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Fig 1.3 – The Birth of Psychology

Text: Page 6

The chronoscope in a laboratory became the symbol of the birth of modern psychology. The first experiment was completed by a student trained using a chronoscope. This was a brass clock-like apparatus with a hanging weight and two dials to measure the reaction time of the student. The setup also consisted of a sounder and a metal stand with an elevated arm from which a ball would fall onto the platform and a telegrapher key for the student to press. This was wired together with five pieces of apparatus, the circuitry no more complicated than a present-day train set. Wundt, G. Stanley Hall, the founder of the APA; and Max Friedrich, a leading behaviorist, studied introspection by recording the time between the recognition of the ball hitting the platform and the student pressing the telegraph key.

Although no one knows who made the ball drop or who hit the telegrapher key or who recorded the response time, modern psychology was born, unheralded, on a dark December day in 1879 in a shabby building in a laboratory at the University of Leipzig.

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