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^YCKOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS 
V. 23, No. 2. # 99. 1917 



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THE LIBRARY 



The Ontario Institute 



for Studies in Education 



Toronto, Canada 




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No. 2 



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PSYCHOLOGICAL REVIEW PUBLICATIONS 



THE 



Whole No 99 
1917 



Psychological Monographs 

EDITED BY 

JAMES ROWLAXD ANGELL, University of Chicago 
HOWARD C. WARREN, Princeton University {Review) 

JOHN B. WATSON, John Hopkins University (/. of Exp. Psych.) 
SHEPHERD I. FRANZ, Govt. Hosp. for Insane {Bulletin) and 
MADISON BENTLEY, University of Illinois {Index) 



STUDIES FROM THE PSYCHOLOGICAL LABORA- 
TORY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO 



Whole vs. Part Methods in Motor 
Learning. A Comparative Study • 



BY 



LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor of Psychology in the University of Rochester 



PSYCHOLOCilCAL REVIEW COMPANY 
PRINCETON, N. J. 
AND LANCASTER, PA. 

Agents: G. E. STECHERT & CO., London (2 Star Yard. Carey St. W. C); 
Leipzig (Koenigstr., 37); Paris (16 rue de Conde) 



LIBRARY 

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

Professor James R. Angell and Professor Harvey A. Carr 
have aided the research. Such assistance has been but part of a 
broader kindness to the writer. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Chapter I. Nature of the Problem i 

Chapter II. Comparison of the 'Whole' and 'Part' ^leth- 

ocls With Returns Permitted lo 

Chapter III. Influence of the Prevention of Returns. ... 15 

Chapter IV. Elements of Waste in Tart' Learning. 

(a) Loss Due to Negative Transfer in 

the Learning of the Motor Units. . 21 

(b) Loss Due to Disintegration Through 

Time 23 

(c) Loss Due to Retro-Active Inhibition 24 

(d) Loss Due to Contiguity in L^nit Func- 

tioning 25 

(e) Loss Due to Unit Incompatibility in 

a Larger Series 26 

Chapter V. Place Association and its Relation to Im- 
provement of the 'Part' IMethod 29 

( 1 ) 'Direct Repetitive" 32 

(2) 'Reversed Repetitive' 33 

(3 ) 'Progressive Part' 35 

(4) 'Elaborative Part' 36 

Chapter \T. Elements of Advantage in 'Part" Learning. . 48 

(a) Transfer 49 

(b) Learning Effort and Length of Ma- 

terial 55 

Chapter VII. Massed vs. Distributed Effort in 'Whole' 

and 'Part' Learning 59 

Chapter VIII. Comparison and Summary C^y 

Appendix 70 

Bibliography 79 



WHOLE Vs. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING— 
A COMPARATIVE STUDY 

CHAPTER I. 

Nature of the Problem 

One of the several problems of the general pedagogical-psy- 
chological field that warrants full analysis is the 'whole' vs. 
'part' method of learning. Whole method procedure demands 
the continuous repetition of an entire body of material until the 
desired stage of mastery is attained. Part procedure requires 
an initial mastery of definite sections of the material and the 
final connection of these different sections in proper serial order. 
This 'whole' — 'part' problem loomed large during the past de- 
cade, but interest in it seems to have waned, due no doubt to 
the acceptance of the experimental evidence as final. This evi- 
dence was first deduced from the learning of the Ebbinghaus 
nonsense syllables. This pioneer in the scientific study of mem- 
ory set the problem. Meumann (ii) presents his own work, 
planned to supplement the splendid efforts of StefTens (19). 
Ephrussi (4), Neumann (13), Pentschew (15) of the German 
laboratories, Larguier des Bancels (10) of the French, and 
Henderson (6), Kuhlmann (8), Lakenan (9), Pyle (17), Pyle 
and Snyder (18), Watt (21), and numerous other writers in 
English have investigated the problem. The statements of Meu- 
mann (11) may be summarized as typical, i.e., learning by 
parts becomes more disadvantageous the more the material is 
subdivided; conversely, the more closely the 'part' learning ap- 
proximates to 'whole' learning, the more rapidly and certainly 
is the task accomplished. The learning advantage for the 
'whole' method is even greater with meaningful material than 
with the nonsensical. The superiority of the 'whole' method is 
manifested by fewer repetitions being required for mastery, 
more correct formations of associations, and more permanent 
retention. These results hold for the adult and also for the 



2 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECH STEIN 

child, as soon as the latter becomes aware of the advantages of 
the 'whole' method. These findings are likewise true for ma- 
terial not constituting a coherent whole. There are possible 
mediating procedures of the 'whole' method, such as brief rest- 
ing pauses in the forward directed method or the temporary 
delay upon parts of obvious difficulty. 

The material presented and the evidence reviewed lead to 
the acceptance of the 'whole' method as the more efficient in 
the learning of nonsense material and poetry of short lengths. 
For longer lengths, Pyle and Snyder (i8) verified the results 
for poetic material of 240 lines and Lakenan (9) for prose of 
300 words. 

Following Steffens, Meumann, Pentschew, and others, the 
following causes of waste in part learning are, perhaps, sug- 
gested, though none of these have been subjected to laboratory 
testing. 

(a) Learning of transitions between units (b) Learning of 
backward directed associations. (c) Break up of helpful 
mediate associations and the disturbance of the absolute position 
assigned to each item during the learning of its own part or 
section, (d) Lack of uniformity in distribution of the learn- 
ing, (e) Loss of the aid of logical coherence with sense 
material. 

The above brief survey points to the wide interest the prob- 
lem has attained and to the strong agreement of the experimental 
findings. But the interest has not been carried over into the 
motor field and very few references have been made to the 
conditions as they would appear in definite class-room situa- 
tions. Parker (14) is a notable exception. In his recent 
"Methods of Teaching in High Schools," he suggests that, in 
the school activities of the gymnasium and shop, in dancing, 
in musical technique, in the pronunciation of a foreign language, 
etc., motor control may in some instances possibly be hastened 
if attention is directed toward the elementary movements in- 
volved. Excluding this bare suggestion, the question of the 
unit ('part') method as opposed to 'whole' learning of the 
motor act seems to have been disregarded by the experimental 



WHOLE J'S. PART METHODS IX MOTOR LEARNING 3 

psychologist. Dearborn, Ordahl, Richardson, Swift, Freeman, 
Colvin, Book, Bryan and Harter, Lenba and Hyde, Ruger, and 
Thorndike may be mentioned as having either overlooked the 
problem or else considered the evidence in rote and logical 
learning so conclusive as to warrant analysis of the parallel 
motor situation relatively useless. 

Summarizing, the following points are descriptive of the 
work done upon the problem of 'whole' vs. 'part' learning: (a) 
It has been confined to logical and rote material, (b) Humans 
have been tested but not animals, (c) The pure 'part' method 
has been investigated but practically no modifications of it. 
(d) Greater economy obtains with the 'whole' method, (e) Sev- 
eral proposed explanations of the waste in 'part' learning have 
been ofliered, but none of these has been tested under controlled 
conditions. 

The concern of this research, then, may be stated in certain 
definite propositions : 

( I ) To see whether the 'whole' and 'part' findings in rote 
and logical learning hold for sensory-motor, adaptive problems ; 
• (2) To determine whether these laws hold for animals as 
well as humans when learning conditions are comparable; 

(3) To test out certain hypotheses and determine which fac- 
tors are causative for economy or waste in these methods of 
learning ; 

(4) To devise such modifications or combinations as may be 
better than either of the above methods; 

(5) To draw such conclusions from the data secured as may 
have heuristic and practical values in enforcing or modifying 
learning conditions imposed upon the school child. 

The above program seems to the writer to be timely. The 
poverty of knowledge of the motor field is obvious. As regards 
the attempt to determine universality of methods, the com- 
parative psychologist has likewise been dilatory. Barring the 
research of Hunter (7) upon the Delayed Reaction, the litera- 
ture fails to show a thoroughgoing attempt to elicit data for 
humans and animals secured under identical conditions. If the 
sole excuse for comparative study is to secure information that 



4 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

will promote the prediction and control of human behavior rather 
than to gather facts of animal behavior that have a value "in 
and for themselves", then this research certainly seems oppor- ' 
tune. Furthermore, this research makes a thoroughgoing at- 
tempt to reduce to a measurable level such obscure terms as the 
strength of backward directed associations, the learning of tran- 
sitions between units, etc. Finally, the need for bettering 
existing methods of learning is always urgent. No doubt 
criticism may be raised regarding the details of the research. 
But the writer hopes that his methods will prove stimulating" 
and suggestive to other investigators and that experimentation 
in an exact and truly comparative sense may be carried out by- 
them. Until the identity of learning conditions is established, 
any talk of relative degrees of intelligence between different life 
forms, universality of behavior, etc., seems little short of 
academic. 

In the search for a motor problem where conditions of learn- 
ing might be as nearly identical as possible for the human and 
the animal, the maze was selected. The researches of Small, 
Watson, Carr, Kinnaman, Porter, Yerkes, Hicks, Vincent, 
Bogardus and Henke, and numerous additional papers, of 
scarcely less magnitude have served to make the maze problem 
well nigh commonplace with the psychological experimenter. 
Perrin (i6) continued the work of the Chicago Laboratory 
with pencil mazes, but the comparative possibilities of his work 
were not followed up^ A description of the rat and pencil 
mazes used by the writer and an analysis of the method of ex- 
perimentation bring out the comparability of conditions in the 
present research. 

Apparatus and Procedure 

A maze of special design was constructed, the details 

being determined solely for their adaptability to the Svhole' and 

'part' learning methods. This maze "A" (page 70) was square, 

1 Since the above was written, Dr. Perrin's Cs) article upon the human 
and child maze reactions has appeared. It will prove interesting to the 
comparative psychologist to have this valuable experimentation duplicated 
with the rat. 



WHOLE J'S. PART METHODS IX MOTOR LEARNING 5 

with a food-box 8''-8'' in the center. The maze consisted 
of four independent sections, each having its own entrance 
and exit into the food-box. A distributing gaUery around 
the food-box made it possible by the removal of the panels 
to learn the sections in any order and to connect tbem as 
desired without changing the general exit into the com- 
mon food-box. Several of the connections are discussed 
in detail in subsequent passages. The dotted lines (Fig. I, p. 70) 
show the position of doors and removable panels. It is at once 
obvious that the sectional arrangements, the conditions of enter- 
ing and leaving each section, the absolute simplicity of throw- 
ing the various sections into a larger motor situation, etc., 
render this design of immense value for the problem under 
investigation. The doors and panels were of galvanized iron 
and worked vertically in slotted brass posts. The posts were 
securely screwed through the floor of the maze to a 16"- 16'' 
metal plate fastened under the maze floor. The passageways 
were 4'' in width and height. The partitions were made of 
%" stock. Each section contained three cul de sacs, each being 
12'' in depth. The final one in each section (immediately 
preceding the turn to the food-box) was the same in general 
position for all sections. The remainder of the blinds \vere 
differently placed, furnishing four distinct maze patterns. The 
true pathway for each section was of constant length, 100". 
This equality of the four sections in point of number of pos- 
sible errors and length of the true pathway is partially com- 
parable to logical memory conditions (where verses to be learned 
are of the same length) and rote material (where the length of 
the series and its parts are easily controllable). When the parts 
were thrown together, the total distance represented in the 
twelve cul de sacs was 48'^ with 400'' in the true pathway. The 
interior walls, panels and doors were painted black. Covering- 
was by four glass frames, the food-box being left open. Slid- 
ing panels were attached to the right wall of errors number 3, 
6, 9, 12. A rod extended through the outer wall of the maze 
box and, when this was pulled, it closed the passageway and 
prevented the return of the rat over the section just traversed. 



6 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

Such a device made it easy to test the influence of the returns 
in maze learning. 

A second maze (Maze B) was one used by Bogardus and 
Henke (i). This was used only to verify the results obtained 
for one phase of the experimentation upon Maze A, namely, 
the influence of preventing returns. It was unsuited in design 
for further use. It contained double section alleys, these total- 
ling thirteen single sections. Sliding doors were arranged for 
blockino- returns at the end of sections marked b, d, and h. 
Consequently, four distinct maze areas are learned but these 
do not approach equality in number of errors, length of path- 
wa}', etc., as in Maze A. 

The human mazes duplicated exactly the pattern of the ones 
just described. They were constructed out of solid brass. The 
walls were made equal in thickness to the passage-ways, namely, 
.7 cm. Maze A had cul de sacs 4 cm. in length. The true path- 
way covered 30 cm. in each section. The entrances, exits, 
blocking panels, etc, were solid brass plugs, each equipped with 
a small metal post and fitted into a hole drilled in the maze 
floor. The plugs were carefully adjusted and never presented 
rough edges. To the tactual sense, they were parts of the reg- 
ular maze wall. By adjustment, the sections could be learned 
in any order and the run modified in the same ways as described 
above for the animal mazes. Sections could be eliminated 
without disturbing the general exit into the common open place. 
Maze B was constructed along similar lines, though without 
any detail of sectional complexity, since its utility was very 
limited. 

Each brass maze was laid flat on the table when in use and 
any movement during the testing act was prevented by re- 
straining strips tacked around it. The entire table was covered 
with a black cloth hood. The subject could move his arm 
freely under the hood, so that his learning of the maze was un- 
obstructed. His only handicap consisted in being deprived of 
vision. The hood was open toward the observer, so that the 
learning efforts of each trial could be observed and recorded. 

Animals selected for the experimentation were white rats. 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS I\ MOTOR LEARNING 7 

They were secured mainly from the local dealers as needed. 
Some few groups were bred in the laboratory. No strain 
selection was attempted. For all the groups, training began at 
the age of eight or nine weeks. The rats were caged in groups 
varying from five to seven for a cage and not segregated. The 
cages were placed on racks around the walls of a 12' by 12' 
room and were never moved from position during the learning 
period. The rats were fed in the food-box for a period of ten 
days before the tuition was begun. They were allowed to run 
at will over the glass top of the maze. They became accus- 
tomed to the feeding- environment and to human handling. 
Food consisted of a bread and milk diet, each group being fed 
in the food-box seven minutes per day following the comple- 
tion of the day's run. Also, each rat was allowed a nibble of 
food upon reaching the food-box after each run. The cages 
were cleaned once per week while the group was feeding. Any 
disturbances due to changes in bedding, etc., were hereby given 
opportunity for subsiding during the twenty-four hours in- 
tervening before the next trial. During the day, shades to 
three windows were raised for sanitary reasons. These were 
invariably drawn when the experimenter entered the room for 
the day's testing and electric lights were switched on, one oc- 
cupying the center of the ceiling and directly above the maze, 
the other a drop light six feet to the rear of the main maze 
entrance. All testing was done by electric light. One hundred 
and seventy-seven rats were trained, ninety-one male and eighty- 
six female. 

The human subjects were university students from the writ- 
er's classes in Introductory Psychology. Their college classifi- 
cation called for sophomore standing or higher. Seventy-five 
percent were sophomores. There were fifty-three men and 
fifty-nine women used for the testing. The testing groups 
numbered six. Each student reported privately for his test 
at a period kept constant from day to day. Testing continued 
at this regular period each day (barring Sunday) until the 
maze was mastered. No testing was permitted with visitors 
present. The testing was done in an annex to the experimenter's 



8 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

office. Constant conditions of lighting, furniture arrangement- 
and quietness were maintained. It is here in order to express 
thanks to the students for their long-continued and punctual 
observance of the testing conditions. Without their faithful- 
ness, the results would be vitiated. 

