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The time of some mental processes in the retardation and excitement of insanity online

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175-7
19.1
(300)


3"-5
57-i
C3o)






13




342.8
73-6
(38o)







If the average simple reaction time obtained in the tests of
college students 1 be taken as the normal average for unprac-
ticed subjects we find the results of B. and F. , the two normal
subjects used in this work, differ very little from the normal
average. The averages of C., Ed., and P. for the first week
do not greatly exceed Wissler's determinations plus the prob-
able error (i. e., 158.7-4-18.9). Ed. always reported that in
this experiment his attention was directed to making the move-
ment. If this statement be accepted as evidence of motor re-
actions, his reactions may be considered slow. It should be
noted, however, that when well enough to be discharged his
average (ninth week) was 175.7. Another retarded subject,
S., 2 averaged for 350 experiments, 50 on each of seven days,
215.4 (probably sensory reactions). The first set of twenty-five
reactions averaged 325.6 and the last set 152.2. This is a de-
cided slowing in the first experiments, and there is a wonder-
ful practice effect in the increased speed of the reaction. The
results of the tests of the Columbia students are, however, not
directly comparable to the averages for the first week of my
subjects. It wpuld be more justifiable to compare the results
obtained on the first day from the subjects I used. In this case
it should be remembered, as has been noted above, that the
subjects were practiced for a time before any time measure-
ments were taken. The results of the first day's simple reac-
tion averages are as follows : B., 164. i ; Ed. , 144. i ; Ev. , 446.2;
C., 185.9; P-i 192.9. The perfectly normal character of Ed's

'Wissler: The Correlation of Mental and Physical Tests. Psycho-
logical Review Monograph Supplement, 1901, III, No. 16, pp. 62.
Wnndt gives i2Off to i8o<r as averages of normal subjects, Physiol.
Psychol., Ill, p. 416.

2 See above for a very brief account of his condition.



MENTAL PROCESSES. 21

reaction on the first day is remarkable. On the remaining five
days of this week, however, this subject averaged respectively
213.0, 189.8, 213.8, 212. o, and 195.7. The reactions on these
days are slowed, and are not consistent with the results of the
first day. The averages for the excited patients, C. and P. ,
show no shortening of the reaction time, but on the contrary
if the difference to the normal is considered sufficient to notice
it is a decided slowing. The results which I have obtained
should be compared with the results of other investigations.
The averages given by Richet 1 for simple reactions to sound
are 194 for cases of melancholia and 156 for mania. Bevan
Lewis's experiments show a simple reaction to sound in melan-
cholia to be very long, 0.23 second. 2 The average for five
maniacal patients was 186. Some of Lewis's patients, that
were greatly depressed, gave very rapid reactions, e. g., J. H.
B., .13 sec.; C. K., .14 sec.; and J. E., .13 sec. None of his
excited patients gave average simple reactions less than .17
sec. In Marie Walitzky's experiments on the reaction time
to sound, it was found that in two cases of excitement the sim-
ple reaction was .I72. 8 v. Tschisch gives the average of 150
simple reactions to sound by a patient recovering from mania
0.07 second, 4 but I feel confident that this time is too short to
be considered typical of these cases. No other observer has, to
my knowledge, found such a shortening of the time. Janet
has also made numerous determinations of the reaction time in
depressed conditions. 5 He seems to find in these conditions a
slowing of the reactions. The results obtained by Buccola 6 I-

^Dictionnaire de Physiologie, Vol. Ill, p. 29. Article Cerveau. No
definite information is given regarding the cases used in obtaining
these results, and it is impossible to draw any comparison with the
retarded patients with whom I worked. Richet says that his results
are averages of many observers.

2 W. Bevan Lewis: Text-book of Mental Diseases. London, 1899,
pp. 164, 364, and 365. The designations of the subjects do not indicate
whether or not retardation was present.

8 Walitzky: Contribution a I'e'tude des mensurations psychome"tri-
ques chez les alienees, Revue Philos., 1889, XXVIII, 583-595. These
cases, it should be mentioned, are maniacal conditions in general
paralysis.

