Johns Hopkins undergraduate students studying
psychology today are
likely to be preparing for
their spring examinations in that subject, just as students
did in 1891.
A copy of questions on the psychology examination
given May 25, 1891, is on file in the
Hamburger Archives of the Eisenhower Library. Also in
the archives is the Johns Hopkins Circular for
that year, which describes the course given "five hours a
week through the year."
It was offered by Edward H. Griffin, professor of the
history of philosophy and dean of the
Philosophy Department gave courses in psychology, logic
and ethics. Griffin earned his
bachelor's degree at Williams College in 1862 and his
master's there in 1865. He received a doctor of
divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary in 1880.
Griffin described his course in The Circular as
giving "a general view of the results of the new
method of study of the recent investigations in regard to
the quality of sensations, the duration of
psychic acts, etc." His course guide said that if any
psychology students wished to take an "extra
course," they could enroll in a series of 12 lectures and
demonstrations offered by Professor Henry
Newell Martin, chair of the Biology Department. The
course would include "lectures and
demonstrations on the anatomy and physiology of the
muscular and nervous systems."
Griffin presented these questions to his students 116
"I. Give arguments in proof of the distinction between
psychological and physiological facts.
Show that the interpretation of consciousness is difficult,
because its data are liable to be confused
with product of association and inference, and because of
the very nature of reflection.
"II. Criticise the statement that reflex action is a
sentient process. Distinguish between the
affective and the presentative elements in sensation, and
divide the senses into classes on the basis
of this distinction. Show the importance of refined
discrimination in respect to quality, quantity and
duration of sensations.
"III. Through what sensations do the first experiences
of space arise? What qualities of
objects can, originally, be perceived only through touch?
How explain the fact that these seem to be
perceived through sight also? Why do we constantly, and
almost exclusively, employ the 'visual atlas'
rather than the tactual?
"IV. Show that the presentations and representations
are liable to be confused (l) when the
intensity of the image is great, (2) when the sensation is
feeble. What are the leading varieties of
memory? What are qualities of a good memory?"
Dean Giffin retired from the university in 1915 having
served on the faculty for 16 years.