Regarding the method of testing, each rat was given one 
run per day in the maze for four days. Following this, two 
runs were given in succession per day until four out of five 
successive runs were without errors. Learning was then con- 
sidered finished. Time was recorded with a stop-watch from 
the time the rat turned from the entrance door until he emerged 
into the food-box. Errors of three types were listed sep- 
arately. ( I ) Cul de sacs entered while the rat was going for- 
ward. These are called Type A errors. Entrance into a cul 
de sac was considered accomplished whenever the body was 
squarely oriented in the error pathway. (2) Cul de sacs en- 
tered while the rat was returning toward the entrance, i.e., 
blind alley errors due to the retracing. These are called Type 
B errors. (3) Retracing over the true pathway. These are 
called Type C errors. Such are scored when the rat is return- 
ino- toward the entrance. Each short section of the return 
pathway traversed constitutes one such error. During the runs 
the experimenter was seated back of the main entrance and 
retained this position, irrespective of the complexity of a par- 
ticular learning method. The maze box was so constructed 
that the rat could be placed in the various entry-ways without 
causing any change in the experimenter's position. 

The human subjects were given the same number of runs 
per day as the rats. The criteria for mastery, scoring of 
data, etc., were likewise identical. The results of each trial 
were listed during the run (or immediately following in the 
case of hurried, almost perfect runs). When the subject was 
ready for the first run, the experimenter lifted the hand on to 
the maze area, fixing the stylus in the required locality. The 
following instructions were then given : "You are now on a 
surface that has a pathway in various directions. Explore 
the area, being careful to keep the pointer in the groove and 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 9 

not allowing it to become dislodged — so ! Continue to explore 
the area until I tell you to stop." No description of this or of 
any maze was given. No directions as to the types of errors, 
their avoidances, or striving for speed were given at any time. 
The subjects were chosen primarily because of their total un- 
familiarity with the maze problem. Only after the runner had 
explored the entire surface and reached the open area, did the 
experimenter say, "You are now in a large, square area — so! 
That is called home. You must learn to reach home in the most 
economical fashion." 

It is obvious that the human is forced under these conditions 
to rely upon contact values for the detection of blinds and the 
gaining of a sense of direction. Deprived of vision, he is 
'sizing' up the novel situation as the rat has been shown to do, 
a fact ably demonstrated by Watson, Small, Carr and others. 
In the same stumbling, trial and error fashion he learns the 
concrete meaning of blind alleys, returning to a closed entrance 
and the final position that means success. No attempt is here 
made to state that the mental processes involved in the mastery 
of the maze situation are identical for the rat and the human. 
It is maintained, however, that the two have been forced to 
determine the nature of a situation regarding which they were 
equally in ignorance and to rely upon the same sensory avenues 
fot data gathering. The satisfying of these conditions is a 
prerequisite for any comparative study. 



CHAPTER II 

Comparison of the 'Whole' and 'Part' ^Methods With 

Returns Permitted 

The introductory chapter has brought out the fact that the 
maze problem was the one chosen for testing the 'whole' and 
'part' procedures. It has been shown that this choice makes 
possible the establishment of identical conditions of learning 
for the rat and the human. The identity of the maze problems 
and the duplication of testing conditions for the rats and humans 
have been fully set. forth. The specially designed mazes have 
been described at length and their adaptability for testing the 
'whole' and 'part' methods commented upon. The present chap- 
ter shows how groups of rats and humans were taught the 
problem by these different methods. Each group is treated 
separately and its learning behavior and records are displayed 
below. 

(a) Utilizing Maze A, a group of twelve rate, five males 
and seven females was used to establish results for 'whole' 
method learning. The behavior of these rats in learning the 
maze was different in no way from the descriptions generally 
given. The results of this regular method of maze learning 
appear in Table II. See page 72. 

(b) For learning Maze A by the 'part' method, a group of 
nine rats, four males and five females was used. The rats 
were trained in Section I until mastery was attained. As soon 
as the individual rat had reached this stage, he was transferred 
to Section II, using of course entrance II and exit II. It has 
been shown in Chapter I how the learning of a section did not 
involve any of the other sections, since each section has an 
independent entrance and exit to the food-box. Upon master}^ 
of this Section, tuition in the remaining units was successively 
carried out. The behavior in learning the four distinct sections 
presented no peculiarities, except the readiness with which the 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING ii 

rat began the learning of each new problem. The general 
hesitancy of attitude was lacking after Section I had been 
learned. As soon as the mastery of the four units was attained, 
the separating panels were removed and the rat started at 
entrance I. The difference in behavior now became marked 
and was characteristic for the entire group. Starting off at 
full speed and with almost uniform perfection in Section I, 
the rat would come suddenly to a halt at the closed door of 
exit I. Sometimes he would dart back through Section I to 
the entrance and would return full tilt. A hurried run into Sec- 
tion II produced the same result at exit II. Hereupon the rat's 
reaction generally went to pieces. Occasionally he might run 
perfectly into Section II, check his speed, stop, and then return 
the entire maze length. Retracing, entering blind alleys long 
since eliminated, pausing, cautiously exploring the various Sec- 
tions were characteristic features. Frequent complete returns 
were made. Occasionally a fresh start and a rapid run would 
suffice to carry the rat through the entire course. But each rat 
of the group behaved uniformly respecting the inability to con- 
nect the serially learned units, the enormous time lost in re- 
tracing and exploring, and the speed of motion. Nor did this 
confusion subside after the first successful act of connection, 
as is shown from the data tabulated below. Table I gives the 
number of trials and the time required for each Section and 
for the connection of these, together with the errors. Table II 
gives these results in comparison with the group learning by 
the 'whole' method. (See page '/2.) 

These numerical data show an advantage (io%) in the num- 
ber of learning trials for the whole method, but this is ofifset 
by an enormous expenditure of time (ii8%) and errors made 
(9.5%)^ An inspection of the types of errors reveals that the 

^ The attention of the reader is called to the case of a rat of the 'part* 
learning group, whose records are excluded from the data presented. 
This rat learned the different units in normal fashion but was unable to 
connect these. For the first trial, he ran perfectly into Section II, thence 
retraced until the entrance to Section I was reached. Here he sat for 
one hour, whereupon he was removed. For this run, he scored no forward 
going blind alleys. Two were made on the return and twenty-seven re 



12 



LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECTISTEIN 



high number was due to retracing both the true pathway and 
the cul de sacs. These are more numerous in each case for the 
'whole' method (139 vs. 108 for the retrace errors and 24 vs. 
17 for the retracing cul de sacs). Much of the great time 
expenditure in 'whole' method learning occurs in this retracing 
activity. Consequently, it points out one disadvantage of using 
the 'whole' method for learning the maze. The problem im- 
mediately emerges whether such repetition and time expendi- 
ture due to retracing are advantageous. This is seriously called 
into question, since the only favorable score of the 'whole' 
method is in the scant saving of 10% of trials. The utility 
of the returning effort will be investigated in Chapter III, 
(c) With the human experimentation in 'whole' method learn- 
ing, the behavior was identical with the general type as de- 
scribed by Perrin. It agreed also wath that of the rats. The 
early trials accumulated errors of all types. Much time was 
expended in apparently useless movements into blinds and re- 
peated returning to the entrance. Often the subject w^ould pause 
as if for reflection and then attack the problem with renewed 
zeal. See Table IV (page 72) for the results of this test, 
(d) In the 'part' learning, the subject was never told when he 
was set to w^ork upon a new section, yet he seemed to detect 
the change very quickly. As in the case of the rat, the human 
worked hard to master each new problem. When the four 
units w^ere learned, the act of connection gave the same difficulty 
as was shown by the rats. Some subjects seemed to have a 
strong determination to go ahead but their control over the 
situation invariably failed.- The quickest subject to connect 



traces. On the next day he started out rapidly, ran without error into 
Section II, returned without error to the entrance, where he sat until 
removed one hour later. He was not run again. He was the single rat 
of the entire group unable to connect the units. 

2 It is clear that the human subject knew no more of the nature of his 
task than the rat. He had not been informed that he was to connect 
four sections that had been learned as units. It was part of his problem 
to discover this, just as it was with the rat. The writer cannot say whether 
such previous information would have modified his learning results. Such 
previous instruction would certainly have rendered comparison with the 
rat records impossible. 



WHOLE I'S. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 13 

the units required six trials, while the slowest required forty- 
seven. The records of this experiment are listed in Table III, 
and compared in Table IV with the 'whole' method records. 

This comparison of human records shows an enormous ad- 
vantage of the 'whole' method and this advantage applies to all 
the measuring criteria. There is a superiority of 47% for both 
total errors and time and 48% saving for number of trials. 
Likewise, this advantage is equitably distributed for all types 
of errors, since there is a substantial saving for each type when 
learning is by the 'whole' method. 

Comparing the records of the rats and humans (Table V, p. 
73), we find agreement in that the 'whole' method brings final 
success with fewer trials, though with greater percentage of gain 
for the humans. It is seen that the rats learn their problem 
wdth a saving of time and errors by the 'part' method, as op- 
posed to the humans succeeding best by the 'whole'. Yet the 
'whole' method is also more efficient for the rats, if the for- 
ward going cul de sacs (Type A errors) are made the criterion 
of measurement. If the retracings were eliminated from the 
records, the 'whole' method would prove superior in all re- 
spects, both for rats and humans. (This shows again the neces- 
sity of testing the influence of the returning, especially with 
the rats). In absolute terms, the humans learn the problem 
with fewer trials and less time than the rats, both for 'whole' 
and 'part' learning methods. They accumulate more errors than 
the rats when the 'part' method is employed, fewer errors with 
the 'whole' method. This high error accumulation in 'part' 
learning is assignable mainly to the connecting of the parts. 
Rats and humans agree in finding this connecting- process very 
difficult, but the humans here require more trials and accumu- 
late more errors of all tvpes. especially of the retracing varietv 
(Type C). ' 

The results of this 'v/hole' and 'part' testing may be sum- 
marized as follows : 

( I ) Rats. Mastery is attained with a slightly less number 
of trials when learning is by the 'whole' method. Such learn- 
ing accumulates more errors and requires a much greater time 



14 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

expenditure. The errors in excess are not cul de sacs entered 
while going forward (Type A) but those due to retracing 
(Type C) and the cul de sacs made possible by this (Type B). 

(2) Humans. Mastery is attained with fewer trials, less 
time expenditure and fewer errors of all types when learning 
is by the 'whole' method. 

It is apparent that additional testing is required to determine 
the influence of the returning tendency. This alone prevented 
the 'whole' method from proving more efficient in all cases. 
If the returns are not counted in the records, it has been shown 
that the 'whole' method would be better for the rats in all 
respects, as it had proved with the humans. But it is not justifi- 
able to exclude these returns arbitrarily. Rather, a test situa- 
tion must be prepared where no more returning is allowed 
in 'whole' method procedure than in 'part' learning. This is 
the problem of Chapter III. 



CHAPTER III 

Influence of the Prevention of Returns 

The experimentation reported in Chapter II made clear that 
the 'whole' method invariably proves superior with the humans 
and likewise with the rats, except when comparison is with 
reference to the great number of retrace errors accumulated 
by the latter. It was shown that the rats probably have a 
greater tendency to return than the humans, and that this 
tendency is no doubt exaggerated in the 'whole' method pro- 
cedure. Logically, it is a question whether these returns are 
causal parts of the learning process or merely incidental by- 
products. If they are assisting in the mastery of the problem, 
they must be counted, both for rats and humans and in both 
learning methods. It might appear, consequently, that their 
relative advantage would be different not only for the different 
methods but also for the rats and humans. It was pointed out 
that the rats accumulated a high proportion of these errors 
in 'whole' method learning but that the humans did not. On 
the other hand, if these errors are shown to be relatively use- 
less, they should not be counted in any case for either animals 
or humans. The problem of this chapter is to test the influence 
of these returns. 

The ec[uipment of Maze A with sliding panels for the pre- 
vention of returns has been described in the introduction. It 
is, of course, obvious that all returning is not prevented. It is 
not feasible to prevent all retracing. For our comparative pur- 
poses, it is necessary to restrict the returns in 'whole' procedure 
to the same number possible in 'part' method learning. This 
demands preventing the return into a definite unit section as 
soon as this section has been traversed. This effectively divides 
the whole maze into the four units established for 'part' learn- 
ing. It renders the amount of returning in the 'whole' method 
plan practically the same as naturally occurs in the 'part' method. 



lO LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

It makes possible a comparison of the two methods with the 
same degree of returning. This is exactly the condition desired. 

A group of nine rats, four males and five females, was used 
in this test. As soon as the rat had reached the closed exit 
to Section I, the return panel was noiselessly pulled. By quietly 
stepping to the opposite side of the maze the operator was 
enabled to close the blocks to Sections II and III without dis- 
tracting the animal from his task of exploration. Often the 
animals would return to the closed passageway, but the find- 
ing of this blocked never resulted in fright or the cessation 
of the exploring activity. At no time did this group manifest 
the confusion and random expenditure of energy so typical 
of the previously described groups. The results of this ex- 
periment are arranged for comparative purposes in Table YL 

The returns in the human experimentation were prevented 
by inserting the tip of a long handled rubber block. This was 
constructed to fit the pathway completely. It was so held by 
the experimenter as to prevent any motion if the subject re- 
explored the area. Because of the general maze direction it 
was possible to block the returns without getting in the way 
of the subject. For the first few trials the subject was con- 
fused at his inability to return. All knowledge that his path- 
way had been blocked seemed lacking and he assigned his 
inability to his own carelessness (see Table VI, page /t,). 

Inspecting the data of Table VI, its remarkable uniformity 
of results is manifest. For both animal and human learning, 
prevention of returns increases the number of trials required 
for complete mastery, but at an enormous saving of time and 
errors. So far as regards time and errors, the greater amount 
of saving is for the rats (151% vs. 18% for time, 95% vs. 
56% for errors). With trials, there is 10% vs. 29% increase 
in number for the humans. Considering the high savings in 
time and errors and the relatively small loss in number of trials, 
efBciency as between these types of 'whole' methods rests over- 
whelmingly with the prevention of returns. 

The study of the infiuence of the returns as a factor in 
learning was continued with Maze B. This experiment in- 



WHOLE I'S. PART METHODS LY MOTOR LEARXING 17 

volves the double section alley as contrasted with the single 
section alley of Maze A. Fourteen rats were used for the 
unobstructed learning, thirteen for learning with returns blocked. 
The entire groups were given fifty runs upon the maze, and 
the records of all the rats for the entire period are combined. 
These are summarized in Table VII, p. 73. They show for the 
groups a large amount of saving, both for time and errors. 

By the end of the tuition period, 64% of the unrestricted 
group had mastered the mazje but only 54% of the group w^here 
returns were prevented. The records of these somew^hat 
quicker learners are abstracted and appear in Table VIII. They 
show the same time and error saving as do the entire group 
records. While a larger percentage of the unrestricted had mas- 
tered the maze within the alloted period, the average number 
of trials required is slightly higher. This latter fact is at 
variance with the parallel results in Maze A. There is no 
reason to assign this to the difference in type of alleys of 
the two mazes, or to attempt any explanation, since the re- 
sults are for a picked group. If, however, the results for the 
humans upon the same double section maze (where learning 
was continued until mastery was attained), should contradict 
the conclusions drawn from the work on Maze A, the ques- 
tion of double section alleys might be raised. Otherwise, it 
might be concluded that the full completion of the training 
would produce the results in increased number of trials for 
obstructed learning as previously stated for Maze A. 

