Friday, January 28, 2011

Letter of the Day: January 28 [Interlude on early psychology]

Surgeon General's Office
Jan. 28, 1885

Stone, F.W.

Leipzig, Jan 30, 1885.

Dr James McKeen Cattell
Humboldtstr 19. Leipzig

Letter to Dr. J.S. Billings U.S.A, acknowledges receipt of this of Dec. 4th.

Explains his method of measuring the reaction time etc. the Electric Chronoscope made by M. Hipp, Neuchatel*. Wundt's "Philosophische Studien"* will give way to use the chronoscope-. Cost of the inst. Offers to obtain me for Museum, and when in U.S. will set-up the apparatus.

S.G.O. Jan 28, 1885

Dr Billings: Acknowledges receipt of this Jan 30. Would be glad to expend for Museum not to exceed $250-. for insts. to measure reaction time, if he is willing to select, order and set-up the apparatus. Apparatus to be sent to Dr. Feinpl[?], Leipsic [sic], who will pay for same, as directed., also for Wundt's 'Phie Studien'

Mr Myers-

Explanatory Notes
"Philosophische Studien" (Philosophical Studies) was the first journal of experimental psychology, founded by Wilhelm Wundt in 1883. In 1879, he founded one of the first formal laboratories for psychological research at the University of Leipzig. Cattell, a student of Wundt's, was the first professor of psychology in the United States at the University of Pennsylvania and long-time editor and publisher of scientific journals and publications. Cattell references Hipp's Electric Chronoscope in his 1886 article The Time Taken Up By Cerebral Operations.

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