*W. v. Tschisch : Ueber die Zeitdauer der einfachen psychischen
Vorgange bei Geisteskrankheiten, Neurol. Centralblatt, 1885, IV, 217.

8 See particularly Nlvroses et idSes fixes, 2 vols., Paris, 1898. Janet's
results are given in the form of curves. The printing or the engrav-
ing of the cuts is so badly done that it was impossible, even with the
aid of a microscope, to determine the figures which he has obtained.
The general character of the curves give a fair idea of his results,
however. In the case of depression, Bei, it appears that the simple
reaction to sound averaged from 200 to 220 (Vol. II, p. 67).

6 Buccola : La legge del tempo nei fenomeni del pensiero. Biblio-
teca scientifica internal., Vol. XXXVII. The work done on the in-
sane by this investigator is said to be very good, but I have been un-
'able to get the articles. His work is referred to by Walitzky.



22 FRANZ :

regret to say I have not seen. The debile whose reaction times
are given by Pelletier is probably a case of dementia. 1

The choice reaction times obtained by other experimenters
for normal, depressed and excited students are very varied. In
choice experiments similar to those made by me Tischer found
on nine subjects an average of 316, 2 with an individual varia-
tion from 293 to 357. In Kraepelin's laboratory numerous ex-
periments on the choice reaction times gave averages from 250
to 350. Walitzky found the choice reactions of two excited
cases to average 653, although the simple reaction was only
172.* v. Tschisch 4 found a corresponding and almost propor-
tionate increase in his case of 'recovering mania.' Lefmann, 6

TABLE IV.

Weekly averages of choice reaction times in thousandths of a second. The

average variations are given below the averages. The numbers

of experiments are in parentheses.



Serial
weeks.

I


Normal.
B. F.
250.1 192.4
36-3 28.1
(40) (60)


Depressed.
Ed. Ev.
268.0 432.0
53-3 82.3
(60) (60)


Excited.
C. P.

298.4 258.9
60.7 41.5
(120) (120)


2


239-4


251.2

39-8
(50)


306.8
71.8
(50)




22.9

(50)




3


234-8
16.2
(50)


223.9

20.6

(50)


338-I
75-2
(50)






4


236.9

29-3

(280)


257.2
44.1
(320)


304-5
55-8
(330)


276.9 262.1

47-i 32.3
(150) (150)


6


230.3




308.5
47.1
(50)


257.4 234.0
58.0 38.7
(120) (120)


25.6

(40)




9


236.8
27.9
(180)


241.9

35-6
(ISO)


3 T 3-4
48-5
(240)




13







357-6
24.7
(210)





1 Pelletier : Les lots morbides de I' association des idles. Paris, 1904.
See p. 133.

2 Wundt: Physiol. Psychol., III, 461.

8 Op. cit.

* Op. cit.

6 Lefmann : Ueber psychomotorische Storungen in Depressionszu-
standen, Psychol. Arbeiten, 1904, IV, 603-668.



MENTAL PROCESSES. 23

TABLE V.

Differences between weekly averages of choice and simple reaction times
in thousandths of a second.



Serial
weeks.

I


Normal.
B. F.
85-5 35-3


Depressed.
Ed. Ev.
76.7 133.0


Excited.
C. P.
105.5 73-9


2


72.2


69.9


97.6





3


69.8


45-7


129.8





4


78.5


71.1


80.5


103.2 74.6


6


70.4





25-6


89.5 38-8


9


73- 2


66.2


1.9





13







14.8









working in Kraepelin's laboratory, obtained the following
averages respectively for six typical cases of depression-retarda-
tion (200 choice reactions each, no simple reactions are re-
ported): 325, 371, 406, 469, 474, 685. The average vari-
ations for Ivefnuann's subjects were very large. 1

F's choice reactions are very short. This is, I think, due to
the fact that he knew the conditions of the experiment
that the reactions of the left hand were not being considered.
Although an attempt was made to react naturally with both
hands, the knowledge of the methods tended to make him pay
more attention to the right hand and the loud sound. This
was noticeable in that several times he failed to react with the
left hand at the proper time. The times given by B. , C., Ed.,
and P. are shorter than those of the majority of Tischer's
eleven normal subjects. Ev., however, took a much longer
time to differentiate the two sounds and to react properly.
The two excited subjects, C. and P., do not show any in-
creased rapidity, and in fact their lowest weekly averages are
not so low as the lowest weekly averages of Ed's experiments.