Turning to the human learning of Maze B, here again it is 
found that the entire group masters the problem wath less runs 
when freedom is allowed but that more errors are amassed 
(Table VIII, p. 73). The restricted group fails slightly to main- 
tain the time advantages generally secured (2.7% decrease), 
but this and the extraordinarily high number of trials are trace- 
able no doubt to two students of the restricted group, who 
required 79 and 87 runs respectively for mastery.^ 

1 The daily records of these two fail to show a continuous fixation of 
specific errors but rather a general inability to secure a uniform record from 
day to day. The extreme length of their learning series increased a native 
tendency to nervousness. 



i8 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

From the data of human and rat learning, both for Mazes 
A and B and not only for complete mastery but also for a 
limited number of trials, it seems correct to conclude that pre- 
vention of returns increases slightly the number of trials re- 
quired for mastery but this is accomplished by an enormous 
saving in time and accumulated errors. 

It cannot now be said that the retracing plays no part in 
the final mastery of the maze situation. Such an answer will 
depend finally upon maze records where returns are absolutely 
blocked. The writer is planning the details of such an experi- 
ment. He now has in preparation a detailed analysis of the 
learning of the maze with and without prevention of returns. 
Here there will be an attempt made to determine the exact 
value of the retrace error and the retrace cul de sac as factors 
in mastery. It appears almost conclusive from present data 
that the retracing and entering into blind alleys, made pos- 
sible by this retracing are practically useless items. Graphs 
for the rats learning Maze A show that retracing is a negligible 
factor long before the first half of the number of required 
trials has been made; that the return cul de sacs cease to play 
any part after the first two-fifths of the trials in the case of 
unobstructed learning and after the first fifth for obstructed; 
that the forward directed errors are almost identical in num- 
ber and in distribution throughout the entire learning period 
and that they and they almost solely determine the learning 
curve for the last half of the tuition period. (See graphs I to 
lY). This seems to indicate that the beginning trials are 
very wasteful when waste is permitted; that the maze is never 
mastered until the rat finally settles down to the difificult task 
of forward elimination of errors; that the early trials do 
not measure learning but primarily the extravagant and use- 
less expenditure of energy. This would argue that the re- 
tracing is mainly of no efficiency in learning and hence should 
be disregarded. If the retracings are eliminated from the 
records discussed in Chapter II, it is certain that the 'whole' 
method ranks superior in every possible respect. It was in- 
sisted upon in the earlier discussion that the retracings are 



WHOLE JS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 19 

the only factors contributing to the high error scores of the 
'whole' method procedure, and that such a condition maintained 
only with the rats. This view is certainly strengthened by the 
findings of the present chapter. The obvious implications of 
this are two. ( i ) It seems fair to question whether the cus- 
tomary practice of including the retracing in the measurement 
of maze learning is justified. (2) Considerable light is shed 
upon the advantage of the complete forward direction of effort 
throughout the entire learning period. 

Furthermore, this evidence leads the writer to question the 
reliability of viewpoint basic to the recent controversial litera- 
ture resrardino- the order of the elimination of errors in maze 
learning. It seems important that the investigators should take 
into account the big question regarding the influence of the 
prevention of the returns before any conclusions are drawn 
in reference to a general eliminative tendency. Again, if true 
learning is not to be measured by total errors (as suggested 
above), should the measuring of the alleged eliminative ten- 
dency be begun until the stage of aggressive, forward directed 
learning is reached? This monograph waives any discussion 
of the order of error elimination, but the topic will be discussed 
at a later period. 

Having tested out the influences of the partial prevention of 
returns and found that such procedure produces an enormous 
saving in time and errors, it is in order to compare these re- 
sults with the statistics of 'part' learning as presented in 
Chapter II. See Table IX, p. 74, for the data. For both rats and 
humans, the 'whole' method is strikingly superior. Any ques- 
tion of approximate value for the two methods would rest upon 
the like number of trials for the rat learning (30 trials for 
both 'whole' and 'part'). But the evaluation of the two methods 
as equally efficient is totally unwarranted in the face of the 
overwhelming decrease of time (13%) and errors (44%). 
With the humans, this decrease is 26, 126 and 1937^ respectively 
for number of trials, time and errors. It is certain, then, that 
for both rats and humans the 'whole' method in motor learn- 
ing is to be preferred to the 'part' method, provided unlimited 



20 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECH STEIN 

returning is prevented, or if not prevented, that the return 
errors are excluded from the data being compared. 

The resuUs of testing the prevention of the returns in 
Svhole' method procedure may be summarized as follows : 

(i) The number of trials for mastery is slightly increased, 
both for rats and humans. 

(2) There is a very marked saving in time for mastery and 
the number of errors is greatly reduced. 

(3) The saving in time and the avoidance of errors are 
assignable directly to the prevention of the retracing. 

(4) The forward going cul de sac errors (Type A) are 
almost constant in number with each method for the same 
divisions of the learning period. 

(5) The retracing is largely useless and should probably 
be disregarded. 

(6) The rat's tendency to retrace is stronger than the 
human's, but the prevention of returns affects the learning of 
both in identical fashion. 

(7) 'Whole' method learning is more efficient than 'part' 
learning for both rats and humans, provided no more retracing 
is allowed than is possible in 'part" procedure. 



CHx\PTER IV 

Elements of Waste in Tart' Learning 

The preceding chapter has shown that the 'whole' method 
of motor learning proves superior in all cases, provided no 
more retracing is allowed than is present in 'part' learning. 
It is conclusive that the 'part' method fails to secure success 
with fewer trials, less time consumption, and the accumulation 
of fewer errors. Naturally, it is necessary to determine the 
exact factors that create such a condition. Specifically, this 
means to seek out experimentally the elements of weakness in 
the 'part' method. Investigators of the methods in the rote 
and logical fields came to agreement regarding the causes con- 
tributing toward making the 'whole' method universally su- 
perior. These proposed explanations have been stated in the 
opening chapter (see p. 2). Two comments need to be 
made. These proposed causative factors have never been tested 
in motor learning, nor have they ever been subjected to meas- 
urement under carefully controlled laboratory conditions. The 
aim of this chapter is to test various a priori hypotheses and 
hereby secure a statistical evaluation of their validity. Several, 
of those proposed for rote and logical learning are handled. 
However, several distinctly new conditioning factors are tested, 
not only because of their immediate connection with the maze 
act but also because of their logical reference to learning in 
general. 

(a) Loss due to negative transfer in the learning of the 
motor units. 

Until determined to the contrary, it may be argued that learn- 
ing one section (one motor unit) exerts an unfavorable in- 
fluence upon the mastery of succeeding units. While transfer 
in motor learning has often been investigated, there are no 
results that show conclusively whether such transfer — either 
positive or negative — continues unchecked in operation for sev- 



22 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

eral successive problems. This influence may be so great as 
to cause an enormous expenditure of learning effort upon the 
subsequent maze sections. This harmful negative transfer may 
be the chief factor contributing to the accumulation of the 
numerous errors in 'part' learning. Reference to Tables I and 
III shows that this situation cannot be ignored. 

Control groups, numbering six for both rats and humans, 
were taught as a single problem either Part II, III or IV of 
IMaze A. These records denote the normal time required for 
the mastery of each unit when the learner is free from the 
influence of a previous learning act. A comparison of these 
with the records of the groups learning all the four units (the 
'part' learners discussed in Chapter II) reveals that successive 
learning is rendered far easier by previous related activity (See 
Tables X, XI, p. 74). This positive transfer can be roughly esti- 
mated by bringing together our measurements of learning in 

the formula T = — ^^- where t, s, and e rep- 

t.s.e. 

resent the number of trials, time in seconds and errors respect- 
ively for the case of original learning and t', s', and e' for the 
parallelled transfer conditions. The formula thus stated re- 
lates the amount of saving to the original learning conditions. 
Employing it, there is found positive transfer of 43, 47 and 
g% respectively for Sects. II, III, and IV in the rat situation, 
and 2.3, 46 and 70% for the human. ^ Instead of finding an 
element of waste in 'part' learning, there has been revealed one 
of its fundamental advantages. Therefore, transfer as an ele- 
ment of waste in 'part' learning of this maze type must be 

1 The percentage of transfer increases with the human throughout the 
learning of the four mazes. The rat percentage for the fourth problem 
is relatively a marked decline. This is due to a single rat of the 'part'- 
learning group requiring 47 runs to eliminate a single error. This raised 
the group average so high as to allow only a factor of i^ run to function 
for the number of trial gain in the formulaic estimation. It is an interesting 
problem to determine whether transfer should be increasingly favorable 
in successive mazes numbering more than four and to what limits. The 
writer believes it obtains certainly for four simple mazes and probably 
beyond the number. Many factors naturally enter in. 



WHOLE J'S. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 23 

rejected, for transfer is strongly positive and advantageous. 

(b) Loss due to disintegration through time. 

Considering that the learning effort was distributed from 
day to day and that the mastery of the individual units in- 
volved relatively long periods of time, it appears logical to 
assign a good part of the great loss in 'part' learning to a mere 
forgetting of the earlier learned pathways. By averaging the 
number of days elapsing between the learning of Sections I, 
II, and III, and the return to these in the final act of connec- 
tion, there is found a very appreciable time interval. This is 
fifteen, eleven, and four days for section I, II, and III re- 
spectively with the rats and thirteen, eight, and five respectively 
for the humans. 

Different groups of untrained rats were taught a single unit 
and then allowed to rest for the recjuired time interval. During 
this interval, the rats vrere placed daily upon the maze top 
and allowed to run for one minute before food was placed in 
the food-box. This furnished approximately the same amount 
of daily activity upon the maze and gave the rat the exercise 
demanded to preserve good bodily conditions. Cramped cage 
conditions necessitate this. At the end of the interval, the rats 
were retrained upon their respective sections. This was con- 
tinued until the mastery criterion of four successful runs was 
satisfied. Hence, the disintegration through time is measured 
by the relearning expenditure. Human groups were excused 
from reporting to the laboratory for the appropriate interval. 
Their loss due to time is likewise measured by the relearning 
method. Tables XV, X\T, pp. 75-6, present these data. The dis- 
integration is notably small. In fact, nearly all the group mem- 
bers were perfect in retention and the relearning effort was 
mainly expended by a single rat and some human subjects that 
had originally learned their problem very hurriedly.^ It is 
certain, therefore, that disintegration through time must be 
disregarded as a waste element in motor 'part' learning.^ 

2 This was especially true with Rat Number 4 of the Section II group. 
His original learning required but one trial, with two errors, and 487 sec- 
onds. His relearning required seven trials, eleven errors, and forty seconds. 
This suggests not only the question of relationship between speed of 



24 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

(c) Loss due to retro-active inhibition. 

It has been shown above that learning one motor unit is 
favorable for mastering subsequent ones and that a unit will 
not disintegrate during a limited time interval, provided only 
one such unit has been learned. But are the conditions re- 
versed when the rat is taught several such units? Specifically, 
do the learning efforts expended in mastering Sections II, III, 
& IV, impair the ability of running I, II, III, and even the last 
mastered, IV? The influence of the interval of time under such 
conditions may logically be disregarded (see section above) 
but it is mandatory that the control over each sectional path- 
way be carefully tested. If this control has been broken up by 
subsecjuent learning activity, it is obvious that herein rests 
the explanation for much of the inability to connect the units 
in the final motor series. 

An entirely new control group of rats was trained upon the 

learning and accuracy in retention but also whether the maze has ever 
been learned until the rat has taken time to work it out thoroughly, — 
either in the original learning or relearning process. There is fundamental 
difference between knowing how to steer by the unexplored areas (cul de 
sacs never entered) and knowing the character, depth, and position of 
these. The writer has never had a rat that did not work out the maze 
completely, either in the original or relearning situation. Considerable 
data relative to the learning time and retention accuracy will be published 
at a later period. 

3 This paper has waived detailed discussion of the question of retention, 
though the writer heartily agrees that one measure of the efficiency of a 
learning method is the strength of retention (as Meumann had shown 
in the case of rote ilearning). Group records have been accumulated 
for 'whole' method learners, witli and without the prevention of 
returns, and for eight, seven, and five weeks. No big differences seem 
to appear for the same time intervals. The accuracy is very high, the 
loss being in the time of the first several runs in retesting. This is not 
due to exploration of cul de sacs or retracing but to slow and cautious 
rate of forward progress. Records for 'whole' and 'part' learners, where 
there was progressive retesting for i, 2, 3, and 4 week intervals between the 
retesting (hot the original learning) seem again to reveal strong reten- 
tion, but with a probable time value in favor of the 'whole' learners. 
This is to be expected, since the final four perfect runs of 'part' learners 
in the original learning act are invariably slower than for the 'whole' 
learners. However, the writer regards the retention question in its rela- 
tion to original learning methods as being practically unattacked in this 
motor realm. 



WHOLE FS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 25 

four motor units, following the exact procedure laid dov/n for 
the 'part' group. As soon as the individual rat had mastered 
the final unit, Section IV, he was retrained upon Section I. 
Such retraining was kept up until the mastery criterion of four 
successful runs was satisfied. By this relearning method, there- 
fore, the experimenter was enabled to measure the retro-active 
inhibition exerted upon Section I. Note that entirely differ- 
ent and completely trained control groups would be required 
for measuring- this inhibition on Section II and Section III, 
provided the single group failed to demonstrate its ability to 
run not only Section I, but Sections II and III in turn. Table 
XII, page 75, embodies the data. Inspection reveals practically 
absolute control of the successive units."* Hence, only one group 
was employed for the testing of all the sections. When the 
entire group recjuired for the complete relearning of the four 
sections but an average of .6 trials, 3.9 seconds, and .65 errors 
per section (with all the relearning effort being directed to one 
section and herein expended mainly by a single blind rat), it 
is obvious that retro-active inhibition must be disregarded as an 
element of the great waste m learning the maze by the 'part' 
method. 

(d) Loss due to contiguity of unit functioning. 

It has been shown that learning a section does not interfere 
with the acquisition of a section on subsequent days (Transfer). 
Also, it is clear that the mastery of a new section does not 
interfere with the running of previously learned sections, pro- 
vided that at least a day interval is allowed between tests. 
{Retro-active inhibition). Finally, all the motor units learned 
may function perfectly, provided a day or more elapses be- 
tween the trial acts. {Retro-active inhibition). But it is pos- 

4 Attention is called to the fact that Section III alone presented difficulty. 
This difficulty is almost negligible, since 2.2 errors for a group is of 
course practically to be disregarded. It will furnish cold comfort to some 
of the present day animal psychologists to be told that the errors of 
Section III were made by two rats, the first, completely blind, whose re- 
learning effort required seven trials, nine errors and fifty-three seconds, 
the other, three trials, two errors and fourteen seconds. These two rats 
alone determine the scores for Section III. If the blind rat were ex- 
cluded, the averages for the group would approach zero. 



26 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

sible that two acts might function successfully without any 
interference between them when there is interposed this con- 
siderable time interval, and yet that marked interference might 
occur if these different motor habits were forced to function im- 
mediately in succession, a condition that maintains in the con- 
necting act of 'part' procedure. The difficulty so clearly demon- 
strated in the connecting act in 'part' learning may consist 
primarily in an interference resulting from this contiguity of 
function. The validity of this hypothesis had to be tested, not 
only in the case of motor acts learned in immediate succession, 
but for all possible combinations of the total collection of acts 
at the disposal of the subject. 

