33 179
Suppose again, you are the employer of girls whose job is to do filing.
You are annoyed by the very high turn-over* in your department â€”
much higher than other departments. As you ponder over the situation,
"individual differences" comes to mind. "Yes, the individuals are
different, they stay with me a shorter time than my other employees.
The pay is less, but it is above the average for that type of work.
What's the trouble?" You investigate and find nearly all quit to get
higher pay, doing other kinds of work. Then "normal surface of
distribution" flashes to mind. "Maybe," you think, "I can hire less
intelligent women, women who can do filing but can't do more involved
things." You stop hiring bright women for this department ; instead
you hire only dull ones, but dull ones who can alphabetize accurately
It is surprising the number of baffling problems about people which
can be solved by the use of these three "formulae." And to the extent
that the habit is formed by you, the reader, of thinking from a situation
you can't solve to
( 1 ) Situation, Bond, Response.
(2) Learning Curve.
(3) Individual Differences.
to just that extent you will be enabled to utilize the contents of this
PREPARATION FOR THE REVIEW.
The next class-hour (the 33d) will be devoted to a general review
of the subject of individual differences. Spend the two hours in
reviewing the subject. The 34th class-hour will be devoted to a written
As an aid in reviewing the subject matter and in organizing it so it
will be most useful to you in after life write out opposite the three
headings (i) Situation â€” Bond â€” Response, (2) Learning Curve, and
(3) Individual Differences the significant facts you have so far learned.
LESSON 33â€” WRITTEN EXAMINATION
The next class-hour will be devoted to a written examniation.
It is not expected that you memorize the formula for obtaining the
coefficient of correlation. But you should understand how to use it
and what it means.
â€¢â– "Labor turn-over" refers to the number of employees hired during a year to do the
work of the average empolyee.
l8o INTRODUCTORY PSYCHOLOGY FOR TEACHERS
LESSON 34â€” GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO SOME PHYSIO-
LOGICAL ASPECTS OF PSYCHOLOGY
In the foregoing lessons we have considered some characteristics of
the learning process and of individual dififerences. Before going
further it will be necessary to stop and consider some physiological
aspects of learning. This must be done in order to give us a clearer
and more definite idea of some of our terms.
GENERAL PHYSIOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF THE LEARNING PROCESS.
So far in this course we have been content to describe human behavior
as a response to a situation, including in this conception the thought of
a bond which connects the situation with the response. We have now
reached a point where it is necessary to scrutinize these three terms
and see to just what they do actually refer. It is evident, when we
come to think about it, that in the case where some one says "4 and 6"
and I answer "10" that there is no material bond of any sort which
connects the "4 and 6" and the "10." A "situation" and a "response"
are not then connected together with a "bond" of iron, or wood, or of
flesh. How then are they connected together? And what is this
"bond" we have so freely talked about? In order to answer these
questions and many others of like nature we shall have to turn to the
science of physiology for help. We shall have to do this because
the process of hearing the "4 and 6" pronounced is a process depending
upon the functioning of the ear ; also my answering with the word
"ten" is a process of moving my mouth and throat ; and third, there
is a process, it is clear, by which my mouth is made to move after my
ear has been stimulated. This last process is due to the functioning of
nerve cells which connect my ear with my mouth and throat. Now
the science of physiology has for its field of investigation such phenom-
ena as these processes just mentioned and consequently if we wish to
understand them more thoroughly we shall have to study its findings.
In this digression from psychology to physiology we shall have but
three main problems before us. They are : first, what is the mechanism
by which situations stimulate us? Second, what is the mechanism for
making responses? And third, zvhat is the mechanism hy which a
situation is connected zvith its response? All of this information is
needed in order that we may understand better just how situations in
every day life can, and do, produce certain responses.
