Psychological Review, Vol. 7 (Classic Reprint)
We know the overwhelming richness of technical means through which the naturalist seeks the elements of his material. He dissects the organism into organs and the organs into tissues, and inspects the stained tissues under microscopes until he finds the cells. We know the complicated paths which lead the chemist to the complete analysis of every substance into measurable quantities of chemical elements and those which lead the physicist to divide the ray of light or the sound or the electrical discharge into elementary movements. The corresponding scheme of the psychologist must be very different. As his material is not accessible to the dissecting knife or to the dissolving chemical solution, he has merely the internal microscope of attention at his disposal. He dissolves the mental state into its distinguishable parts by turning the attention to the one or the other element, increasing the vividness of faint elements which were perhaps at first unnoticed and isolating the single parts of the complex by this inner accentuation. Such an isolation allows the linking of the part with all those characteristic associations by which we call a mental state known to us and recognized. The element of the idea which in the unity of the mental state was merely a vague unrecognized shade of the whole complex appears under the searching light of the attention as a well-known acquaintance, perhaps as a muscle or joint or pressure sensation or as the feeling of a special organ.
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