A new group of rats (six in number), was taught the four 
maze sections. Retesting was made upon various sections as 
soon as Section IV was mastered. Here, differing from the 
group reported in the retro-active inhibition test, each rat was 
given but one run per section and then changed immediately 
to one not successively learned. This requires two distinct 
adjustments. All typical combinations were tested. These, for 
successive days, were I & III, II & IV, IV & I, III & I, 
IV & II. These tests of five days produce almost perfect re- 
sults. In no case did the group average higher than 2/5 errors 
for the day. Most individuals of the group were able to adjust 
immediately to any such combinations and to accommodate to 
these changing recjuirements day after day. Finally, the daily 
task was increased by compelling double the general amount of 
work and this in the inverted order of learning, namely, suc- 
cessive runs in IV, III, II and I. This increasing demand in 
amount of work and complexity failed absolutely to create a 
breakdown in control. Three of the rats ran the entire four 
sections perfectly, each of the remaining three attained a single 
error for the entire four problems. The scantiness of errors 
renders untenable any opinion that the 'part' learner does not 
have control over the specific units he has mastered. This 
control exists irrespective of the order in which the units are 
required to function or of their functional contiguity. 

(e) Loss due to unit incompatibility in a larger series. 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 27 

It is logically possible that the various units present in- 
hibitory tendencies one to the other in the act of connection 
and that these units have to be destroyed before the final act 
of union can be made. In other words, it needs to be shown 
whether any motor unit can function as a specific part in a 
bigger motor situation. Section (d) above merely showed that 
the units can function in temporal contiguity. It argued noth- 
ing regarding whether a definite part of a total act can function 
independent of that act. Obviously, if a group having mastery 
of the entire motor situation can run all parts of that situation 
as parts and various combinations of these parts, the ques- 
tions of incompatibility of units and their inability to function 
as parts of a whole must be answered negatively. 

The rat and human groups having been taught ]\Iaze A in 
the most advantageous fashion ('whole' method with returns 
prevented) were tested upon the various parts. (These so- 
called parts are the four jtnifs mastered in 'part' learning). By 
the removal and insertion of panels in the rat mazes and metal 
plugs for the humans, new connections were easily made 
possible, yet the character of the parts was unchanged. It was 
considered essential to try the rearranged parts in the forward 
learning order and the more crucial condition of inverted learn- 
ing order. Hence, the subjects were tested in successive order 
upon I to III, II to IV, and IV to I Maze constructions. Between 
the completion of each such test, the subject was retrained 
upon the maze as a whole. This not only tested his ability 
to add to a modified act all the original parts but prepared him 
for an equitable attack upon each novel construction. 

The behavior in the several changes was typical throughout 
for both rats and humans. A slowing up of speed at the new 
junction and an occasional retrace were followed by a headlong 
dash into the new section. No retracing occurred in the new 
section. An inspection of Tables XIII and XIV, p. 75, shows the 
amazing accuracy of both rats and humans in running the 
sections in variable order. This points to the fact that a motor 
unit may function as such, provided it has been mastered as 
part of a zvJioIe. It shows that no incompatibility as between 



28 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

specific parts exists in the motor problem. iVgain, it enforced 
the conckision reached in (d), that the sections have no in- 
herent interference when functioning in immediate contiguity. 
Taken in conjunction with (d), it proved that the difficulty 
of putting the parts together is because the parts were learned 
as unit wholes. 

From the above series of tests, certain definite conclusions 
may be stated, these having reference to the alleged causes of 
waste in 'part' learning. The conclusions apply for animals 
and humans. 

( 1 ) Learning one motor unit does not render the mastery 
of subsequent units more difficult. Transfer is strongly posi- 
tive, thus pointing out a clear advantage of the 'part' method. 

(2) Practically no disintegration of the motor habit occurs 
during the time between initial mastery and the final connecting 
act. 

(3) No retro-active inhibition is exerted upon motor habits 
by the learning of subsequent ones. 

(4) Different motor units may function as units in any 
order. Contiguity of unit functioning fails to disturb the motor 
habits. 

(5) Parts of a motor act present no incompatibility to each 
other when they are learned as parts of a larger motor situa- 
tion. They may function perfectly as parts, in any successive 
combination of parts, or in the entire motor series. Their 
capacity for part functioning is never lost. 

The above generalizations emphasize the necessity of exclud- 
ing as factors of waste in 'part' learning whatever refers to 
the mastery of the several units or the interrelationship between 
these units. By these elimination tests, the writer is led to 
conclude that waste in the maze problem occurs only in the 
act of connection and is here traceable almost entirely to the 
influence .of place association. This hypothesis is discussed and 
tested at length in the following chapter. 



CHAPTER \' 

Place Association and its Relation to Impovement of 

THE 'Part' Method 

The universal inferiority of the 'part' method has been demon- 
strated. Numerous proposed causes of waste in 'part' learn- 
ing have been tested and rejected. Chapter IV brought out 
the fact that the writer relies mainly upon place association 
for an explanation of the poor results obtained by this method. 

Place association refers to the definite location of an ele- 
ment of a problem in reference not only to the remaining de- 
tails of that problem but to the entire environment. In the 
case of rote learning a certain syllable is learned in reference 
to its antecedent and consequent (immediate association) and 
to the remainder of the terms (mediate association). It is 
hereby assigned a definite position in the word series. This 
places it in a conceptual scheme. It is located at a definite 
number of syllable intervals from both the introductory term 
and the terminal one of the list. It is reached after the same 
time expenditure in each trial and is followed by a constant 
time span for the completion of the presentation. Both spatial 
and temporal factors are concerned in establishing the positional 
relationsliips. 

In motor learning of the maze type, the establishment of 
place associations represents a large part of the learning. These 
associations are no doubt very complex. Certain ones may 
be indicated, (a) Time. The learner comes to relate a cer- 
tain time span to a certain change of activity. Specifically, 
a short time run for the rat means a cessation of the running 
activity and the substitution for this of feeding. Also, it is 
logical to suppose that each critical turn or element of the 
maze pathway is located (though not in a conceptual sense) 
in the entire time span just as definitely as a term is located in 
a series of nonsense syllables. (b) Distance. The learner 



30 



LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 



is taught to run a certain distance and secure a desired change 
of activity. In the case of 'part' learning, each section re- 
quires that the same distance be traversed. Consequently, the 
learner attacks his daily problem with the expectation of having 
it solved when certain clearly defined time and distance de- 
mands have been satisfied, (c) Details of the maze pathways. 
Each turn, cul de sac and section of the true pathway become 
positionally established. A given corner may be located in 
reference to many factors, e.g., the opening into the food-box, 
the starting place, the next cul de sac, the electric lights, the 
position of the experimenter, etc. Each aspect of the course 
is no doubt associated with and located in reference to all the 
details of the course and to the entire objective environment 
as well. 

The above suggestions may not be exhaustive. It seems to 
the writer, however, that they state the main types of place 
associations that are set up in learning the maze problem. 
Also, it seems logical to assign the difficulty of the act of 
connection in 'part' learning to the break up of these specific 
positional factors. If they are causative of the waste in 'part' 
learning, the behavior of the learners should reveal it. Again, 
the evidence drawn from the previous experiments must sup- 
port the hypothesis. Finally, the factors of place association 
must be so experimentally treated as to show the exact way 
they are operating to condition waste. Such a treatment of these 
factors would produce better learning results than were secured 
by the pure 'part' method provided the factors are eliminated 
or negated to some degree. This would demand the devising 
of improved methods of 'part' learning. The task of the chapter 
is given to the three necessary lines of procedure stated above. 

(a) Behavior. 

The behavior of both rats and humans in the act of con- 
necting the successive sections was described in Chapter II. 
It may be characterized as passing through ten distinct stages, 
(i) Free and unchecked. When started at the remotely learned 
Section I, the subject "got his bearings" and proceeded rapidly 
and accurately. (2) Break down in control. This occurred 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 31 

at the closed exit to Section I. It is characterized by a cessa- 
tion of forward directed activity. (3) Testing of old habits. 
The subject might retrace or dash into Section II. He had 
learned the meaning of the retracing habit when the pathway 
was blocked (e.g., in a cul de sac) and also the going ahead 
habit. (4) Failure of habitual adjustment. Retracing brings 
failure. Arrival at the exit of Section II (generally the ex- 
ception for the opening trial at connecting) brings like results. 
The run through Section II was irregular, wavering, and gen- 
erally given up, the subject returning to Exit I and then into 
Section I. This stage is characterized by the development of 
a strong emotional factor, roughly to be designated as con- 
fusion or lack of confidence. (5) Random activity. Here 
complete inability to handle the situation is manifest. Aimless 
darting into alleys, incessant complete and partial returns, com- 
plete cessation of activity followed by rapid attacks are evident. 
(6) Directed activity. The subject settles down to the prob- 
lem, relying not on specific control of units but upon his gen- 
eral maze knowledge. This stage is one characterized by per- 
sistency. (7) Accidental success. No less than in the first 
act of learning, this trial and error process brings the desired 
result. Judging by the behavior upon the last few sectional 
passageways, the subject had little, if any, knowledge that he 
was approaching the desired goal. Following the first suc- 
cessful trial, the subsequent trials suffice for the (8) fixation 
of the useful movements, (9) elimination of the useless, and 
the (10) final complete organization of the sensori-motor 
connection. 

The above analysis of the behavior in the act of connection 
shows clearly the complete breakdown of control. Short time 
and distance relationships absolutely fail to bring the changed 
activity previously secured. A specific maze corner ceases to 
mean a turn "to be followed by food getting." It is now a 
turn that leads to a new situation, calling for far more time 
expenditure, more distance to be traversed, etc. The several 
closed exits represent the critical points where old habits fail. 
Here the subjects halts, explores the situation, and shows in 



33 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

every possible way that his control over the motor situation 
has broken down. 

(b) Comparison with previous tests. 

It was demonstrated in Chapter III that each unit of the 
maze could function perfectly as an element. This ability 
w^as shown to maintain irrespective of the order of functioning 
of the several units. This fact argues that positional factors 
are never disturbed so long as the motor habits are allowed 
to function as units, but that the connection of these unit habits 
into a series immediately brings disturbance. It was also dem- 
onstrated that elements learned as parts of a whole could be 
put together in any fashion without difficulty. Such opera- 
tions did not call for an extension and enlargement of short 
temporal and spatial relationships. Rather, they represent cases 
where the subject reaches his goal with less time consumption 
and less distance traversed than is customary. This difference 
emphasizes the writer's general contention. It seems certain 
from these facts that the place associations set up when the 
parts are mastered have such great strength that they render 
the act of serial connection extremely difficult. 

(c) Experimentation directed toward the elimination of the 
positional factors. 

It is obviously impossible to devise modified methods of 
'part' learning where some positional factors (short time acts, 
short distance traversed, etc.) are not established. No test 
can be devised to eliminate all these factors at once. It is 
necessary to eliminate these progressively and in the most ad- 
vantageous fashion. The tests to be described have value to 
the extent in which they eliminate or negate to a degree some 
one or some group of the positional factors. The nature of 
each new test and the learning will be treated comparatively. 
A presentation of the learning scores and an appropriate evalua- 
tion of each method are reserved until this preliminary survey 
of the methods and the learning behavior has been made. (See 
pages 39 sq.) 

(i) 'Direct Repetitive'. 

Rat groups and humans were trained upon Section I until 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 33 

mastery was accomplished. At this stage, the individual sub- 
ject was required to run through the mastered Section I into 
Section II. This change in the maze pathway was rendered 
possible by the removal of the dividing panel and the closing 
of Exit I. When mastery of the I-II course was completed, 
III was added to the accumulating series, finally IV. In each 
modification, then, the subject was required to repeat the familiar 
area and to enter the strange. A review of the mastered sec- 
tions was hereby given in each trial. Furthermore, the place 
associations set up during the mastery of Section I were re- 
constructed as soon as mastery was attained. The problem 
was made to expand. 'Part' learning called for an isolated 
attack upon Section II, this and subsec[uent sections serving 
very largely to make more deeply seated the short time and 
short distance factors of each maze unit. The identity in length 
of the four units argues for this. But by this 'direct repetitive' 
method, however, the positional factors are no sooner set up 
than they are made to relate to a larger, more complex situation. 

The behavior of these groups was characteristic. Upon finding 
Exit I blocked, the rat usually proceeded very cautiously into 
Section II, generally making numerous partial returns to Exit I. 
Seldom was retracing continued through Section I. The human 
behaved the same way, but the retracing was probably less marked. 
Both for rats and humans, there was little or no hesitation 
after the second trial upon the arrival at Exit I. The same 
is true for retracing. The entire efforts of the learners seemed 
directed to the mastery of the final, unfamiliar unit. The speed 
of approach to this attack was generated by the running of 
Section I. It shows the operation of a factor roughly to be 
considered the influence of the known. It bespeaks for the 
method a favorable "warming-up" period. (See Tables XVII & 
XVIII). 

(2) 'Reversed Repetitive'. 

Rat and human groups were trained upon Section I\' until 
mastery was attained. As soon as the individual mastered this 
final unit, he was required to attack the third, working through 
this into the previously learned IV. In turn, he added on as the 
first part of the accumulating motor series Sections II and I. 



34 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECIJSTEIN 

In each modification, then, the subject attacked the novel and 
ended each trial by traversing the familiar. The problem may 
be stated as testing the influence of the unknown. This 
method of learning is, therefore, the reverse of the 'direct repe- 
titive' described above. It consists essentially in learning the 
maze backwards, as opposed to the forward aspect of the pre- 
vious method. Each trial calls not only for the partial mastery 
of a new section (the first part of each run) but for the final 
review of the previously mastered units as well. Both these 
'repetitive' methods differ from the 'part' method in the fact 
that the various sections are not mastered separately. The value 
of these repetitive methods seems obvious. Place factors never 
become strongly established. This is doubly clear in this last 
mentioned method ('reversed repetitive'). Herein the subject 
has never learned habits of stopping, except at one particular 
place, i.e., the open door of the food-box. The following para- 
graph on the behavior in this learning method shows why this is 
true. 

The behavior of these groups differs from that of the 'direct 
repetitive' type. Usually, after the learning of general maze 
habits in Section IV, the new problem was attacked eagerly. 
When the entrance from III into IV was reached (a place where 
the subject had never learned to stop) recognition with the rats 
was extremely obvious. Speed was quickened and Section IV 
run with precision. This general behavior was manifest for all 
the successive modifications. There was never any stopping at 
a closed door, for the subject had never made any associations 
of food getting, changing of running activity, etc., with this. 
Rather, the closed door meant the entrance to a familiar maze 
section, one that called for quickened speed and the satisfying 
of the desired activity at the same identical terminal point. 
But the recognition cue in the case of the humans failed to 
function as definitely.^ (See Tables XVII and XVIII.) Conse- 

1 Maze studies of Carr and Watson (31 and 20) seem to argue for the 
strengtih of the kinaesthetic cue as the recognitive agency in the maze 
situation. The evidence of the present research assigns most of the 
recognitive capacity to vision. Failure of recognition with the humans 
may be due to lack of vision. Of course, the question whether the human 
had reduced the control to the kinaesthetic level is involved. 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 35 

qiiently this method fails to score very high with the humans. 

(3) 'Progressive Part'. 

