Dans le dernier numéro d’History of Psychology, Serge Nicolas publie avec Peter Thompson un article sur les instruments de mesure des temps de réaction et leur rôle dans la distinction des psychologies françaises et allemandes.
The Hipp chronoscope versus the d’Arsonval chronometer: Laboratory instruments measuring reaction times that distinguish German and French orientations of psychology.
Chronoscopes and chronographs were commonly used instruments that measured reaction times (RTs) in the first psychology laboratories. The Hipp chronoscope is commonly associated with the emergence of psychological laboratories in the late 19th century. This instrument is considered the key apparatus for the study of scientific psychology. Although German and American psychologists preferred the Hipp chronoscope, French psychologists of late 19th century favored another chronometer built by Jacques Arsène d’Arsonval (1851–1940). Unlike German and American psychologists, French psychologists demanded less precision in most experimental situations because they claimed that individual differences are very pronounced in a variety of situations. The advantage of the d’Arsonval chronometer was its portability and its simplicity. This article presents this chronometer and its advantages and drawbacks. The Hipp chronoscope and the d’Arsonval chronometer were the most commonly used apparatuses in Europe for the measurement of RTs until World War II, as is demonstrated by the catalogues of the time (Zimmermann and Boulitte).