Classics in the History of Psychology

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Christopher D. Green
York University, Toronto, Ontario
ISSN 1492-3713

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Functional Periodicity

Leta Stetter Hollingworth (1914)
Posted July 2000

[p. 66] VIII



As a test of ability to learn during physiological periods typewriting was chosen, for three reasons: it combines all of the simple processes already tested here; it affords a task easy to standardize; subjects will consent to spend time and effort on it, because they are learning something of benefit to themselves, whereas they excuse themselves from learning nonsense syllables, multiplying, etc. Three subjects took part in the typewriting experiment, -- F2, F3 and F5. F2 was already somewhat proficient; F3 was familiar with the mechanism of the typewriter, but had used it only a few times previous to the beginning of this experiment; F3 was also familiar with the mechanism, but had just begun to operate the machine. F5 learned by the touch method. F2 and F3 learned by the sight method.

The task was to write each day at approximately the same hour, for 28 days, a page from Oscar Wilde's "De Profundis." This book was chosen for the purely incidental reason that it happened to be at hand in a cheap edition which could easily be torn apart. About the same number of words was printed on each page. The subject recorded the time of each performance to the half minute. The number of corrected and of uncorrected errors was counted afterwards.

Table XVII gives the record of each subject in full. Figures 1, 2 and 3 show these records graphically. No rise in the time required is noted at menstrual periods. The process of learning goes forward unarrested in so far as these records indicate.[p. 66]

[p. 68]