Rat and human groups were trained in Section I, and then 
taught Section II as a new problem. Connection of Sections I 
and II was then required, this being followed by a mastery of 
III and its addition to the I-II course. A final tuition on IV 
and its addition to the I-III series completed the experiment. 
This type of learning resembles the part method in that the 
sections are learned as definite units. But these parts are made 
to function as soon as the first two are learned in a bigger, 
more complex motor situation. The strength of place asso- 
ciations is not continually on the increase, as is the case when 
four equal units are mastered in pure 'part' learning. Rather, 
single groups of these positional factors are progressively elimin- 
ated. Consequently, the method may be termed 'progressive 
part'. Tlie iiiflitcnce of successively learned additions is hereby 
measured. Herein the difference between this 'progressive part' 
and the 'repetitive part' methods is clearly seen. The latter call 
for a review of the mastered areas in conjunction with the 
learning of the new. Two types of activity are present. The 
former method demands either the exploring activity or that 
different type required for the connection of mastered sections. 
These cases are quite dift'erent. The significance of this fact 
will be commented upon later in the chapter. Also, these 
methods relate dift'erently to the positional factors. The 'direct 
repetitive' method demands a disregard of the place associa- 
tions set up in reference to the exit of the first short maze 
section and an entry into an unknown area. The 'reversed repe- 
titive' method calls for an initial attack upon a novel situation, 
this being terminated by a recognition of and a hurried traversal 
through the known areas. Little unseating of place associations 
is demanded. The 'progressive part' method demands a dis- 
regard of the place associations as in the 'direct repetitive' case. 
However, such disregard is far easier because the area to be 
entered is entirely familiar and is that which has just been 
mastered. The difference of these three cases is highly 
significant. 



36 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

The behavior of rats and humans was strictly parallel. Sec- 
tions I and II were mastered in regular fashion. The connec- 
tion of the two presented little difficulty, not nearly the degree 
manifested by the original 'Part' Group. It was shown in 
Chapter II that few of these 'part' learners progressed as far 
as Exit II without errors. (Note that such a group has four 
units mastered rather than two). In fact, most of the sub- 
jects, both rats and humans, effected the connection without 
errors of any type. The subsequent learning of III and IV 
and their successive additions follow the description of easy 
learning just stated for I and II. Certain rats and humans 
effected the entire series of combining acts without error. The 
behavior of each subject clearly shows that the elimination of 
the place associations is rendered very easy by this 'progressive 
part' method. (See Tables XVII and XVIII.) 

(4) 'Elaborative Part'. 

This experiment was not planned as an improvement upon 
the part method but represents one of the happy accidents that 
occasionally turn up in a research largely directed into the dark. 
The work was restricted to rats. It is included here for sug- 
gestive and not comparative purposes. Also, it throws some 
light upon the results of the 'modified part' methods just de- 
scribed. The work is here discussed in detail, as it will not be 
referred to in the subsequent discussion of results (pp. 39 sq.). 

The test group of rats was the same as that reported in 
Chapter IV, Section d. This group had been trained as for 
'part' learning except that no act of connection had been 
allowed. Hence, the rats had command of four distinct maze 
habits. They were tested upon succeeding days for their control 
of the units, taking in succession various changing pairs. On 
the sixth day, the rats were required to run the entire collec- 
tion of units but in the order directly opposed to that finally to 
be desired.- The extreme skill in doing this has been com- 

2 This complex reviewing of the units in no sense altered the place- 
association factors set up for each motor unit. Rather, it required the 
rat to adapt quickly to a change in sensory conditions. It forced him to 
utilize successively all the motor habits at his disposal. It prepared him to 
attack any maze situation without delay. In these respects the 'elaborative 



WHOLE J'S. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 37 

merited upon. (See page 26.) Immediately at the dose of 
this IV, III, II, I testing, the rat was placed in Section I and 
given opportunity of connecting all the parts. The data are 
recorded in Table XIX. These are itemized for the specific runs 
given and are complete up to trial four. By the end of this 
trial the entire group had mastered the entire maze. (Trials 
2-4 were given the day following trial i). 

Significant comment must be made regarding the connecting 
behavior. Two of the rats ran perfectly ; three entered one 
blind alley; but continued the journey; one entered one blind 
alley and returned fifteen sections to the doorway, this being 
followed by a perfect run. The time of this initial trial was 
remarkably low (41 seconds). The ability to connect the sec- 
tions certainly seemed amazing in view of the behavior mani- 
fested by the 'part' group reported in Chapter II. The method 
closely duplicates the original 'part' method. The sole differ- 
ences are that the unit sections were run in immediate succes- 
sion as units just before the connecting act, and that there 
was a review of the parts during the several days just preceding 
the connecting trial. This is responsible for the great dif- 
ference in results. 

Certain causative factors are perhaps statable. 

(a) It may be that there is a slight loss in the ability to control 
the specific motor habits, this being traceable to the disintegra- 
tion through time and to retroactive inhilDition. But such a 
loss certainly proves non-effective in causing disturbance when 
the sections are run simply as units. The general adaptive 
powers of the organism may prove too weak, however, when 
the four motor habits are required to function together, and 
in conjunction with disturbances of place associations. Hence, 
the 'elaborative part' procedure has its value not in running 
two or more sections on the same day, but in practicing the 
various sections separately and hereby eliminating loss. This 
is a 'practice', a 'warming up', or a 'refreshing' theory. 

part' method dififers from the pure 'part' method. The two methods do 
not differ in so far as the former has specifically eliminated certain of 
the positional factors before the final act of connection. 



38 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

(b) The diU'erence between the 'part' and 'elaborative part' 
scores may be due to place association. In 'part' learning, the 
rat learns a series of acts, — runs one section; eats food; runs 
the same section; eats food; removal to cage. This is a unitary 
series and is completed each day. In the 'elaborative' method, 
the final procedure is different. Here the series of acts learned 
is illustrated by the following procedure : — runs Section I ; eats 
food ; runs Section II ; eats food ; etc. ; removal to cage. This 
is wholly different from the series established while mastery 
of the separate units w^as being attained. It breaks up this 
earlier series of acts. This break-up is not so great but that 
the rat can adapt to it. Yet it is sufficient to make the transfer 
to the connecting situation (I-IV) far easier. In other words, 
it might be possible to proceed from four unit sections to link- 
ing these without a manifest disturbance, provided such was 
accomplished by gradual steps. 

(c) In linking four units together, positive association must 
be established. Some connection may be established while the 
units are being learned, for all the units are parts of a com- 
mon situation of food, location environment, experience, etc. 
The act of linking requires a closer association and this is ac- 
complished by contiguity, — functioning in immediate succes- 
sion. The connecting act of 'part' learning serves this need. 
The 'elaborative part' method aids the establishment of the 
final close association by bringing the units together in time 
and in succession for the first time, and yet in such a way that 
the distractions which cause errors are not present. The units 
are first brought together two at a time instead of four, and 
this proceeding by easy stages is advantageous. 

(d) On first thought, the difference in scores for the 'part' 
and 'elaborative part' groups may be largely due to group dif- 
ferences. This hypothesis is worthless, as the behavior and 
records of the two groups clearly show. (See pages ii and 

37-) 

(e) Some possibility unnoticed by the writer may be ex- 
planatory for the difference of results. The above points are 
merely suggestive and it may be that they are not exhaustive 
for the situation. 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 39 

Leaving the speculative treatment of the 'elaborative part' 
method, there are certain general conclusions that may be drawn 
from an inspection of Tables XVII and XVIII, page 76, re- 
garding the 'modified part' methods. 

( 1 ) For the rats. 

The three modifications of the 'part' method all prove superior 
to the 'pure part' method and to the 'whole', irrespective of the 
favorable blockage of returns. Superiority is demonstrated by 
all the criteria of measurement (time, trials, and total errors), 
except for the total error criterion in the case of the 'direct 
repetitive' method. Here the total errors exceed the number 
in the 'whole' method with returns prevented. This difference 
is no doubt due directly to an allowable retracing (Type C 
error) in the case of the former method. This exception, how^- 
ever, disappears by making a comparison with the forward 
cul de sac (Type A) error. The 'part' method and the 'whole' 
method with returns allowed prove inefficient as learning 
methods. 

(2) For the humans. 

One of the modified part methods ('progressive part') proves 
sitperior by all criteria of measurement to the 'whole' and 
'part' modes of maze learning. The 'direct repetitive' method 
proves superior by all measuring criteria to the 'whole' method 
with returns unprevented. However, this 'direct repetitive' 
method requires more time and develops more errors than the 
'whole' method with returns prevented. This difference again 
disappears by making a trial comparison with Type A errors. 
Time was lost and errors accumulated by the possibility of 
returns, as the data show the errors of the B and C type are 
higher than in the 'whole prevented' method. The 'reversed 
reoetitive' method falls to fifth olace and its location is like- 
wise definite for all criteria of measurement. The enormous 
number of retrace errors (Type C) is due no doubt to failure 
in recognizing the mastered section upon reaching it. Here 
the behavior and records differ markedly from the rats and 
raise the question of kinaesthesis functioning as a recognitive 
means (see note, p. 34). The pure 'part' method is last in 
the list, irrespective of measuring criteria. 



40 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

(3) Rats and humans. 

The 'progressive part' method jproves universally superior 
for all types of learning methods. The 'reversed repetitive' is 
highly favorable with the rat but less so with the human, this 
difference being statable in terms of recognitive ability. The 
'direct repetitive' method is for both groups more favorable 
than 'part' learning and, in general, than for 'whole' learning 
(See exception in 2 above). It thus shares favorable univer- 
sality with the 'progressive part' method. The 'whole' method 
when returns are prevented is universally superior to the case 
where returns are allowed in so far as regards time and errors 
but not the number of trials; in comparison with modified 'part' 
methods either 'whole' method is inferior. The 'reversed repeti- 
tive' method fails to prove efficient with the human, due no 
doubt to the failure in recognition of the previously mastered 
sections. The pure 'part' method is the most inefficient method 
used, waiving a single exception with the rats, this poor result 
being assignable to the unlimited possibilities of retracing. It 
is interesting to note that the number of trials, number of 
seconds, and number of total errors for mastery by a certain 
method are in absolute terms, universally less for the human 
than for the rat. 

(4) Correlations. 

Table XX shows roughly the (a) correlation between the dif- 
ferent measuring criteria for all types of motor problems de- 
vised. For both rats and humans this correlation is high. It 
argues that rats or humans manifest high regularity in time 
and energy expenditure for various motor methods. It shows 
that there is no royal road to mastery for the human not open 
to the rat. Also, it shows that correlation is very strong be- 
tween number of trials and Type A errors, but that this weak- 
ens in comparing Type A errors with total time or total errors. 

(b) The cross comparison for rats and humans shows that 
there is good correlation in respect to the number of trials re- 
quired by the various learning methods for mastery. There is 
much less correlation when the measurement is in terms of time 
expenditure or the accumulation of errors. The error measure- 



WHOLE JS. PART METHODS IX MOTOR LEARNING 41 

ments show that the highest correlation exists between the Type 
A errors (forward directed cul de sacs). 

The above experiments have been directed toward the verifica- 
tion of the place association hypothesis proposed in the earlier 
sections of the chapter. They have shown that the positional 
factors may be so progressively eliminated in various forms of 
'part' learning- as to render these forms {i.e., modified 'part' 
methods) much more efficient than the original 'part' or 'whole' 
methods. At the risk of repetition, it seems advisable to restate 
certain favorable aspects of these efficient modified 'part' methods. 

(a) Progressive elimination of the emotional factor. 

Remembering the indecision, random activity, full stopping, 
etc., of the 'part' learners when in the act of connection, its 
absence in modified 'part' behavior is significant. With the 'pro- 
gressive part' method, the learning of Part I and II arouses 
a complex emotional state which must perforce be overcome 
while these parts are being mastered. The connection of these 
fails to re-arouse indecision, fear (with the rats, especially), etc., 
for the entire course is a known safe one, presenting but a single 
novel feature, i.e., the connecting unit. This seems to be at- 
tacked without bringing any strong emotional accessories. Part 

III is again a new but relatively less emotion-provoking situa- 
tion. Its addition to the known course follows the subsidence 
of the emotional complex. Again, the task presents but a single 
new feature, comparable to the like feature previously met. The 
course to be traversed is a longer, but still a safe course. Part 

IV is learned without arousing to a significant degree any emo- 
tional tone whatever and the various motor acts have been so 
progressively interrelated as to call forth little if any of this 
emotional disturbance during the final combining stage. In gen- 
eral, the only occasions for the arousal of the complex are dur- 
ing the short task of unit learning (where the state must be 
eliminated before final mastery) and in the single act of con- 
nection (the three successive acts becoming successively easier). 
With the pure 'part' method, the mastery of each part has called 
for the arousal and subsiding of fear, hesitation, etc. The task 
of connection involves, therefore, a re-arousal of the injurious 



42 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

emotional tone at the three critical connecting points. And the 
strength of this is cumulative. The connection of the first two 
maze elements arouses it very little, but the subsequent addition 
of the remaining section brings very marked disturbance. Neither 
rat nor human succeeds in avoiding this. The 'direct repetitive' 
and 'reversed repetitive' methods demand a rhythmic arousal 
and subsidence of the emotional factor, this having a degree of 
strength far greater than with the 'progressive' method. It is 
simultaneously involved in mastering the added unfamiliar sec- 
tion (w^hether approached from the familiar or leading to it) 
and in affecting the junction of the two. The emotional com- 
plexity logically results in poorer learning scores, an hypothesis 
admirably supported by the data. However, this becomes rela- 
tively less operative for the final additions. In all cases, this 
complexity is much less than is produced by the act of con- 
nection in the 'part' method. It is clear, therefore, that the 
emotional element, though always present, can be distributed to 
one or several definite maze points and progressively eliminated. 
This is impossible with 'part' learning and likewise with 'whole' 
learning, where numerous tricky, blocking situations are met with 
for many successive trials. 

(b) Progressive elimination of the positional factors. 

(i) Temporal. Partially causative of the emotional disturb- 
ance are, of course, the time relationships. In 'part' learning, 
each run has been shown to correlate with a brief time span, 
this ending with changed sensory conditions of desirability. In 
learning two short units, the brevity of the temporal series is 
not so firmly a part of the subjects reacting system as when four 
had been mastered. Hence, the tendency to stop after running 
a single unit is more easily modified. Also, the overcoming of 
this stopping tendency is always followed by success and with 
utilizing but one, short-time activity. As the accumulation and 
connection of parts proceed, the successive demands never call for 
but one such short-time addition. The temporal series progres- 
sively increases but always by a definite, short-time, success- 
bringing act. With the pure 'part' method, the subject knows 
little beyond a relatively high number of deeply intrenched short- 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 43 

time acts. The break-up of one of these temporal relationships 
is relatively easy (though harder than if only two had been es- 
tablished), but this is unattended with success. Neither are the 
immediately subsequent ones success giving, for only the last 
and most recently mastered time unit can so function. The 
demands upon the time relationships are invariably too great. 
With the other forms of modified 'part' methods, no short-time 
factor ever becomes strongly seated. As soon as one is set up, 
it is immediately modified by an addition of like extent. The 
erection of the temporal side of the final maze situation is pro- 
gressive throughout. This progression is by stated, constant, 
temporal units and differs herein from the 'whole' methods. In 
the latter, theoretically, the final time series is under construc- 
tion from the beginning of the tuition period. By preventing re- 
turns (by cutting the course into four sections), not one but four 
rival time units of the final total are being constructed, and not 
only as units but as parts of an indefinite whole. With returns 
allowed, probably many more such units are set up ; having to do 
with all areas of difficulty of the course. In neither such case, 
therefore, is the erection of the time series progressively or 
chronologically made. Temporal habits of stopping are not 
deeply engendered, but the final series is slow in being attained. 
It is evident, therefore, that the values of the modified 'part' 
methods rest in large measure upon (a) progressive elimination 
of the positional factor of time and the fact that the (b) final 
time series is successively extended by short regular additions as 
opposed to an internal adjustment of a constant and highly com- 
plex whole. 

