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Picture of the Month (May 2010)
Dedicated User Captions:
1. Denkkollektiv (by L. Fleck)
2. Out of some reason this neural network didn't work as expected...
3. Brain drain

Read more captions (not voted, latest on top)

Wax specimen in the museum
Obtained from a photo taken at Hugo Münsterberg's Psychological Laboratory at Harvard, this etching portraits part of the scientist's collection of human and animal brain models. Although the original picture was never published, surviving only in the archives of Harvard University, this reproduction appeared in 1893, in an article by Herbert Nichols printed in the McClure's Magazine, a popular illustrated monthly journal. In his article, Nichols (who was Münsterberg's assistant) offered a detailed description of the experiments carried out at his mentor's laboratory and of the scientific paraphernalia to be found there.

Part of this material can be seen in the picture displayed above. Carved in wax, these anatomical pieces illustrate both Münsterberg's experimental diligence and his comparative approach to the study of mental life. The original photo shows a larger set, including a flexible wire model of the human brain according to Aeby's scheme of the fiber distribution in the central nervous system. Münsterberg had been conducting pioneer studies on human and animal psychology at his private laboratory at Freiburg until 1892, when he was invited by William James to direct the psychology lab at Harvard.

Related Items:
See the related essay by Henning Schmidgen: Münsterberg's Photoplays (2008).
More original photographies of laboratory equipment including the same brain wire model can be found here: Titchener, Edward B.: Photographic Album on Psychological Instruments (1895).

Picture Source:
Nichols, Herbert. 1893. The Psychological Laboratory at Harvard. McClure's Magazine: 399-409

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