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Scientific Films of the 1920s - 1930s - continued...

Scientists and clinicians also conceived of film as an analytic tool. Motion pictures in this sense constituted a form of evidence, diagnostic as well as forensic. Kurt Boas' account of using film in intelligence-testing (1908) anticipated Wolfgang Köhler's better-known filmic intelligence tests of apes (1914-17) by several years. Boas and others also valued film as a kind of lie-detector, a means of uncovering, for instance, cases of simulation among medical patients or suspected malingerers. The psychotechnician Walther Poppelreuter recommended testing visual disturbances by filmic means. An example of such a use is G. A. Brecher's Optisch ausgelöste Reflexe am Kaninchen ("Optically Produced Reflexes in Rabbits"), which demonstrates a test for a disorder of the visual function with a possible connection to an underlying neurological problem.

Finally, scientists utilized the medium as a tool of research and experimentation. Psychologists like Karl Marbe saw film as inherently valuable for conducting research into processes of optical stimulation and visual perception, while Münsterberg sought to harness the moving image as a test-medium by conducting filmic tests on tram-drivers. The use of film to document and analyze disturbances of movement and behavior as a result of stimulation or elimination of brain tissue is illustrated in G. Schaltenbrand's "Erzeugung extra­pyramidaler Bewegungs­störungen durch Bulbokapnin beim Affen" ("Production of Extra-Pyramidal Disturbances of Movement in Apes by Means of Bulbocapnine", 1938). (The drug bulbocapnine was investigated for several decades for its properties of inducing catatonia.)

Reference: Killen, Andreas. 2009. Scientific and Medical Films in the 1920s-1930s. The Virtual Laboratory (ISSN 1866-4784), http://vlp.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/references?id=art74&page=p0003