The results of experiments with S. were about the same as
with Ed. The general average for seven days was 256.9. On

1 The results of Lefmann's work are mentioned here mainly for the
sake of completeness. It seems to me that his methods of experi-
mentation or of calculation must have had considerable errors which
do not appear from the description. Only in this way can I under-
stand the results from a maniacal patient, Ba., who in 50 choice reac-
tions had an average of 153 and an average variation of 160. In other
respects the article is not good. The author keeps referring to other
work for methods, especially to work of Kraepelin or his pupils, and
does not give any other indication in his article of what is there at-
tempted. For example, in the article L. does not state what kinds of
stimuli were used in the reaction experiments. For this we must re-
fer to a monograph by Kraepelin published twelve years before.



24 FRANZ :

the first day of his series he averaged 450.9, and on the last
day 218.8. It should be remarked, however, that at the time
the last experiments were made S. was practically well.

The differences between the simple and choice reaction times
are about normal in five of the subjects. In the case of Ev., on
certain days the simple reaction time equalled and sometimes
exceeded the choice reaction time. 1 It is a striking fact that the
choice time in the two excited subjects, who were supposed to
have rapid associational processes, is not shorter than the nor-
mal choice time or the choice time of Ed.

Considering the reaction times as a whole it is apparent that
the excitability of the maniacal patients is not evidenced by an
increase in the speed, and that the retardation is not neces-
s^rily a decrease in the speed with which a movement is
initiated. 2

The average time of reading one word has been determined
by Cattell for himself to be o. 138 second, and Richet 8 has found
that he is able to speak, or to think about ten syllables in one
second. The results on the six subjects of the present work
are given in Table VI. The time taken by my two normal
subjects, B. and F., is much longer than that taken by Cattell.
P., an excited subject, took about the same time as B. ; C.,
Ed., and Ev. are distinctly slow. 4 As the experiments pro-
gressed the normal and depressed subjects improved, but the
excited patients did not. The percentages of improvement due
to the exercise in this test, i. e. , one hundred minus the best
weekly average divided by the average for the first week, are
as follows: B., 10%; F., 13%; Ed., 37%; and Ev., 18%.

1 These results have been considered in some detail in a previous
paper. Franz: Anomalous Reaction Times in a case of Manic-depres-
sive Depression. Psychol. Bulletin, 1905, II, 225-232. Similar results
were obtained in later experiments with S. The condition, therefore,
is one which may be more or less characteristic of certain cases of re-
tardation. A full account of the work on S. will be found in the
American Journal of Insanity, Franz and Hamilton : The effects of
exercise upon the retardation in conditions of depression, 1905.

2 From the results of fatigue experiments Hoch has concluded
that the retardation comes principally at the beginning of a move-
ment; On certain studies with the Ergograph, Journal of Nervous
and Mental Diseases, 1901, XXVIII, 620-628. The present series of
experiments do not bear out this conclusion, but I prefer to await fur-
ther results before making any definite denial on this point. I be-
lieve the explanation offered by Hoch for the conditions which he
found to be the most plausible one, although it does not fit the results
of the present work.

8 Dictionnaire, III, p. 10.

4 The calculation of a few records on the basis of syllables gave for
F. .104 sec. for reading one syllable. The time of the other subjects
for reading a syllable may be determined approximately by multiply-
ing the figures in the table by .6.



MENTAL PROCESSES. 25

TABLE VI.

Weekly average time in thousandths of a second for reading one word.
The average variations are given below the averages. The num-
bers of experiments, when more or less than five,
are in parentheses.



