The Neuramœbimeter - continued...
Obersteiner was the first to propose a more appropriate label. Quoting from Exner, Obersteiner argued in 1874 that the instrument in question was meant ‘to measure the temporal duration of a way that a specific psychological process has to run through’. As a consequence, he suggested calling the instrument ‘psychodometer’, a word derived from the Greek psyche (soul) and hodos (way). James and other authors in the English-speaking world readily adopted the new term. Münsterberg begged to differ. Instead he used a short phrase which described the operative features of the device. In his writings, the ‘neuramœbimeter’ turned into a ‘reaction-time instrument with vibrating arm and smoked slide.’
The twists and turns of this history helped cause the neuramœbimeter to become invisible. While historical instruments continue to disappear, in this case the vanishing from sight seems highly ironic. The neuramœbimeter was meant to record time. Time, however, did not respond in any similar way.