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This functioned to render their attitude toward it more "definite and contented" [], p. For example, one design was given pointed prongs by a subject who called it a "pick-axe," a rounded blade by a subject that called it a "turf-cutter," a larger ring at the top of the shape by several subjects who called it an "anchor," and the blade was correctly reproduced by a subject who called it a "prehistoric battle axe. BARTLETT often presented the same or similar material multiple times, so as to slow down the process of perceiving to capture early and intermediate phases.

For these, subjects got an impression of the whole and its symmetry, while readily "feeling" changes from one design to the next. Their perception also included an anticipation of what was to come in the next design. When their expectation of changes did not pan out their reproductions suffered.

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When a painting was presented multiple times, subjects tended to add details but held fast to their first impression. For example, every person made something different out of a well-known painting of "Hubert and Arthur" by W. She is sitting and has her legs crossed. On a second showing the subject decided the woman was standing up but did not change much on the following thirty-six presentations.

Subjects got a feeling for the material as a whole but some dominant details also stood out. The most easily apprehended figures were those in which there was a dominant detail in the center around which other features were organized.

Details that seemed out of place in the whole were also often recognized, such as the missing corner in a square with dialogues, although what corner was missing was not easily identified. For complex designs, subjects noticed the circles in the design and often tended to multiple them in their drawing, particularly when they did not comprehend the plan of construction.

In perceiving we already find the rudiments of imagining. A study of imagining was thus a natural next step. To do the task subjects quickly developed the habit of holding the cards at arm's length so as to better observe the whole situation, and as such, outstanding details played a lesser part in these reactions.

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For particularly complex inkblots, however, some subjects adopted the method of breaking the inkblot into parts and dealing with each separately. These subjects tended to develop less fantastical images than subjects who did not adopt an analytic attitude. In all cases, subjects had to find something to link the material to; what one subject described as "rummaging around" in his mind to find the appropriate image. One of the most striking general results of the imagining study was the enormous variety of interpretations subjects came up with.

The same inkblot suggested entirely different things for different subjects. For instance, one blot evoked the following images for different subjects, a "camel," a "tortoise," "a dog worrying 9 a tablecloth," "two dead ducks and an ostrich," an "octopus," "a baby in a cot with a doll following out," "a picture of Sohrab and Rustum in a book of Arnold's poems" p. To say interpretations were varied is not, however, to say that they are random, without consistency or constraint. A number of factors influenced the interpretations. Second, images tended to be related to an active interest in the subject.

For example, a woman saw a series of clothing items e. For instance, one subject saw "ghosts, more ghosts kissing, more kissing green ghosts" ibid. In the last step of his analysis, BARTLETT classifies his subjects into two general types: a particularizing type, who tend to form images of a definite character, and a generalizing type, who imagine an object of general kind, outside of a specific situation or time. Reminscent particularizers tended to get a strong personal feel of an earlier experience from the blots which was accompanied by distinct visual imagery.

One subject even turned her face in disgust from an inkblot that reminded her of an incident many years before in which she suffered a shock on finding a snail crawling along a bread plate. Particularizers who were not dominantly reminiscent were generally amused with the strangeness of their suggestions.

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All particularizers tended to form detailed and lively images at a rapid pace. By contrast, generalizers reacted slowly, without visualization and often no interpretation for an inkblot. They approached the task analytically, impersonally, and disinterestedly, as a problem to be solved.

These subjects often had highly specialized scientific interests. Taken together these studies demonstrate the importance of interests, values, feelings and previous experience in psychological acts, such as perceiving and imagining. All subjects related to the material given by connecting it to some previous experience, as such perceiving and imaging are already infused with memory.

Moreover, by "effort" he does not mean to imply strain but rather the work of an active mind. This framework would be essential to interpreting his experiments on remembering. BARTLETT's most famous experiments on "remembering" were in fact first framed as "a contribution to the experimental study of the process of conventionalization" in his St. Johns Fellowship dissertation.

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Remarkably, the issue of remembering is only briefly mentioned in his early writing. There is, nonetheless, much consistency in his analysis of these experiments from their discussion in his dissertation through their publication as articles in the s to his book "Remembering" []. The methodological strategy of these experiments will be my focus here.


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The four methods found in BARTLETT's dissertation , and in "Remembering" [] under the heading of "Experiments on Remembering," follow the same general form: subjects were shown stimuli i. The interval of reproduction was carefully selected to capture the emergence of qualitative changes in reproductions: if the intervals were too short the reproductions would become fixed 10 and if too long the research would not see the intermediate phases of change.

The four methods differ mainly in the conditions under which reproduction takes place. Let us consider each method in turn. These experiments were carried out during the First World War and as such these kinds of images were familiar to subjects. After an interval of 30 minutes subjects were asked a series of questions about each face, regarding its details and direction of view. Some of the questions asked suggested details not present in the particular face discussed. The suggested but inaccurate detail was either to be found in another face in the series or else simply in the subject's broader knowledge of faces.

Importations were about twice as frequent as transferences. Regarding to the latter, BARTLETT finds that dominant details in the series, such as a pipe, a mustache, and cap badges, were most frequently transferred. We are told that cap badges were of general public interest during WWI, which also helps to explain why familiar cap badges that were not in the original series were commonly imported into reproductions.

In addition to categorizing the changes introduced into reproductions, BARTLETT also analyzed the influence of the attitudes, interests and methods used by subjects to recall the faces. As with his experiments on perceiving, he emphasizes subjects' reliance on a general impression, partly formed out of dominant details, selected based on the subject's interests. Faces are first described as "with a smiling look," "good humored," "with a broad grin" or "a grave expression," "He is about fifty, stern, serious and unattractive-looking," "He looked very well-feed and groomed" p.

One subject had the impression of a face as being "serious and determined" p. Compared to the original, the image that she developed "was very much more serious; his mouth was firmer, his chin more prominent, his face more square" p.

This effect was even more striking when subjects were reminded of a conventional representation of a face, such as British drawings of a common soldier i. Here he identifies two methods of remembering used by subjects—visualization and vocalization. Visualizers are those who rely primarily on visual imagery, while vocalizers rely more on linguistic cues. These describe the preferred persistent method used by a subject in dealing with an experimental task, which he identifies through participants' reports.

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Through these reports he finds that visualization carries certainty with it whereas vocalization is accompanied by doubt. This is the case because of visual images' vivid, rich, and exciting expression in consciousness. Due to these characteristics, when a subject is torn between a visual and vocal memory of an object they will choose the former.


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This, however, does not mean that visualizers reproduce the material more accurately; demonstratively they do not. Secondly, vocalization is a direct expression of meanings, while meanings have to be developed out of visualization.