New Translation of Lange on Classics

A new English translation of Ludwig Lange’s important German language work “Neue Experimente über den Vorgang der einfachen Reaction auf Sinneseindrücke” has been posted to the “Classics in the History of Psychology” website. It was in this work that the distinction between sensory and muscular reections was first proposed, eventually leading to much debate among American psychologists over the veracity of mental types. Christopher Green, the administer of the “Classics” website, writes,

I am very pleased to announce that I have recently posted to the “Classics in the History of Psychology” website a new English translation, by David D. Lee, of Ludwig Lange’s 1888 article “Neue Experimente über den Vorgang der einfachen Reaction auf Sinneseindrücke” [New experiments on the process of the simple reaction to sensory impressions], first published in Philosophische Studien, 4, 479-510.

This particular article, by Wundt’s future assistant, is significant because it attempted to resolve apparent anomalies in the reaction time data then being generated in Wundt’s Leipzig laboratory by claiming the discovery of  distinct “sensory” and “muscular” types of reaction.  In doing so, Lange unintentionally set off a debate among Cattell, Baldwin, Titchener, Angell and others that ultimately led to the founding of the American school of Functionalism.

David kindly provided his considerable translation skills gratis for this project, and I am deeply indebted to him for this generous contribution. It extends further the aim of “Classics” project, which was to make primary source material easily and freely available to the many students and researchers working on the psychology’s history.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.

One thought on “New Translation of Lange on Classics

  1. Essential background in Raynor L. Duncombe – Personal equation in astronomy – Popular Astronomy 53; 1945. Parts iii and IV are on the NASA repository, but without the references: it would be very helpful to retrieve a full copy. The methods A and B of the astronomers already demonstrated the sensory/muscular contrast in reaction times.

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