Serial Normal,
weeks. B. F.
276.3 198.0
i 19.9 5.0

(4) (2)


Depressed.
Ed. Ev.
545-o 394-o
86.5 9.0

(4) (2)


Excited.
C. P
329.0 266.0
16.0 10.0

(4) (4)


277.6

2 14.2


179.8
ii. 8

U)


497.2

22.6


323-0
24.4





253-4

3 22.3


183.5
12.5

(4)


470.0
I4.O

(6)


337-8
5-7
(6)





4


186.6
2-5


451-2
13.8


346.2

12.2


342.6 269.2
13.9 18.2


5


176.8
7-3


378.8

29.8


321.6
20-5






249.8
6 9-5

(4)










368.8 276.8
28.0 6.6




8


172.0
6.8


347-8

12.6


322.6
24-3





248.6
9 16.3




















181.2
9.8


342-0
14.0


329.0

18.0








15


194.4
4-9





373-0
10.4






TABLE VII.

Weekly averages oj time in seconds for marking 100 e's. The average

variations are given below the averages, and on the third line the

average number of mistakes. The nwnbers of experiments,

when more or less than five, are given in parentheses.



Serial Normal.


repressed.


Excited.


weeks. B.


F.


Ed.


Ev.


C.


P.


no. 2
i 13-8


96.0
6.7


145-2
13.6


I3I-5
32-8


135-8
7-4


149.2
18.8


3-2


2.3


7-3

(6)


33-2
(6)


13-5

(4)


14-5
(4)


108.8


82.6


123.6


153-6






2 7-0

1.8


o!6


14-7
5-4


17.1
18.4







26 FRANZ :

TABLE VII. Concluded.



Serial
weeks.

3


Normal.
B. F.
ur.o 83.4
6.0 9.3

2-4 O.2


Depressed.
Ed. Ev.
104.6 152.0
6.7 13.6
5.8 16.0


Excited.
C. P.


4








132.8 143.4

4-6 12. 1
II-4 2-4


6


112. O 8O.O
7 .2 8. 5

1.8 0.3

(4)


108.0 154.4
5-2 10.3
6.0 18.6


130.6 I3I.O

5-5 3-6

7-4 2.0


9


103.6 79.6
8.1 5-9

O.2 O.O


102.6 163.4
6.3 16.5

3-4 12.0





13


76.0

7-5

0.0

(4)


166.8

8.2

14.2






The discriminating and marking of the one hundred letters in
the paragraph of printed matter was at first a very slow process
in both the depressed and excited patients. Table VII gives
the results of the six subjects. The averages and average vari-
ations as well as the average number of errors are given.
These experiments were begun at the same time as the reac-
tion experiments, i. e., 3d week for F., Ed., and Ev. As the
experiments progressed there was an increase in speed and a
decrease in the number of omitted letters for all the subjects
except Ev. Practice increased Ev's time but also increased his
accuracy. These results cannot be directly compared with the
results obtained from college students, 1 but in comparison
both B. and F. are quite rapid in the performance of the task.
Neither C. nor P. are so speedy as the two normal subjects,
and P. is slower than the retarded patient, Ev. There is not
much difference in time for the first weeks of C. and Ed., C.
was a trifle faster, but Ed. was considerably more accurate.
Ed. was quicker than B. after the second week, but he did not
approach in accuracy to that of B. Ca. , another retarded subject,
averaged in four experiments 123.5 sec.; A. V., 10.3.; with
average omissions 36.5. These results are similar to those of
Ev. The time taken by S. for this experiment averaged longer
than Ed's time; twelve experiments in one week, average,

J Wissler: op. cit., 270 college students discriminated and marked
one hundred A's in a total of six hundred letters in 100.2 seconds with
an average of 2.2 errors.



MENTAL PROCESSES. 27

152.7 sec.; A. V., 8.6; average number of omissions, 10. i. In
this case practice for one week decreased the number of errors,
but not the time.

