Experimental Evaluation of Tachistoscopic Measurement: A Step Beyond Wundt's Criticism

Authors

VOBOŘIL Dalibor JELÍNEK Martin KVĚTON Petr

Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY
Citation
Doi http://dx.doi.org/10.5406/amerjpsyc.127.2.0245
Description This study was designed to assess the possible systematic bias in measurements obtained using tachistoscopic devices from different historical periods of psychological research. Four different tachistoscopic devices were used for brief presentations of stimuli in a letter recognition task. The research sample consisted of 24 participants (12 female, 12 male) in a within-subject experimental design with complete counterbalancing of 4 conditions defined by 4 instrument types: fall tachistoscope, tachistoscope with camera-like shutter, and computer-based tachistoscopes with cathode ray tube and liquid crystal diode display screens. The effects of experimental conditions were examined using a linear mixed model analysis. Our experiment demonstrated that even in standardized settings the type of tachistoscope used for stimulus presentation systematically influenced the participants' performance. We found that the lowest number of correctly recalled stimuli, as well as the highest number of erroneously recalled stimuli, was produced in the camera-like tachistoscope condition. Together, these findings suggest that when results from studies involving tachistoscopic experiments are reviewed, the unique characteristics of each particular instrument used must be considered carefully.