In order to get a bird's eye view of this material let us consider one
example in a general way. It is not meant that you should grasp and
understand all the details of this example, â€” they will come after the
following sections have been covered â€” but rather that you here shall ob-
tain an idea of what the whole problem is about. In Plate XXX is illus-
trated in the simplest way possible the action which results when a
pin is stuck into one's skin. "The pin being stuck into the skin of
the arm" (at B) can represent the situation; "the arm jerked away"
represented here by one muscle (C) is the response; and the two nerve
cells, one extending from B to L and the other from E to C form the
bond. When the pin is stuck into the skin one or more pain-spots in
the skin at that point are stimulated. This nervous stimulation travels
over the nerve pathway into the spinal cord. At L the current jumps
a tiny gap to the second nerve cell. The stimulation then proceeds
from the spinal cord over this second nerv^e pathway to the muscles
of the arm (represented by one muscle here). The stimulation is then
transmitted to the muscular tissue, causing it to contract and the arm
is moved away. All of the above is called a reflex act. The whole
thing is done unconsciously and actually is finished before one feels the
flat* ZXZ. SlagraiB Illustrating thÂ» sltoplest form ot raflex
aotion. The line A reureeenta the outer surface of the skin being
priolcad by a pin at the point B. D It the senaoiry nerve-fibre ex-
tending from B into the apinal cord and ending in oontaet with
branches from the aotor nerre-oellfE) . F. is the motor nerve-fibre
extending from the motor nerve-ooll(B). to the umeole (C). G ia
the white area In the spinal oord and E the grey mEtter. K ia tha
sensory nerre-cell of, whiohD. is apart.
Stiomlatlon at B passes over the sensory nerve-fibre to L,
twtpa the gap to the siotor -cell fÂ£) and then passes, over the Dctcr
nerve-fibre to C causing the muscle to eontraot.
THE THREE LEVELS OF NERVE ACTION.
The nervous process illustrated in Plate XXX involves a sense-
organ (pain spot in the skin), a muscle, and nerve cells connecting the
two together by way of the spinal cord. Such a process is spoken of
as belonging to the "spinal level" of nerve action. When the connec-
tion between sense-organ and muscle involves the mid-brain it is
INTRODUCTORY PSYCHOLOGY FOR TEACHERS
grouped in the "intermediate level" ; and when it involves the cortex
of the brain, it is grouped in the "cortical level" of nerve action.
The Spinal Level. Connection between sense-organ and muscle
takes place in the spinal cord. Such connection has already been
described in connection with Plate XXX. It is also illustrated again
in Plate XXXI where the stimulation caused by the pin at B causes
a current to flow from B to L. Part of this current jumps across the
gap to E and then flows on from E to C resulting in the muscle moving
(arm jerked away).
Plate XXXI. DlagrÂ«mi llluatratlng in out-
line form throe reÂ«ponseo rasulting from
stltDul&tlnfi the skin by ploklng It with
a pin(at B). In the first oase the
current flows frotn'B to by way of D,
L, and E, anft the hand is Jerked away.
In the seoond oaea the current flows
from B to Q and R by way of D, L, II, N,
0, and Q or D, L, U. N, S, and R and the
eyes are fooused on the hurt spot. In
the third case the ourrent flows from B
to X by way of Dj L, M, H, 8, t, 0; -V,
and W resulting in a oonaolooa moveiaaat
of the left hand Bored owr to rah the
LESSON 34 183
The Intermediate Level. In the illustration in Plate XXXI part of
the current which started at B and flowed to L jumps the gap to M
instead of to E. It then flows up the spinal cord as far as the base of
the brain (to the mid-brain). Here part of this current jumps the
gap from N to O and part to P (actually to other points too). From
O the current flows to a muscle (O) which helps turn the head and
from P it flows to a muscle (R) which helps turn the eye. With the
help of many such muscles the eye is focused on the hurt spot. In
this case, as in the first one, we have the response without any con-
sciousness at all. Altho the spinal cord is involved in this action, the
connecting of the sense-organ with muscles is in the mid-brain, not in
the spinal cord.
The Cortical Level. In the third process, part of the current which
came up the spinal cord from M to N jumped the gap to S and went
on up to the cortex of the brain. Here it jumped the gap from T to U
and then started down through the brain to the spinal cord
and then down the cord until it came to V. Here it jumped another
gap to W and then flowed out over this nerve pathway to muscle (X)
and other muscles not represented. They contracted and the left arm,
let us say, reached over and rubbed the hurt hand. Now this third
process is essentially like the other two in the general description of
the nervous action, except in this last case the current flowed for a
part of the way thru the cortex of the brain. When it does that we
are apparently conscious of the process. Due to this third process we
know that our hand hurts. No one has ever given a satisfactory
explanation as to how or why consciousness is aroused when nerve
cells in the cortex are involved but the fact remains that this is so.
Possibly this analogy may help us grasp the general idea, but it is
only an analogy after all. Electric current flowing from the dynamo
over wires in the street and into our houses does not give off light,
but it does give ofif light when it flows over the tungsten filament in
our incandescent lights. In like manner, apparently, it is only when
nervous current passes over nerve cells in the cortex of the brain that
it arouses consciousness (comparable to light in the analogy).
