Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/58

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48
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

stages in the growth of language can be again studied in inverse order in diseases of language. In such disease the syntactical language is lost first, the more primitive gesture language is retained to the last; and Prof. Preyer has shown in full detail the striking similarity between the various defects and impairments of language, and the stages of its acquisition in children. In the arrested development of idiots we may observe a slow and gradual growth of faculties which in their normal rapid growth are so perplexingly interwoven as to make accurate analysis an exceedingly difficult task. Again, we have continued in idiots traits appearing in certain stages of child growth, but later outgrown; as, for example, a tenacious but mechanical memory, a delight in striking sense-impressions, an accurate mimicking of surrounding noises, a love of teasing and torturing animals, and the like. Finally, in hypnotism, in which condition we have a withdrawal of control by higher centers, a reduction to a more primitive grade of mentality, we see analogies to childish traits; the vivid imagination, the complete absorption of the mind of the subject in the one suggested act or object, his ready suggestibility, his keen perception and accurate mimicry, may perhaps indicate the line of thought here pertinent. Any and all such analogies may be easily carried too far, but essential and significant points of community may be traced without falling into this error.

I have thus attempted to lead the way through some of the fields in which modern psychologists have reaped a valuable harvest, and from which they expect a still richer fruitage as the result of a more thorough cultivation. To such of my readers as may feel that they have been hurried over the ground and allowed glimpses when protracted study would alone suffice, I can only offer the excuse of the professional guide, that there was much to show in a limited time. Those who may feel that they have been asked to consider things quite trivial and familiar, must take comfort in Mr. Bagehot's words that "small things are the miniatures of greater," and that my purpose has been accomplished if I have succeeded in freshening "their minds by object-lessons from what they know."

 


 
Department M—of Ethnology, Archæology, History, Cartography, etc.—of the Columbian Exhibition has been given one hundred and sixty thousand square feet of space in the gallery of the northern half of the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building, together with a strip of land a thousand feet long and from one hundred to two hundred feet wide, along the border of the lagoon in the southeastern part of the grounds. Here the groups of native American peoples will be arranged geographically, and will be living under normal conditions in their native habitations during the six months of the Exposition. The scheme of classification of the department, as given in detail by the National Commission, covers a great diversity of subjects.