Page:American Journal of Psychology Volume 21.djvu/237

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
227
THE ASSOCIATION METHOD

word. The test person waives any reaction; for the moment he totally fails to obey the original instructions, and shows himself incapable of adapting himself to the experimenter. If this phenomenon occurs frequently in an experiment it signifies a higher degree of disturbance in adjustment. I call attention to the fact that it is quite indifferent what reason the test person gives for the refusal. Some find that too many ideas suddenly occur to them, others, that not enough ideas come to their minds. In most cases, however, the difficulties first perceived are so deterrent that they actually give up the whole reaction. The following example shows a case of hysteria with many failures of reaction:

Stimulus
word
Reaction
Time
Unit 0.2 second
Reaction Reproduction
to sing 9 nice +
dead 15 awful  ?
long * 40 the time, the journey  ?
ship † +
to pay 11 money
window 10 big high
friendly 50 a man human
to cook 10 soup +
ink 9 black or blue +
angry bad
needle 9 to sew +
lamp 14 light +
to sin
bread 15 to eat +
rich * † 40 good, convenient +
yellow 18 paper color
mountain 10 high +
to die 15 awful +
salt † 25 salty +
new good, nice
custom †
to pray
money † 35 to buy, one is able +
pamphlet 16 to write +
to despise † 22 people +
finger †
dear 12 thing +
bird 12 sings or flies +
* Denotes misunderstanding. † Denotes repetition of the stimulus words.

In example 3 we find a characteristic phenomenon. The test person is not content with the requirements of the instruction, that is, she is not satisfied with one word but reacts with many words. She apparently does more and better than the instruction requires, but in so doing she does not fulfill the requirements of the instruction. Thus she reacts:—custom—good—barbaric; foolish—narrow minded—restricted; family—big—small—everything possible.