We have now traced in a rough way how a situation such as "a
pin stuck into the arm" is connected with three separate responses,
"jerking the arm away," "focusing the eye on the hurt spot," and
"rubbing the spot with the other hand."
The elements involved are (i) sense-organs (the mechanisms which
receive stimulations), (2) muscles (the mechanisms by which responses
are made), and (3) nerve-cells which connect the two together.
184 INTRODUCTORY PSYCHOLOGY FOR TEACHERS
Nerve-cells (or neurones, as they are more often termed) may be
classified as (i) sensory neurones (which connect a sense-organ to
the spinal cord or mid-brain), (2) motor neurones (which connect the
spinal cord or mid-brain to a muscle), and (3) connecting neurones
(which connect all parts of the spinal cord, mid-brain and brain
Depending on the point of connection between the current flowing in
from the sense-organ and flowing out toward the muscle we speak of
(i) the spinal level, (2) the intermediate, or mid-brain, level, or (3)
the cortical (cortex of the brain) level.
Let us keep constantly in mind this whole process as depicted in
Plate XXXI and the above paragraphs so that as we proceed to study
the separate parts we may come to understand them more and more
thoroughly and to link them up with the whole process.
LESSON 35â€” MECHANISM BY WHICH SITUATIONS
"Situations" can eflfect us only by means of sense-organs. It is
impossible to imagine a situation which has neither feeling, warmth,
cold, nor painful quality, and cannot be seen, heard, smelt or tasted.
A wireless message going thru the air is such a phenomenon but it is
not a situation as it does not affect us at all. The wireless operator
is aflfected, of course, by his receiving instrument, an apparatus which
transforms the unseen and unheard vibrations into a series of clicks
which reach his ear.
Popularly sjjeaking we have five senses â€” sight, hearing, taste, smell,
and touch. Actually we have many more than these, as we shall see.
Thru these sense-organs we receive all our information of the outside
world. The purpose of this section is to make clear just how the
process by which situations stimulate us takes place.
( During this laboratory hour, read over the discussion which precedes
each set of instructions and then perform the experiments. Be sure
you understand the point of each before passing to the next. If you
do not finish during the laboratory hour, you can do the remainder at
home as no particular apparatus is necessary) .
Touch is not a simple sensation but is made up of four kinds of
sensations â€” touch, pain, warmth, and cold. The word sensation refers
to the simplest sort of conscious response which is possible as the result
of a sense-organ being stimulated. As one explores his skin with the
point of a knife-blade or toothpick he is conscious of touch, of pain,
LESSON 35 105
and of cold. If the knife-blade were warmed slightly, he would also
from time to time be conscious of warmth. And after he had marked
the spots on the skin with different colored inks where these different
sensations were obtained, he would realize that warmth, or cold, or
touch, or even pain can only be obtained when certain points on the
skin are touched. At first thought it is rather startling to think that
one's skin can be touched in certain places and one will not tte conscious
of it. But this is true. Evidently there are four different kinds of
spots ; each arousing a different sensation, and besides there are places
in between where no sensation is aroused as a result of slight pressure
on the skin.
Apparatus. A toothpick, pin, two large nails ; black, red, green, and
Procedure, i. Mark off with black ink a '/2-inch square, on the
under surface of S's arm 2-3 of the way from the wrist to the elbow.
Remove all hairs. Now explore this area with a toothpick touching the
skin very gently so that the skin just gives under the pressure of the
toothpick and record each point at which S (who is blindfolded)
reports he feels the toothpick. Do not drag the toothpick over the
skin. Record the points by making a tiny black ink spot on the skin
wherever you find a touch spot.
2. Re-explore the area using a pin to discover pain-spots. The
pressure of the pin should be only slightly greater than with the
toothpick. S should now report not touch-spots but only those spots
where slight pain is felt. Record these spots by making a tiny red
spot on the skin.
3. Explore this area in the same way for cold spots. The point
of a lead pencil or of any piece of metal, as a nail, will serve very well
for this purpose. In this case the point may be dragged along the
skin. Use green ink to record your cold spots.
4. Explore this area in the same way for warm spots. Use a
warmed nail furnished by the instructor for exploring the skin. Use
purple ink to record your warm spots. (A nail protruding slightly
from the cork of a bottle containing hot water does very well for this
purpose. The bottles can be kept immersed in hot water until needed.)
