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Unformatted text preview: er's point of view for the very obvious reason that I am no philosopher.
Since consciousness is most intense when the new or unfamiliar is seen, heard, felt or attempted, we may
assume it has a chief function in acquainting the individual with the new and unfamiliar and in the
establishment of habitual reactions, We are extraordinarily conscious of a queer, unexplainable thing on the
horizon, we bring into the limelight (or IT brings into the limelight) all our possible reactions,--fear, flight,
anger, fight, circumvention, curiosity and the movements of investigation; we are thrown into the maelstrom CHAPTER IV. 38 of choice. Choice and consciousness, doubt and consciousness, are directly related; it is only when conduct
becomes established as habit, with choosing relegated to the background, that consciousness, in so far as the
act is concerned, becomes diminished.
A moderate constant sensation tends to disappear from consciousness, as when we keep our hand in warm
water. It then takes a certain increase of the stimulus to keep the sensation from lapsing out of consciousness.
This lapsing out of consciousness of the steady stimulus, in its ramifications, is responsible for a good deal of
the activity of man, since sensation is a goal of effort. Under emotion we become aware of two sets of
things,--the reaction of our body in its sum total of pleasure or the reverse, and second the object that sets up
this reaction. Consciousness fastens itself on the body and on the world, and the bodily reaction becomes a
guide for future action. Extreme bodily reactions are painful and may result in the abolishing of
 The physiologists speak of this phenomenon under the heading of the Weber-Fechner law, after the two
physiologists who gave it prominence. James pokes a good deal of fun at the "law," which is expressed
mathematically. Perhaps the mathematics should have been eliminated as too "scientific" for our present
attainment, but it does remain true that it is not the ACTUAL stimulus increase that is important in sensation
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University.
- Spring '11