The results of the adding experiments are given in Tables
VIII and IX. The actual time was not determined for F. and
no results are given for him in Table IX. P is the most rapid
of all the subjects, probably because a large part of his busi-
ness was that of bookkeeping. Ed., who had had considerable
experience in adding in his business as hotel clerk, was notice-
ably retarded, particularly during the first two weeks. The
total and actual times taken by Ed. were greater at first than
any other subject, and C., who had had little experience in
this kind of work, may be considered approximately normal,
although the time which he took for the work was more than
that of the other excited patient or of the two normal subjects.

The actual time gives a more accurate estimate of the rapid-
ity or slowness in the additions than does the total time. The
two cases of retardation had to be prodded continually at first to
keep on with the work, and C. had a tendency to lie back and
to rest between each problem, which tendency had to be over-
come. This is noticeable in the time lost, the differences be-
tween the total and actual times. B. averaged in lost time
about 13 seconds, P. n seconds, C. 18 seconds, and Ed. and
Ev. about 19 seconds in each test. We find, therefore, the fol-
lowing order of rapidity in the first week : P., F., B., C., Ev. ,
Ed. A striking fact is that Ev., who was so decidedly retarded,
much more so than Ed., was much more rapid.

TABI.B VIII.

Weekly averages of total time in seconds for adding twenty problems. The

average variations are given below the averages. The numbers

of experiments, when more or less than five, are

given in parentheses.



Serial Normal,
weeks. B. F.

127.5 Io6 -5
i 6.8 it. 5

(4) (4)


Depressed.
Ed. Ev.
312.2 214.0
87.4 28.0

(2)


Excited.
C. P.
183.5 90-8
4-o 3-5

(4) (4)


103.7


212.6
25-9


198.4
29.9





2 1-5


in. 6 93.8
3 4-7 5-6
(3)


177.2

ii. 8
(6)


162.5

6-5

(6)






4 9 2 - 2

j * D


157-6
8.7


157-8
9.6


171.4 85.8
3-7 1-8


88.0
5 1.6


140.4
10.3


159.8
5-8






28 FRANZ 1

TABLB VIII. Concluded.



Serial
weeks.

6


Normal.
B. F.
109.5
1-5
(4)


Depressed. Excited.
Ed. Ev. C. P.
164.2 83.2
4.7 1-8


8


89.8
4.8
(4)


141.4 162.2
13.1 10.6


9


102.4
0.7


.


II


85-2
3-0


126.4 153-8
6.9 6.6


15


82.4
4-5


161.8


10.6



TABLB IX.

Weekly averages of actual time in seconds for adding twenty problems.
The average variations are given below the averages. The numbers
of experiments, when more or less than five,
are given in parentheses.



Serial Normal,
weeks. B.

112. 6

i 5-9

(4)


Depressed.
Ed. Ev.
279.6 191.5
84-3 24.5
(2)


Excited.
C. P.
161.6 78.3
7-4 4-5

(4) (4)


93-3
2-5


177.8

21 .0


172.6
27-9






IOO.O

3 5-4


I52-3
10-3

(6)


142.1
5-4

(6)





4


141.0
6.8


143-2
8.8


154-6 75-9
3-5 i-9


5


127-5
9.0


146.2
5-2





95-4
6 3-9

(4)








148.8 72.9
5-8 3-1


8


124-5
9-4


142.8
jo. 4





88.5
y 0.4













ii


111.4

5-7


i37-o
5-0





15





142.6
"5






MENTAL PROCESSES. 29

The practice improvement is most marked in the case of Ed.,
a result which has been found also in the previous experiments.
But an increase in speed does not follow an increase in the num-
ber of experiments. Very soon, in the third week, Ev. attains his
maximum speed and thereafter there is no improvement. All
the other subjects improve to the end of their series, and this
improvement is marked even when rest intervals of two or three
weeks are taken. The greatest improvement is found for Ed.
He has much more to be improved. Here again it is difficult
to determine how much the increased speed is due to the prac-
tice and how much to his recovery. Much of the 'practice
effect' is undoubtedly due to the improvement in the mental
condition. The greatest improvement in the other subjects is
only 25 per cent., i. <?., Ev., and in B. and F., with about the
same number of experiments the results of the last week show
only 22 per cent, gain in speed. In Ed's experiments the
times of the last week are only forty per cent, as long as those
of the first week, an improvement of sixty per cent.

