Time and noise: The stable surroundings of reaction experiments, 1860-1890

Abstract
The 'Reaction experiment with Hipp chronoscope' is one of the classical experiments of modern psychology. This paper investigates the technological contexts of this experiment. It argues that the development of time measurement and communication in other areas of science and technology (astronomy, the clock industry) were decisive for shaping the material culture of experimental in psychology. The chronoscope was constructed by Matthaus Hipp (1813-1893) in the late 1840s. In 1861, Adolphe Hirsch (1830-1901) introduced the chronoscope for measuring the 'physiological time' of astronomical observers. Hirsch's observatory at Neuchatel (Switzerland) served to control the quality of clocks produced in the nearby Jura mountains. Hipp provided the observatory with a telegraphic system that sent time signals to the centers of clock production. Time telegraphy constituted the stable surroundings of the reaction time experiments carried out by both astronomers and psychologists. This technology permitted precise measurements of short time intervals and offered to Hirsch, as well as to Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), a useful metaphor for conceptualizing their respective 'epistemic objects'. But time telegraphy also limited the possibilities of the experimental work conducted within its framework. In particular, noise from outside and inside the research sites at Neuchatel, Leipzig and elsewhere disturbed the precise communication of time.
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DOI 10.1016/S1369-8486(03)00024-4
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References found in this work BETA
„Feinere Messungen in der Mitte einer belebten Stadt”—Berliner Großstadtverkehr und die apparativen Hilfsmittel der Elektrophysiologie, 1845–1910.Sven Dierig - 1998 - NTM International Journal of History and Ethics of Natural Sciences, Technology and Medicine 6 (1):148-169.
The Developing Technology of Apparatus in Psychology's Early Laboratories.Fairfid M. Caudle - 1983 - In Joseph Warren Dauben & Virginia Staudt Sexton (eds.), History and Philosophy of Science: Selected Papers. New York Academy of Sciences.

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Haunted Thoughts of the Careful Experimentalist: Psychical Research and the Troubles of Experimental Physics.Richard Noakes - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 48:46-56.

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