(2) Spatial. 

Spatial factors function in like manner. The position of each 
section and turn (no doubt especially so for final turns) is 
mediately associated with the spatial terminus of the run. The 
last turn means open doorway, food getting, and a complete 
change in sensory factors. With 'progressive part' learning, 
relatively few of these are set up by mastering Sections I and 
II. Those that are indicative of arrival at Exit I do have to 
be uprooted in the first connecting act. Their poverty of 



44 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

number is in their favor. Once eliminated they function in 
the larger series. Each addition to the expanding series calls 
for a readjustment but this is always directed towards a con- 
stant goal, constant results, and over familiar territory. Many 
of the adjustments are primarily with an unconnected but 
familiar unit, not internal to the great mass already satisfactorily 
arranged and now functioning as a unit group. This spatial 
demand is, therefore, progressively met. With connection of 
many parts being required, the demands of spatial readjust- 
ment obviously are multiplied to a high degree. Suppose each 
section requires for mastery the establishment of at least two 
positional factors. Using letter denominations, in Section I 
are established factors A and B. But logically and empirically 
these are to have unit functioning, i.e., as AB. Mastery of 
Section II required the establishment of C and D, but these 
are reduced to the single CD unity. The immediate connec- 
tion of the dual AB and CD groups again involves but two 
adjustments. Section III requires two establishments for E 
and F, but their reduction to unit functioning requires only two 
new establishments with the ABCD unity. In short, for the 
complete mastery of these hypothetical situations, there is de- 
manded the establishment of only fourteen such relational fac- 
tors. The small number is traceable to the demonstrated 
capacity of a complex, automatized group to function as a unit 
in needed adjustments to an external situation. No internal 
readjustments of great degree seems rationally or empirically 
needed. 

With the 'direct repetitive' method the first section reduces 
the two adjustments, A and B, to a unit. When this unit 
adjusfs to the new, now-to-be-mastered, C-D situation, 'the 
permutations are between three terms, namely AB, C and D. 
Consequently six adjustments are required to establish the 
ABCD unit. With the addition of E-F and again of G-H, the 
adjusting demands remain six for each such addition. This 
method requires, therefore, a total of seventy such spatial 
positional attainments. The same number holds for the 're- 
versed repetitive' method. In both cases, the demands of read- 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 45 

justmeiit of the spatial factors are successively met. The 
demand is initially never high and it becomes increasingly easy. 
Yet these 'repetitive' methods always require a greater number 
of adjustments than the 'progressive part' methods and the 
character of these adjustments is more complex. This increase 
in complexity of character depends mainly upon the demand 
for a triple accommodation {e.g., AB with C and D) as opposed 
to a dual demand {e.g., AB with CD). 

The spatial complexity in the remaining methods is obvious. 
In 'part' learning, the four units require a minimum of eight 
positional establishments. When each pair is reduced to a 
unit and thrown into the connection series, the four units func- 
tioning w^ithout errors rec^uire twelve combinations, bringing 
a total to equal either 'repetitive' method and to exceed the 
'progressive part' by 43%. But even this numerical equality 
is deceiving. The permutations are not in reference to single 
successive functional units but to remotely successive as well, 
and both forward and backward in direction. Rationally, then, 
the task is hard. Empirically, the ability of units to function 
as a whole is destroyed. A veritable dissociation of component 
maze elements takes place. The subject, having had the mastered 
groups broken up, begins the new and highly complex task of 
erecting a bigger, positional series out of the wreckage left 
him. The maze records show that he does this little or no 
better than if he had had no earlier sectional training. (In 
the case of the rat, the group seems almost the worse for the 
training. Tables I and VI reveal that the connecting act re- 
quired almost the time of, and accumulated more errors than, 
'whole-prevented' learning. Tables III and IV show that con- 
ditions were even more disturbed for the human, even in the 
'whole-allowed' case). In 'whole' learning, with all eight A-H 
establishments simultaneously in demand, fifty-six combinations 
are needed. In the 'whole-prevented' method, the same number 
is required, but the arbitrary cutting of the maze into four 
sections may tend to reduce sectional pairs to relatively early 
and complete unity. This has its reward in the saving of errors 
and time. This possible economy is spent with 'whole-allow^ed' 



46 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

learning in setting up the numerous far-distant and backward 
directed associations. 

It appears, therefore, that vakies of modified 'part' methods in 
comparison with pure 'part' and 'whole' methods are statable 
mainly in the progressive and distributive handling they furnish to 
the positional factors, whether these are considered as emo- 
tional or in more objective forms of time and space. Such 
conclusions have apparent justification in logical, mathematical, 
and empirical sources. They argue that the relative advantages 
of the various 'part' methods must be due mainly to the degree 
in which place associations are obviated. 

The results of the employment of modified 'part' methods 
for the elimination of place associations may be summarized 
as follows : 

( 1 ) The behavior in the act of connection, the conclusions 
drawn from previous tests, and the data secured by utilizing 
modified 'part' methods show that place associations render 
the act of connection in 'part' learning extremely difficult. 

(2) These injurious place associations are statable in both 
the temporal and spatial series. 

(3) Modified 'part' methods are originated which eliminate 
or negate to a degree some of the harmful place associations. 

(4) These modified 'part' methods prove far more efficient 
than either the pure 'part' or 'whole' methods. This is true 
for rats and humans. 

(5) These methods have been named the 'progressive part', 
'elaborative part', 'direct repetitive', and 'reversed repetitive'. 
The relative values of these vary for rats and humans. Dif- 
ferences are statable in terms of the recognitive capacity. 

(6) The value of these methods consists mainly in the pro- 
gressive and distributive handling they furnish to the positional 
factors. 

(7) There is no royal road to mastery for the human not 
open to the rat. Both rats and humans manifest high regularity 
in time and energy expenditure for various motor methods. 

But the question immediately emerges regarding the super- 
iority of these 'modified part' methods over the universally 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 47 

efficient 'whole' method. The partial elimination of the posi- 
tional factors set up in the mastery of the separate maze areas 
not only improved the scores secured in 'part' learning, but 
produced results far superior to those of 'whole' method learn- 
ing. If these positional factors had been entirely eliminated, 
it looks as though the results should merely have equalled 
those secured by the 'whole' method procedure. But the uni- 
versal superiority of certain of the 'modified part' methods 
argues at once that there are certain inherent values to 'part' 
procedure. A further analysis of these part learning methods 
must be made, with a view to ascertaining their inherent ad- 
vantages. Such an analysis is attempted in the following 
chapter. 



CHAPTER VI 

Elements of Advantage in Tart' Learning 

The results of the preceding chapter are highly significant. 
It has been shown that 'modified part' methods can be de- 
vised which prove far superior to the pure 'part' method of 
learning. The improvements produced by these new methods 
have been shown to depend partly upon the progressive and 
distributive handling they furnish to the positional factors of 
the temporal and spatial series. But a result of far greater 
significance has been obtained. These 'modified part' methods 
prove superior to the 'v^diole' method, even when this latter 
method is operating under the favorable condtion of blocked 
returns. From a logical viewpoint, this result seems improbable. 
A method which obviates some of the weaknesses of the 'part' 
method {e.g., place associations) should produce scores that 
approach the results of 'whole' method learning as a limit. If 
place associations were the only differential aspects between 
'part' and 'whole' method learning, the 'modified part' methods 
could never excel the 'whole' method. Indeed, the impossi- 
bility of devising any modifications of the 'part' method that da 
more than partially obviate some of the injurious place associa- 
tions is frankly acknowledged by the writer. It is clear that 
there are factors operating in 'part' procedure, which are pro- 
ducing the remarkable scores. 

The fact that learning scores are inferior under the 'part' 
method must not blind the reader to the significance of its 
advantages. These favorable factors may have been operating 
and yet been apparently submerged by the demonstrated weak- 
nesses of the method. Again, the conclusions long ago reached 
regarding the learning of verbal material must not blind the 
reader. The investigators in this field showed the inferiority 
of pure 'part' learning, as has the present research for the 
motor field. But none of these former experimenters have 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 49 

attempted to modify the connecting act. No one has been 
in a position, therefore, where he was forced to recognize the 
fundamental advantages of any 'part' method. Such a recog- 
nition logically depends upon empirical findings similar to those of 
the writer, namely, that modifications of the 'part' method not 
only equal the 'whole' method in efficiency but prove far su- 
perior to it. The writer is not arguing against the present 
conclusions regarding verbal material. He is merely pointing 
out that there is an angle of the problem not yet faced by 
the investigators, and showing the conditions in motor learn- 
ing that make such an issue seem vital. 

There seem to be certain obvious advana,tges to any 'part' 
procedure in maze learning. These operate to produce learn- 
ing scores superior to 'whole' method results. 

(a) Transfer. 

The present work of the writer has presented definite data 
regarding the maintenance of transfer. (Chapter IV, pp. 22- 
23.) The formula for its estimation takes account of the 
trials, time and total errors and gives a mathematical result 
that is easily interpreted. The results tend to show that transfer 
is progressively increasing through the learning of four suc- 
cessive maze habits. (See previous conclusions, p. 22.) If the 
formulaic estimations are made for the successive stages of 
the 'modified part' methods, the same conditions of positive 
transfer are again seen to operate. The conclusion is that sub- 
sequent maze habits are mastered far easier than the earlier 
ones. 

Two questions immediately emerge. ( i ) What are the trans- 
fer items that render successive maze habits more easily 
set up? (2) Do not these operate when the maze is being learned 
as a whole? Does the learner fail to master the final sections of 
the maze (specifically, the final three quarterly divisions) with 
a progressively decreasing energy expenditure? The writer 
can do little more than speculate regarding the answer. 

(i) Transfer items in learning successive maze habits. 

General. By general transfer is meant that there are certain 
habits or attitudes that can function unimpaired in any new 



so LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

maze situation. These general items refer in no sense to the 
details of the new maze pattern, but solely to the general char- 
acter of the problem. Chief of these is probably the general 
maze habit. Several definite elements are involved, (x) Re- 
tracing. The dominance of the familiar has often been com- 
mented upon. The return pathway is known to be safe. The 
rat seems natively inclined to leturn to the closed entrance. 
Final maze mastery means the complete elimination of this 
retracing. Learning any maze — long or short — actually in- 
hibits the retracing tendency in subsequent maze learning, 
(y) Knowledge of the nature of errors. A single maze mas- 
tered suffices to teach the learner the concrete meaning of the 
blind alley. A cul de sac ceases to be a detail that must be 
cautiously explored. It comes to mean a condition that must 
be left as soon as possible, (z) Sense of direction. Some 
learners have almost a "going ahead" instinct. Others become 
hopelessly confused when leaving a blind alley and learn only 
through repeated trials to make the turn that leads away from 
the closed entrance. In subsequent mazes, the truly sophisti- 
cated learner will enter the cul de sac, but will proceed along 
the forward pathway when he returns to the true course. These 
three elements are fundamental in the development of a general 
maze habit. 

A second item of general transfer is consciousness of poiver. 
A maze learner spends many minutes in apparently aimless 
wandering. Hesitation, ceasing to explore the blinds, pausing 
to wash and rest, etc, are indicative of the rat's indecision and 
lack of confidence. Even the human will argue his inability 
of getting through his first long maze. Nor does this lack of 
confidence become eliminated after the first successful trial. 
For many days the task is an arduous one and is approached 
with hesitation. With subsequent mazes, however, the con- 
sciousness of power is clearly seen. No Svarming-up' period 
is needed. There is no delay at the entrance. Work has come 
to mean invariable accomplishment and reward. The entire 
attack upon the new problem is aggressive. The learner has 
learned to do by previous doing. 



s»*^ 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 51 

Clearly associated with the above is a third general item, 
namely, — proper emotional attiUide. It has been shown that 
a harmful emotional complex arises when the learner is first 
introduced to the maze situation and again when he is required 
to connect small maze units. It has been shown that final 
success cannot be attained until this attitude — a mixture of fear, 
indecision, curiosity, and perhaps anger — has been eliminated. 
In its place comes an attitude strongly conducive to success. 
Confidence, elation and hope may be descriptive of this. Irre- 
spective of anthropomorphic criticisms, the writer is content 
to believe that the maze learner — animal as well as human — 
does attack the second maze problem with an entirely different 
and far more beneficial attitude from that which maintained 
throughout almost the entire first learning period. 

Specific. By specific transfer is meant a certain definite 
maze habit that can function partially or unimpaired in a new 
maze situation. The waiter is referring directly to the details 
of the maze patterns. Certain ones may be commented upon. 
If the first maze has taught the learner that a long run is to 
be followed by a turn to the right rather than to the left; 
by a turn of 180 degrees rather than 90; by a sharp, cautious 
turn of 180 degrees rather than a wide, safe turn of the same 
type, in so far as the second maze possesses like elements, 
specific transfer will tend to operate. A concrete example of 
this is found in Maze A used throughout the experiment. Cul 
de sacs numbered 3, 6, 9, 12 were constant in location for the 
four distinct maze units; were all approached by making a 
turn to the left; were each met with after the same time and 
distance factors had functioned; were the third and final cul 
de sacs for each motor unit. (See Figure I.) When the maze 
was learned as a whole, each of these errors was frequently 
made. Nos. 6, 9. and 12 (the final error) were especially nu- 
merous. In learning the four maze sections separately and 
successively (as did the 'part' learners), nos. 6 and 9 were 
rarely entered and no. 12 practically not at all. The maze 
had been designed with a view of establishing a partial identity 
of detail for the four sections, so that this element of specific 



% 



52 



LOL'IS .lUCUSTUS PECHSTEIN 



transfer might be partially tested. The present evidence, though 
limited, seems to argue for the transfer of this specific motor 
item. 

General elements of transfer probably do not operate at their 
full value until the third or fourth maze is being mastered. 
It seems to the writer that they should progressively increase 
in strength to a maximum and thereafter remain constant. 
Specific elements of transfer probably operate differently. With 
an increase in number, these specific elements probably tend to 
generate an inhibition when later motor units are being mas- 
tered. No rule can be stated, but it seems to the writer that 
specific transfer should increase to a maximum (probably dur- 
ing the learning of three or four simple maze habits) and there- 
after should operate with a progressively decreasing valency, 
even to a negative or harmful level. Controlled laboratory 
testing may refute these mere theories, and also the rough 
analysis given above of the transfer qualities. Certainly noth- 
ing beyond mere speculation is here proposed. The hope of 
the writer is that some experimenter will set to work to isolate 
the transfer cjualities, both general and specific. 

The above sections have been concerned with the principles 
of transfer that operate in rendering the second or subsequent 
maze habits more easily set up. Now, in that both 'part' and 
'modified part' methods of learning call for the mastery of new 
problems after one or more related ones have been learned, 
it follows that the transfer factors can operate to their fullest 
strength when learning is by some part method. Transfer is 
fully utilized when the maze problem is broken up into unit 
sections. This is a great element of strength in any part pro- 
cedure. But does this argue that these same transfer effects 
fail to operate when the maze is learned in toto? If not, a 
transfer hypothesis will fail to explain why 'modified part' 
methods produce better results than the original 'whole' pro- 
cedure. 

(2) Transfer in 'whole' method learning. 

