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farther off, their apparent size, and the modifications their retinal images experience by aërial perspective, come in to help. The relative distance of objects is easiest determined by moving the eyes; all stationary objects then appear displaced in the opposite direction (as for example when we look out of the window of a railway car) and those nearest most rapidly; from the different apparent rates of movement we can tell which are farther and which nearer." *

Subjectively considered, distance is an altogether peculiar content of consciousness. Convergence, accommodation, binocular disparity, size, degree of brightness, parallax, etc., all give us special feelings which are signs of the distance feeling, but not it. They simply suggest it to us. The best way to get it strongly is to go upon some hill-top and invert one's head. The horizon then looks very distant, and draws near as the head erects itself again.

The Perception of Size.-"The dimensions of the retinal image determine primarily the sensations on which conclusions as to size are based; and the larger the visual angle the larger the retinal image: since the visual angle depends on the distance of an object, the correct perception of size depends largely upon a correct perception of distance; having formed a judgment, conscious or unconscious, as to that, we conclude as to size from the extent of the retinal region affected. Most people have been surprised now and then to find that what appeared a large bird in the clouds was only a small insect close to the eye; the large apparent size being due to the previous incorrect judgment as to the distance of the object. The presence of an object of tolerably well-known height, as a man, also assists in forming conceptions (by comparison) as to size; artists for this purpose frequently introduce human figures to assist in giving an idea of the size of other objects represented." +

Sensations of Color.-The system of colors is a very complex thing. If one take any color, say green, one can pass *Martin: The Human Body, p. 530. + Ibid

away from it in more than one direction, through a series of greens more and more yellowish, let us say, towards yellow, or through another series more and more bluish towards blue. The result would be that if we seek to plot out on paper the various distinguishable tints, the arrangement cannot be that of a line, but has to cover a surface. With the tints arranged on a surface we can pass from any one of them to any other by various lines of gradually changing intermediaries. Such an arrangement is represented in Fig. 15. It is a merely classificatory diagram based on

degrees of difference simply felt, and has no physical significance. Black is a color, but does not figure on the plane of the diagram. We cannot place it anywhere alongside of the other colors because we need both to represent the straight gradation from untinted white to black, and that from each





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FIG. 15.



pure color towards black as well as towards white. The best way is to put black into the third dimension, beneath the paper, e.g., as is shown perspectively in Fig. 16, then all the transitions can be schematically shown. One can pass straight from black to white, or one can pass round by way of olive, green, and pale green; or one can change from dark blue to yellow through green, or by way of skyblue, white and straw color; etc., etc. In any case the changes are continuous; and the color system thus forms what Wundt calls a tri-dimensional continuum.

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Color-mixture. Physiologically considered, the colors have this peculiarity, that many pairs of them, when they impress the retina together, produce the sensation of white. The colors which do this are called complementaries. Such are spectral red and green-blue, spectral yellow and indigoblue. Green and purple, again, are complementaries. All

Orange Yellow


Pale green White

Straw color


Sky blue

the spectral colors added together also make white light, such as we daily experience in the sunshine. Furthermore, both homogeneous etherwaves and heterogeneous ones may make us feel the same color, when they fall on our retina. Thus yellow, which is a simple spectral color, is also felt when green light is added to red; blue is felt when violet and green lights are mixed. Purple, which is not a spectral color at all, results when the waves either of red and of violet or those of blue and of orange are superposed.*

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Flesh color

Reddish brown





Blue gray

From all this it follows that there is no particular congruence between our system of color-sensations and the physical stimuli which excite them. Each color-feeling is a 'specific energy' (p.11) which many different physical causes may arouse. Helmholtz, Hering, and others have sought to simplify the tangle of the facts, by physiological hypotheses which, differing much in detail, agree in principle, since they all postulate a limited number of elementary retinal processes to which, when excited singly,


FIG. 6 (after Ziehen).

*The ordinary mixing of pigments is not an addition, but rather, as Helmholtz has shown, a subtraction, of lights. To add one color to another we must either by appropriate glasses throw differently colored beams upon the same reflecting surface; or we must let the eye look at one color through an inclined plate of glass beneath which it lies, whilst the upper surface of the glass reflects into the same eye

certain fundamental' colors severally correspond. When excited in combination, as they may be by the most various physical stimuli, other colors, called 'secondary,' are felt. The secondary color-sensations are often spoken of as if they were compounded of the primary sensations. This is a great mistake. The sensations as such are not compounded-yellow, for example, a secondary on Helmholtz's theory, is as unique a quality of feeling as the primaries red and green, which are said to 'compose' it. What are compounded are merely the elementary retinal processes. These, according to their combination, produce diverse results on the brain, and thence the secondary colors result The color-theories' are immediately in consciousness. thus physiological, not psychological, hypotheses, and for more information concerning them the reader must consult the physiological books.


The Duration of Luminous Sensations." This is greater than that of the stimulus, a fact taken advantage of in making fireworks: an ascending rocket produces the sensation of a trail of light extending far behind the position of the bright part of the rocket itself at the moment, because the sensation aroused by it in a lower part of its course still persists. So, shooting stars appear to have luminous tails behind them. By rotating rapidly before the eye a disk with alternate white and black sectors we get for each point of the retina alternate stimulation (due to the passage of white sector) and rest (when a black sector is passing). If the rotation be rapid enough the sensation aroused is that of a uniform gray, such as would be produced if the white and black were mixed and spread evenly over the disk. In each revolution the eye gets as

another color placed alongside the two lights then mix on the retina; or, finally, we must let the differently colored lights fall in succession upon the retina, so fast that the second is there before the impression made by the first has died away. This is best done by looking at a rapidly rotating disk whose sectors are of the several colors to be

much light as if that were the case, and is unable to dis tinguish that this light is made up of separate portions reaching it at intervals: the stimulation due to each lasts until the next begins, and so all are fused together. If one turns out suddenly the gas in a room containing no other light, the image of the flame persists a short time after the flame itself is extinguished." * If we open our eyes instantaneously upon a scene, and then shroud them in complete darkness, it will be as if we saw the scene in ghostly light through the dark screen. We can read off details in it which were unnoticed whilst the eyes were open. This is the primary positive after-image, so-called. According to Helmholtz, one third of a second is the most favorable length of exposure to the light for producing it.

Negative after-images are due to more complex conditions, in which fatigue of the retina is usually supposed to play the chief part.

"The nervous visual apparatus is easily fatigued. Usually we do not observe this because its restoration is also rapid, and in ordinary life our eyes, when open, are never at rest; we move them to and fro, so that parts of the retina receive light alternately from brighter and darker objects, and are alternately excited and rested. How constant and habitual the movement of the eyes is can be readily observed by trying to 'fix' for a short time a small spot without deviating the glance; to do so for even a few seconds is impossible without practice. If any small object is steadily 'fixed' for twenty or thirty seconds, it will be found that the whole field of vision becomes gray. ish and obscure, because the parts of the retina receiving most light get fatigued, and arouse no more sensation than those less fatigued and stimulated by light from less illuminated objects. Or look steadily at a black object, say a blot on a white page, for twenty seconds, and then turn the eye on a white wall; the latter will seem dark gray, with a white patch on it; an effect due to the greater excitability of the retinal parts previously rested by the black, when compared with the sensation aroused elsewhere by light from the white wall acting on the previously stimulated parts of the visual surface. All persons will recall many instances of such phenomena, which are especially noticeable soon after rising in the morning.

*Martin: op. cit.

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