Results. Satisfy yourself that you have the correct answers to the
following questions :
1. Do you get different sensations when you stimulate the skin with
a toothpick, a pin, a cold nail and a warm nail?
2. Are there distinct points on the skin which always give the same
response, if they give any at all, or can you get different responses from
the same point on the skin?
1 86 INTRODUCTORY PSYCHOLOGY FOR TEACHERS
3. Will the toothpick arouse any other sensation than touch; the
pin, then pain ; the nail, than cold ; the warmed nail, than warmth .â– '
4. Which of the four kinds of spots are most numerous ; which least
5. Is it possible to touch the skin with a toothpick and obtain no
response? Are there points on the skin where the pin can be applied
to the skin and not give pain sensation ? How about the application of
cold and warm nails?
6. What relationship exists between touch-spots and the positi<w
of hairs on the arm ?
Kinaesthetic sensations are very similar to touch and pain sensations
from the skin. They are to be distinguished from the latter in that
the cutaneous sense-organs are located very near the surface of the
skin, whereas the kinaesthetic sense-organs are located within the
muscles of the body and about the tendons which connect the muscles
with the skeleton. These kinaesthetic sense-organs are somewhat
similar in structure to the touch sense-organs of the skin. They are
obviously not aroused by external objects striking them as are cutaneous
sense-organs, but they are stimulated by the changes in pressure of
the surrounding tissues upon them. When the arm is doubled up
certain muscles have contracted to accomplish this motion,
certain other muscles have at the same time relaxed. Consequently the
kinaesthetic sense-organs located in the first set of muscles have been
more or less squeezed while the sense-organs in the second set of mus-
cles have not been pressed upon as usual. At the same time the
sense-organs about the tendons have been stimulated in a corresponding
manner. These changes in stimulation are reported to the brain and
thru experience are interpreted to mean that the arm is doubled up.
All of our information, as to where our arms and legs and fingers
are, is reported to the brain in this way, barring, of course, such addi-
tional information on this subject as is reported thru the eye or skin.
"Movements of the body," "weight," and "resistance to movement"
are very complex sensations due to the brain receiving stimulations of
varying intensities from thousands of sense-organs scattered thru the
muscles and about the tendons. It is then thru kinaesthetic sensations
that we get our basic notion of such physical ternis as, "motion,"
"energy" and "mass."
Apparatus. Simple objects at hand.
Procedure. 1. Endeavor to lift the table by placing one after another
of the four fingers under the edge of the table and lifting up. Deter-
mine where the sense-organs are located which are aflFected by this
ivEssoN 35 187
upward pressure, and which give you some appreciation of the weight
of the table.
2. Shut your eyes and turn the head slowly about from right to
left. Determine where you obtain part at least of the stimulations
which tell you the position of your head at each moment.
3. Shut your eyes and rest your arm on the table in as relaxed a
position as possible. Let your partner move your fingers about while
you determine as well as you can how you know where each finger is.
Cutaneous stimulations are, of course, present, so include them in your
discussion. But determine what else is present.
4. Shut your eyes and extend your arms before you palms up.
Let your partner place two books or similar objects upon your hands.
Determine how you distinguish which is heavier.
5. Extend your left arm before you while blindfolded. Then touch
a ix)int on the left hand with your right forefinger as designated by your
partner. Determine how you know where your left hand is and how
you guide the right hand to it.
6. Write your name as usual ; then with your eyes closed. To
what extent is the writing of your name determined by (a) cutaneous
and knnaesthetic sensations and (b) visual sensations?
7. Close your eyes ; have your partner hold your hand and so move
it about that you write some short phrase. Can you tell what was
written by your own hand? In what respect is this situation different
from that of ordinary writing ?
ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT CLASS-HOUR.
Read over the remainder of this section and then write out the
answers to the above questions.
CUT A N EOUS SENSE-ORGAN S.
From physiology we learn that located just beneath the skin there
are a number of diflferent kinds of nerve-endings. We do not yet
know all that we should like to about these nerve-endings, but it does
appear with a fair degree of certainty that there is a different one for
each of the four sensations of touch, pain, warmth, and cold. And,
moreover, that a nerve-ending which gives us the sensation of cold
never gives us any other sensation but cold. The same applies to the
other nerve-endings. Bach sense-organ gives us a characteristic sen-