General. Adopting the analysis given above as truly descrip- 
tive of transfer qualities operating in 'part' learning, it is nee- 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS /.V MOTOR LEARXING 53 

essary to see if these operate when a large maze is being mas- 
tered as a whole. First for consideration is the general maze 
habit, (a) Retracing. This is one marked characteristic of 
'whole' method learning. By many partial returns and many 
frequent ones for the entire length of the return pathway, the 
subject finally learns that the retracing must be discontinued. 
Yet this retracing may continue until the last four successful 
runs. Chapter III brought out the fact that this retracing is 
probably useless and even harmful. The 'part' learners are 
forced to inhibit retracing when their problem is simple and 
when the retracing cannot take much time and accumulate many 
errors. They master this aspect of the general maze concept 
under simple conditions, the 'whole' learners under complex 
ones. Also, a knowledge of the uselessness of retracing gained 
through the earlier section of the entire maze fails to prevent 
retracing in the final maze areas. With Maze A, the greatest 
amount of retracing (after the earlier trials) was from the 
terminal point of the third division (the end of Section III) 
and error no. lo in Section IV. With Maze B, the greatest 
tendency was to enter the final cul de sac and to retrace there- 
from. It appears conclusive that 'whole' method learning fails 
to make full use of the general non-retracing concept in the 
final areas of the maze. 'Part' method learning is exactly op- 
posed to this condition, for the final motor units are learned 
almost without retrace errors. (Tables I and III.) (b) knowl- 
edge of the nature of errors. The earlier sections of the total 
maze suffice to develop this concept. Were it not for the emo- 
tional complications, the latter sections of the maze could be 
run with increasing skill, just as if the areas were being mas- 
tered as successive parts, (c) Sense of direction. Here, again, 
there is no logical reason why the subject should not have 
learned in the first part of the maze which of the two possible 
turns from the cul de sac meant a return direction. Fear, 
hesitation, etc., are leading- the runner to take the return path- 
way, however, so that the transfer values are not allowed 
to operate. 

In the second place, the consciousness of poivcr is almost 



54 . LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

ineffectual. For many succeeding runs both the rat and the 
human proceed cautiously. Aggressive attacks come only with 
experience. And until the maze is almost mastered, a high 
initial speed will die down long before the final areas of the 
course have been reached. In 'part' learning, these final areas 
are mastered with great speed, but here the 'whole' method 
learners are the most tardy. Many acts of short duration, fol- 
lowed by desirable changes in activity, develop this needed con- 
sciousness of power. An act of long duration, carried out 
through many difficulties, develops this feeling after the time 
for its greatest utility as a learning tool has passed. 

Regarding a proper emotional tone, it has been shown earlier 
that 'whole' method learning involves fear, hesitation, etc., 
throughout almost the entire learning period. This is naturally 
accumulative, as has been made clear in earlier chapters. Even 
when fear is almost eliminated, any disturbing factor, e.g., a 
slight noise, will cause this injurious condition to operate again. 
The entire run may be affected. This disturbance often fails 
to subside for many days. The 'part' learner rarely if ever 
manifests such instability after one short maze has been mas- 
tered. So it seems as though no favorable emotional tone 
can operate as a transfer element in a long maze, because of 
the very complexity of the course and the many pitfalls and 
surprises involved. 

Specific. The writer has little to say regarding specific transfer 
in the entire act. However it may have tended to operate, 
it seems unable to do so to any great degree, this fact being 
traceable mainly to the operation of injurious emotional con- 
ditions. For example, the duplicated cul de sacs — nos. 3, 6, 9, 
12 in Maze A show far greater frequency in 'whole' method 
learning than in 'part'. 

In summary, the writer is convinced that neither general nor 
specific elements of transfer can be utilized to any high degree 
in learning a complex motor problem when learning is by the 
'whole' method. The demonstrated ability of these transfer 
items to operate at their full value in 'part' learning seems to 
the writer to be unmistakable evidence of the advantage of 



WHOLE J'S. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 55 

'part' procedures. This, taken in conjunction with the progres- 
sive elimination of the positional factors established in 'modified 
part' learning, goes a long way towards explaining the favor- 
able results obtained by the 'modified part' methods. 

(b) Learning effort and length of material. 

An additional aspect of learning a motor problem by short 
stages needs to be considered. The relation between the learn- 
ing effort and the length of material needs to be known. Is 
there a law of diminishing returns operating that makes a long 
maze more than twice as hard to master as one only half the 
length? Data are at hand to answer the problem. 

It has been shown that the units of Maze A are, in number 
of cul de sacs, length of true pathway, etc., exactly equal. 
Consecjuently, each of these is an equal fourth of the entire 
maze. No better motor situation could be desired for the com- 
parison of learning effort and length of material. Even series 
of nonsense syllables furnish scarcely more equitable bases for 
comparison. The lists used are made ecjual in length and sup- 
posedly in difficulty. Roughly, the short maze sections seem to 
satisfy the same conditions. Even though these sections may 
differ in difficulty (as measured by the learning criteria), a 
comparison of each of them with the total maze will give 
results highly valuable. It is logically necessary to make this 
comparison for the entire four, since they are integral parts 
of the total problem under consideration. The three learning 
criteria may be brought together in the following form- 

t S € 

ula,- ~7^~^ — , where t', s' and e' represent the records ni 

trials, time and errors respectively of the control groups on 
Section I, II, III, or IV and t. s and e the corresponding records 
for the entire maze. Such a formula may weight to an unfair 
degree certain of the learning criteria. But it is far from being 
decided which criterion is the best, so the writer is inclined 
to utilize them all in one formula. If these criteria varied 
directly, such a formula would not be needed. 

The records used are listed in Tables I, VI and X for the 
rats and Tables III, VI and XI for the humans. The records 
for the learning of the problem as a whole are those w'here 



56 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

no more retracing was allowed than normally occurs in the 
learning of the separate parts ('whole' method with returns 
prevented).-^ For Section I the records of the 'part' learners 
are used. Control groups furnish the records for the remain- 
ing sections. 

The results of the formulaic estimations are decidedly 
significant. For the rats it is found that 15, i, 3 and 2 percent 
of the learning energy expended upon the entire maze is re- 
quired to master units I, II, III and IV respectively. With 
the humans, the results are 4, 6, i and 11 percent. As a final 
average, the rats score 5.25 percent, the humans 5.5 percent. 
It is clear that this value would be 25 percent, provided that 
learning effort varied directly with the length of material. The 
figures argue that mazes of porportionate difficulty and of one- 
fourth the length of a larger maze, require scarcely more than 
one-twentieth the learning effort needed to master the larger 
problem.^ This generalization holds for both rats and humans. 

^ Chapter III brought out the logical necessity of making comparisons 
with these data rather than with the results where freedom of retracing 
into the return sections was allowed. Of course the time and error records 
are far higher under the non-restricted conditions. 

- Ebbinghaus has shown that there is no direct relationship between 
the length of nonsense series and the learning effort required. He pre- 
sents two tables of data (Memory, pp. 47-49, Columbia University Teachers 
College Educational Reprints No. 3), these being secured during two 
testing periods separated by an interval of three years. They have 
special value in showing not only that diminishing returns for the learning 
effort operate but also that this loss (due to excessive length of the ma- 
terial) is not fully eliminated when practice effect is developed to its 
maximum. This is shown by bringing together the original data into one 
table and starring the results from the first testing series. 

Number of Number of repetitions 

syllables necessary for first 

in a series errorless reproduction 

(exclusive of it) 
7 I 

ID 13* 

12 16.6 

13 23* 
16 30 
16 32* 
19 38* 
24 44* 

36 55 

The periodic regularity in which these results distribute is marked. The 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 57 

The significance of these results for the 'whole'-'part' problem 
is clear. It pays — other things being equal— to learn a complex 
motor problem by easy stages. Otherwise, diminishing returns 
for the energy expenditure are secured. The causes of this 
need not be sought here, although they are probably inherent 
in the conditions of transfer discussed in the present chapter. 
Irrespective of causes, the facts of energy expenditure function 
well in explaining the results of 'modified part' procedure. The 
advantage of learning by easy stages, taken in conjunction with 
transfer conditions and the progressive elimination of the posi- 
tional factors set up in 'part' learning, go a long way not only 
toward explaining the superiority of the 'modified part' methods 
over the 'whole' method, but also toward pointing out the in- 
herent advantages of any 'part' procedure. There are probably 
other explanatory factors that have not been suggested. The 
above are not meant to be exhaustive. They do represent to 
the writer, however, the only explanations he can now set for- 
ward to meet a novel and exceedingly interesting experimental 
finding. 

The following summary lists the important developments of 
the chapter : 

(i) Transfer factors operate at their full value in 'part' 
procedure. 

(2) This transfer is general and specific. The important 
general items are a general maze habit, consciousness of power, 
and favorable emotional tone. The specific items refer to the 
details of the maze pattern. 

(3) Transfer fails to render the final areas of a complex 
motor problem more easily mastered. 'Part' procedure re- 
verses these conditions. 

(4) Learning effort does not vary directly with the length 



chief significance of these results for the present research rests, however, 
upon the fact that they, taken in conjunction with the resuUs of the present 
research, make it possible to state that the law of diminishing returns 
operates (a) in the mental field, (b) for the learning of motor and verbal 
material, (c) for humans and animals, and (d) irrespective of earlier 
practice, though this is contradicted by Meumann. 



S8 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

of material. Diminishing returns are secured as the material 
is lengthened. 

(5) The inherent advantages of 'part' learning are mainly 
the complete utilization of the transfer items and the avoidance 
of diminishing returns due to the excessive length of the motor 
problem. 

(6) The inherent advantages of 'part' learning, together with 
the elimination of place associations, explain the universal su- 
periority of 'modified part' methods in motor learning. 



CHAPTER VII 

Massed vs. Distributed Effort in 'Whole' and 'Part' 

Learning 

The relation of the distribution of learning effort to the 
'whole'-'part' discussion is obvious. Nothing totally new is being 
injected into the research. Heretofore the writer has considered 
the 'whole' and 'part' methods when two trials were allowed 
per day. Limiting the number of trials per day is necessary 
when rats are being employed for the experimentation. Con- 
sequently, the same time relationships had to be maintained 
for the humans, otherwise no comparative statements could be 
made. Under these defined learning conditions, it has been 
shown that the 'whole' method of learning is superior to the 
'part' method but that the bad aspects of the 'part' method 
can be so eliminated as to produce 'modified part' methods far 
superior to the original 'whole' method. These generalizations 
have been shown to hold for both rats and humans. But it is 
obvious that no comparison can be made with any previous 
work on humans, where verbal material was used. Massed 
effort has always been used in the 'whole'-'part' testing, whether 
the learning was nonsense material, prose or poetry. Hence, the 
writer desires to find whether the relative value of the 'whole' 
vs. the 'part' methods depended to any degree upon massing 
or distributing the learning effort. With maze results estab- 
lished for massed learning conditions, comparisons might then 
be made with the verbal results. 

The experimental literature contains numerous references to 
the value of distributed effort in motor learning. Browning, 
Brown and Washburn (2) early showed that such distribution 
was favorable. Murphy (12) has just published his results for 
javelin throwing. His conclusions are based upon the records 
of groups practicing one, three or five times per week. He is 
inclined to generalize for rote and logical learning as well as 



6o LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECIISTEIN 

for motor. "Better work, for the amount of time expended, 
can be done in our schools (both for hand manipulations and 
also so-called mental work), through a distribution of three 
times per week than through a distribution of five times per 
week." Ulrich showed that rats learned the maze with fewer 
trials when effort was distributed to trials every third day. 
No human maze experimentation has been published. No com- 
parative experimentation has been done with rats and humans 
to test out the respective value of massed vs. distributed effort.^ 
So far as regards the 'whole' and 'part' methods in relation 
to the distribution question, the literature shows that the matter 
has never been treated. The present chapter is concerned with 
this problem. 

Six new groups of humans were secured. Each group in- 
cluded six subjects. Each group was taught Maze A by one 
of the methods described in earlier chapters. These in order 
were as follows : 'Whole', with returns allowed, 'whole', with 
returns prevented, 'total part', 'progressive part', 'direct repeti- 
tive', and 'reversed repet^itive." Preliminary instructions, 
methods of data gathering, etc., were the same as in previous 
experiments. The sole difference was that no time was allowed 
to elapse between trials.- As soon as a run was completed, the 
subject was given subsequent trials, with no time for rest, 
conversation, removal of the hand from the maze area, etc. 
Continuous attack upon the learning problem was absolutely 
secured. 

The behavior of these groups merits some comment. The 

^ Obviously, a problem would need to be relatively simple to permit 
mastery by the rat in successive trials. The initial emotional complex, 
constant distractive tendencies, etc., render massed tuition extremely difficult. 
However, with a simple problem, thorough preliminary training, utilization 
of hunger, sex and other stimuli, the rat may be taught a motor problem 
without the customary time interval. At least the learning could be 
concentrated within a few hours. 

2 Perrin's recent comparative work on adult and child maze learning 
allowed "all the time between trials they desired for rest, physical and 
mental recreation." Such is no doubt needed with the children. It is a 
question, however, whether conclusions may justly be drawn between in- 
dividual children or between children and adults if the time interval is not 
constant as to length. 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS /.Y MOTOR LEARNING 6i 

group learning the maze as a whole and with no prevention of 
returns attacked the problem well. After a few trials, improve- 
ment ceased and the learning act became very trying. A long, 
period of almost random activity, hurried yet purposeless ex- 
ploring ensued. Each student showed signs of nervousness 
when the first dozen trials failed to bring success. To this ex- 
citability the men were even more susceptible than the women. 
As each successive trial continued to bring errors, the run 
became more hurried, jerky and erratic. Generally the student 
reached a stage in his learning where he knitted his brow, 
closed his eyes, checked his speed and settled down to a slow, 
laborious process of eliminating certain specific errors per trial. 
The period of high tension remained and the completion of 
the final successful runs always brought unmistakable relief. 
The 'whole' method with returns prevented produced behavior 
such as the above, yet this was to a lesser degree. Without ex- 
ception, the 'part' methods failed to arouse a strong emotional 
tone or to cause nervous excitement. The attack upon the prob- 
lem was always steady, irrespective of the method employed. 
The act of connection in 'part' learning was singularly free 
from confusion, this being a very marked departure from the 
behavior so characteristic of both humans and rats when learn- 
ing was broken by the twenty-four hour interim. The data 
of these experiments in massed effort are compared with those 
of the humans when effort is distributed in Table XXI. In 
Table XXII is found the percentage of advantage or disad- 
vantage obtained by massing effort. The table is complete for 
trials, time, and errors of the various types. See pages yy, 78. 

In agreement with the previous conclusions, massing the 
learning effort is highly unfavorable for certain methods. It 
increases the number of trials, the learning time, and all types 
of errors when the 'whole' method of learning is used. This 
is true irrespective of the prevention of returns and applies 
to all measuring criteria. Without exception there is a marked 
percentage of gain when distribution occurs. This is true also 
for two 'part' methods^he 'direct repetitive' and the most 
efficient for all human and animal learning under distributive 



% 



62 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

conditions, namely the 'progressive part'. The advantage is, 
however, less marked than for 'whole' method learning. In 
some items of comparison, the absolute differences are almost 
negligible. Significant changes occur so far as the total 'part' 
method and the 'reversed repetitive' are concerned. By all 
measuring criteria, the 'part' method gains over distributive 
results and the same is true for the 'reversed repetitive' (with 
slight and unimportant exceptions for this latter.) 

