1902 Encyclopedia > Psychology > Motor Presentations. Subjective Selection.

(Part 12)

(B) General Analysis of Mind. Its Ultimate Constituents. (cont.)

Motor Presentations. Subjective Selection.

There is one class of objects of special interest in a general survey, viz., movements or motor presentations. These, like sensory presentations, admit of associations and reproduction, and seem to attain to such distinctness as they possess in adult human experience by a gradual differentiation out of an original diffused mobility which is little besides emotional expression. Of this, however, more presently. It is primarily to such dependence upon feeling that movements owe their distinctive character, the possessions, that is, under normal circumstances, of definite and assignable psychical antecedents, in contrast to sensory presentations, which enter the field of consciousness ex abrupto. We cannot psychologically explain the order in which particular sights and sounds occur ; but the movements that follow them, on the other hand, can be adequately explained only by psychology. The twilight that sends the hens to roost sets like fox to prowl, and the lion’s roar which gathers the jackals scatters the sheep. Such diversity in the movements, although the sensory presentations are similar, is due, in fact, to what we might call the principle of "subjective or hedonic selection"—that, out of all the manifold changes of sensory presentation which a given individual experiences, only a few are the occasion of such decided feeling as to become objects of possible appetite (or aversion). The representation of what interests us comes to be associated with the representation of such movements as will secure its realization, so that—although no concentration of attention will secure the requisite intensity to a pleasurable object present only in idea—we can by what is strangely like a concentration of attention convert the idea of a movement into the fact, and by means of the movement attain the coveted reality.

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