In the fourth week of the series on C. and P. , the ninth
week on B., and the eleventh week of the work on Ed., Ev.,
and F. , I had all the subjects count from one to one hundred,
and to add as rapidly as possible one hundred two-digit prob-

264

lems. One hundred problems, e. g. , g 3 8, were placed on a
sheet of cardboard and instructions given to add the individual
problems and to speak the results as rapidly as possible. After
this I had each subject count at a maximum speed from one to
one hundred. The times were taken by a stop watch. The
results of the experiments are given in Table X.

TABI.E X.

Average time in seconds for adding one hundred two-figure problems, and
for counting from one to one hundred. The average variations are
given below the averages. The numbers of experiments
are in parentheses.



Normal.


Retarded.


Excited.




B.


F.


Ed.


Ev.


C.


P.


IOO

Problems,


85.0
25.0
(5)


69.1
3-6

(7)


78.8
6-3
(4)


9 2 -3
8-5
(4)


144.0

0.0

(2)


70-5
3-5

(2)


Counting,


37-8
0.8
(4)


22.4
i-7

(5)


'31-5
2-3

(4)


62.0
4.0

(4)


51-0
0-5

(2)


34-o
o.o

(2)


Difference,


37-2


46.7


47-3


30-3


93-o


36.5



At the time these experiments were made Ed. was not ap-
preciably retarded, z. <?., he was not retarded to a degree that



3O FRANZ :

could be determined by observation or by any rough tests.
His rapidity in this experiment showed, moreover, that he was
not retarded in comparison with the other subjects. C. and P.
at this time were both excited.

It is interesting to note that the general time relations be-
tween the subjects of the same class are the same for these sim-
ple additions and for the more complicated addition problems
on the same days. Thus, for example, Ed. took Si% as long
as Ev. for the five-digit problems and 85% for the one-digit
problems. F. took 80% as long as B. for the one digit and
83% for the five-digit problems, and P. in both cases approx-
imated 50% of the time needed by C.

In the comparison of the figures given in Tables VIII, IX,
and X, we are justified, I think, in considering that a large
part of the time taken by Ed. at first for the five-digit problems
was due to the retardation, and that much of his improvement
was due to the recovery. Part of the improvement undoubt-
edly was due to practice. P. continued to show considerable
speed in addition, and C. was consistently slow. The time of
counting for P. was not proportionately so fast, but C's count-
ing time was slow. Ev. also had slow counting time. Consid-
ering the time alone we might say that both C. and Ev. showed
a retardation, but it was apparent that the slowing of C. was
due rather to an awkwardness, and that Ev's was due to some
retarding influence. C. showed throughout the experiments, as is
indicated in all the tables, a decided mental and physical clum-
siness which was not at all characteristic of Ev. The long av-
erage time taken by B. for the one hundred problems was due
to the result of one experiment, in which some event must have
occurred to greatly lengthen the time. On one day B. took 105
seconds for the test. If the other results be considered apart
from this, we find an average time, 58.8 seconds, A. V., 3.0.

The difference in time between the addition and the count-
ing may be taken as approximately the time of the mental
operation of adding. This difference is large for C. and small
for Ev. We also see that the results of the other subjects agree
with each other quite well, and that there is a correspondence
between these differences and the choice time (choice reaction
time minus simple reaction time).

Ed. shows no retardation, in adding the one hundred prob-
lems, in counting, or in the adding time. Ev. is slow in add-
ing and counting but the adding time is rapid. C. is slow in
counting and much slower in adding, and his adding time is


1 3

Online LibraryShepherd Ivory FranzThe time of some mental processes in the retardation and excitement of insanity → online text (page 3 of 4)