But the significant results are not so much in reference to 
the comparison of the same method under these changed tem- 
poral conditions as to the important fact that each 'part' method 
shows superior (by all criteria of measurement) to either type 
of 'whole' method, thus altering very markedly the 'whole'- 
'part' results set forward in earlier chapters. Furthermore, 
the total 'part' method (so unsuccessful under distributive con- 
ditions) under massed conditions becomes not only better but 
almost the best of all available methods. It is even slightly 
more efficient than the universally superior 'progressive part' in 
point of trials but slightly weaker in time and considerably so in 
total errors. Consequently it is considered second in advantages. 
But its rise in the efficiency scale under these massed conditions is 
unmistakable. Its great gain consisted not so much in the learn- 
ing of the four units but in the connecting act. For Section 
I the total error record was greater than in the distributed case, 
the remaining three being almost identical. (24, 12; 10, 9; 5, 4; 
7, 5 for I, II, III, IV respectively). The change of results for 
the 'part' method are so marked that a full comparison of the 
data is made in Table XXIII. The difference in scores is es- 
pecially obvious in the I-IV act of connection. See page 78. 

It is evident that explanation is needed for these massed 
effort results. It needs to be shown why each type of 'part' 
learning is superior to that of the 'whole'. These results are 
not only opposed to those secured under distributive conditions 
but exactly contradictory to the ones commonly accepted for 
verbal learning. In the latter, learning effort is always massed, 
yet herein have the results always been in favor of the 'whole' 
method procedure. The writer can do little more than speculate. 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 63 

Until the problem of massed effort is understood and its re- 
lationship not only to distributed eft'ort but also to different 
types of problems established, final conclusions directed towards 
the 'whole'-'part' procedure are impossible. Each is a separate 
problem, yet each depends upon and illuminates the other. 

Learning of the maze problem passes through two distinct 
stages, (a) Elimination. The subject, after getting acquainted 
with the general character of the maze, settles down to the 
arduous task of eliminating all types of errors. The enormous 
time expenditure and the great number of errors made during 
the first half of the tuition period point out the difficulty of 
this learning act. Increasing complexity of the maze bring's 
increasing demands upon the subject. These specific demands 
have been commented upon at length in earlier chapters. Now, 
with massed eft'ort the confusion is cumulative from trial to trial. 
In place of the errors being gradually eliminated, instability is 
generated. Through this period there is little chance that the 
needless movements of one trial will fail to appear in the ones 
directly following. Even their disappearance for one trial ar- 
gues little for their permanent loss. It is during this stage of 
discovery and elimination that distributed effort has its place. 
The many useless movements tend to fall away from the suc- 
cess-bringing series, while the latter seems to affect the serial 
bonds during the interim of inactivity. With rats and humans, 
the measured improvement is, from day to day, too commonplace 
to warrant comment. 

(b) Mechanisation. Logically following the preceding but 
chronologically inseparable from its final stages, is the period 
where the subject is hammering in the final, sensori-motor co- 
ordinations. Tendencies to enter cul de sacs, to retrace, etc., 
are still present but these are swamped in the rapid, forward- 
going activity. The function of this period is to render definite 
the elimination of these errors and to increase the speed of the 
run. Exploration has now no place. The activity is well on 
its road to the habitual level. Its momentum is its major guar- 
antee of success. This is the time for massed effort. By suc- 
cessive repetitions of the successful runs, the tendencies to error 



« 



64 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECH STEIN 

become less and less liable to function, as the fixation proceeds 
rapidly and surely. In a strictly psychological sense, the subject 
who hesitates is lost. He can now drive out of the series the 
danger-giving elements and so render their elimination perma- 
nent. In distributing his effort, such permanent elimination is 
certainly less slow in attainment. Efficiency demands massing 
of the learning. 

The principles of elimination and mechanization have imme- 
diate applicability to the 'whole'-'part' learning problem. They 
show at once, no doubt, why any form of the 'part' method is 
superior to the 'whole' under massed conditions. The parts as 
such were always simple. Hence, the need for distribution of 
learning effort was reduced to a minimum. (It seems logical 
that distributive and massed efforts should be equally efficient 
for simple mazes. This needs to be shown experimentally). 
However, even in our simple I-IV sections, there was slight ad- 
vantage with distribution. (See figures, p. 62.) The act of 
connection demanded speedy, non-exploring, rapidly succeeding 
attacks. Massing the effort provided this, hence making all the 
'part' methods highly efficient. With the 'whole' methods there 
was no opportunity for the great number of useless movements 
to disappear automatically during the time interval. Rather, 
they remained to mar the runs, to delay final success, and in- 
crease the nervousness of the subject. Only by the greatest 
effort were they finally eliminated. If the subject had been 
able to break up the task of error learning into simple, easily 
mastered units, to eliminate errors and mechanize each unit, and 
to expend his best energies in rapid attacks at connection, suc- 
cess would have been far more cjuickly attained. 

It appears, therefore, that reliance upon massed or distributed 
effort depends somewhat upon three fundamental factors, (i) 
Difficulty of the problem. The problem with many possibilities 
of error needs distributive handling. This need decreases with 
decreasing difficulty of the problem. (2) Stage of the learning. 
In the discovery and eliminating stages, distribution is essential. 
In the stage of strenuous mechanization, massing of effort is 
advisable. (3) Method of learning. The 'whole' method re- 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 65 

quires distribution for easy mastery, the 'part' methods may 
require distribution for mastery of the units but massing for 
connection. Under massed conditions the 'part' methods are 
always more efficient. 

These principles seem fundamental for the human pencil 
maze situation. They may need expansion or qualification. 
They are put forward as suggestive and with the hope that 
experimentation may be directed toward a problem regarding 
which there is practically no knowledge. It may be that the 
results for learning verbal material under massed and dis- 
tributed conditions must be recanvassed. It is clear that one 
or more of four conditions must maintain, (i) The conclu- 
sions of the writer are not truly descriptive of the specific motor 
problem discussed. (2) These results, though true for the 
maze, are not general for the entire motor field of learning. 
(3) The results in verbal learning (for all types of material) 
need reconsideration. (4) There are no correlations to be 
drawn between learning upon the motor and ideational levels. 
The wTiter cannot agree to the accuracy of (i). He is inclined 
to argue from his results to the general motor field (2). Any 
opinion regarding (3) and (4) is sheer speculation, whose 
validity must rest upon experimental results. 

The results of this investigation of the distribution of learning 
effort in relation to the 'whole' and 'part' methods of learning' 
may be summarized as follows : 

(i) Massing the learning effort is highly unfavorable for 
'whole' method learning. This is in agreement with the ac- 
cepted results in the experimental field. /4(VVtt.V T^i^i' e "r Pqv^T /-s Mffs 

(2) The pure 'part' method proves much more efficient than 
when effort is distributed. 

(3) All types of 'part' methods produce better learning re- 
sults under massed conditions than do the 'whole' methods. 
This superiority is demonstrated by all measuring criteria. 

(4) The superiority of the 'part' methods are probably 
statable in terms of the eliminative and mechanizing aspects of 
the learning period. 

(5) Reliance upon massed or distributive effort depends upon 



G6 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

a number of fundamental factors. Chief of these are the diffi- 
culty of the problem, the stage of the learning, and the method 
of learning. 

(6) Learning a motor problem by 'part' methods produces 
results that contradict the findings secured under like massed 
conditions with rote and logical material. 

(7) The full significance of the distribution of the learning 
effort is far from being known. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Comparison and Summary 

The conclusions of this experiment have been cumulative. 
They have been discussed at length in the body of the paper 
at their point of emergence. It is here merely in order to 
state the hnal conclusions regarding the propositions formulated 
in Chapter I. 

I. Efficiency of various 'whole'-'part' learning methods in the 
motor situation. 

a. The 'whole' method with returns prevented is more 
efficient than with returns allowed. 

b. The 'whole' method is far more advantageous than the 
'part' method. 

c. The 'whole' method is decidedly less favorable than the 
'progressive part' and 'direct repetitive' part methods. 
^A^ith the rats, the 'reversed repetitive' part methods, 
is also more efficient. Failure for this to prove so with 
the human is due to the inability of the kinaesthetic cue 
to function as the recognitive agent. 

d. The weaknesses of the 'part' method are not due to 
negative transfer in the learning of the motor units, 
disintegration through time, retro-active inhibition, con- 
tiguity of unit functioning, nor unit incompatibility in a 
larger series. The weaknesses are due to failure in the 
act of connection, the conditioning factors being traced 
to the positional aspects of the temporal and spatial 
series. 

e. 'Part' procedure possesses certain inherent advantages. 
These are mainly the complete utilization of the transfer 
items and the avoidance of diminishing returns due to 
the excessive length of the motor problem. 

f. The strength of all types of improved ('modified') part 
methods rests upon the progressive elimination and dis- 
tributive handling of the emotional and positional 
factors, together with the inherent advantages of any 
'part' procedure. 

II. Universality of various 'whole'-'part' learning methods 
in the motor situation. 



68 LOVIS AUGUSTUS PECH STEIN 

a. Improvement of 'whole' method learning universally 
follows when returns are prevented. 

b. The pure 'part' method is universally inferior to the 
Svhole' method. 

c. The 'progressive part' and 'direct repetitive' methods are 
universally far more advantageous than the 'whole' 
method. The 'reversed repetitive' method fails to at- 
tain like universality, owing to the recognitive inefficiency 
of kinaesthesis in the human. In general, however, al- 
most any type of 'modified part' method is universally 
to be preferred. 

d. For all methods the correlations between the various 
learning criteria of trials, time and errors are universally 
high. No royal road in motor learning is open to the 
human and denied to the rat. Certain changes in posi- 
tion for certain methods render a cross correlation less 
marked. These shifts are traceable to differences in the 
retracing tendency and the recognitive capacity. They 
do not vitiate the comparative results listed in a-c above. 

e. The pure 'part' and 'modified part' methods become in- 
creasingly superior to the 'whole' method when learn- 
ing effort is massed rather than distributed. 

III. Comparison of motor learning and learning verbatim, 
(i) Comparison of methods. 

a. The 'whole' method with returns allowed is the N-Ver- 
fahren or "natural" method (Steffens). 

b. The 'whole' method with returns prevented is the G-Ver- 
fahren (Steffens), Das Lesen im ganzen (Ephrussi), 
Lernen im ganzen (Pentschew, Meumann, etc.), Methode 
globale (Larguier des Bancels) and the standardized 
'whole' procedure of the English investigators (Lake- 
nan, .Pyle and Snyder, etc). 

c. The pure 'part' method is the second S-Verfahren 

(Steffens), Das Lesen mit gehaiiften Wiederholungen 
(Ephrussi), Lernen in Gruppen (Pentschew), Methode 
fragmentaire (Larguier des Bancels) and the 'part' 
method of the English experimentation (Lakenan, etc). 

d. The 'progressive part' method resembles to a slight degree 
the second part method of Pyle and Snyder. 

e. The 'direct repetitive' method resembles to a slight de- 
gree the first S-Verfahren (Steffens). The 'reversed 
repetitive' method finds no method comparable to it. 

f. The 'elaborative part' method resembles to a slight de- 
gree the first part method of Pyle and Snyder. 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 69 

g. No motor method employed is comparable to the Lernen 

im gebrochenen ganzen (Pentschew). 
(2) Comparison of results in motor learning and learning 

verbatim. 

a. The 'whole' method with returns allowed agrees with 
the "natural" method in learning verbatim as being very 
inefficient. 

b. The 'whole' method with returns prevented agrees with 
the 'whole' method in learning verbatim as being superior 
to the "natural" method and the pure 'part' method, 
(waiving the single exception of Ephrussi's conclusions 
for learning nonsensical material by the 'part' method). 

c. The 'progressive part', the 'elaborative part', and the 
'repetitive part' methods, though proving superior to the 
'whole' method in motor learning, fail to do so in learn- 
ing verbatim. However, these motor methods have not 
been strictly duplicated in learning verbatim (either with 
rote or logical material), so an exact comparison is 
unwarranted. 

e. The several favorable modifications of the 'part' method 
as employed in motor learning, need to be tested in learn- 
ing verbatim. Until such be done, it seems unwarranted 
to argue that all types of 'part' methods are inferior 
to the 'whole' method for the learning of rote and 
logical material. 
IV. Relation of the conculsions to practical schoolroom ac- 
tivities of the motor type. 

a. The complex motor problem is probably always best 
mastered by one of the several 'modified part' methods. 
The one universally to be preferred is the 'progressive 
part'. 

b. Distribution of the learning effort is of value for the 
'whole' method but not for the 'part' procedure. 

c. Distribution of the learning efifort is of value for the 
exploring and eliminative stages of learning, not for the 
rapid mechanizing stage. Here effort should be massed. 

d. When the conditions of learning call for a massing of 
learning effort, the 'whole' method becomes increasingly 
inefficient with increase in problem complexity, the 'part' 
methods increasingly more efficient. 

e. The conclusions drawn apply solely to the motor type 
of learning, though they suggest that the rote and logical 
types need additional experimentation. 



70 LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

APPENDIX 

Figure i. Maze A. Roman numerals refer to the four independent sec- 
tions of the maze. Dotted division lines indicate the entrances and exits 
for the different sections into the food-box. Also, they designate the 
removable panels. The running dotted lines shovi^ the true pathway for 
each section. The arrows between sections point out, the continuous path- 
way when the maze is being learned as a whole or in the connection of 
the separately learned units. The vertical arrows indicate the main en- 
trance and exit. Arabic numerals designate the cul de sacs. Slides for the 
prevention of returns occur after cul de sacs numbered 3, 6, 9, 12. 









in. 












s. 












"^- --. .^- 1 


f'~^\ 


3 


/' ~"\ 


/' . \ . 


\ 


1 


1 












1 

» 


/ ' 




1 




1 


T 


1 






6 








' 














































4 




■t 
















1 




J 


i 




9 




1 


i 
1 

1 


\_J 


\ - ■ 




I 






■■■ J \ 


1 1 


FGOD 
BOX 


-4- 










,4-* 


hJ.^. 


. . ^ 


f \ 


10 


/ 'r- ' 






\ 


1 


1 

1 


t 




r r r 




5 


1 


r 


VI 




/ 










18 


i 






c 

1 


■ 


.^ 






l. .,' 


1 
























11 




c 


1 

1 


\ 


Z 








1 
1 




^ 




\ -' 


I ' 





iST. 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 71 

Graphs I-IV. To show graphically the learning curves of two rat groups 
in learning Maze A with and without the prevention of returns. The 
unrestricted group had 12 rats, the restricted 9. The former is represented 
by the solid line, the latter by the dotted. No. i is the total error curve; 
no. II for the retraces (Type C) ; no. Ill for the forward cul de sacs 
(Type A); no. IV for the retrace cul de sacs (Type B). See Table VI. 
(The learning is divided into ten equal stages as based on the number 
of trials and the errors of each tenth of the learning computed. See the 
method of Vincent, The Function of the Vibrissae in the Behavior of 
the White Rat, Behavior Mon., i, 5, 1912, pp. 15-17.) 




JS. 



LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 





Trials 


Time 


Errors 


















A 


B 


C 


Total 


I 


34 


470" 


37 


2 


13 


52 


II 


2 


2,i 


I 





2 


3 


III 


14 


127 


9 





5 


14 


IV 


9 


III 


8 





3 


II 


I-IV 


15 


ii66 


19 


15 


85 


119 


Total 


30 


1907" 


74 


17 


108 


199 



Table I. A table to show the average number of trials, time and errors 
of nine rats in learning Maze A by the 'part' method. In estimating the total 
number of runs, each sectional run is arbitrarily counted as one-fourth of 
a complete run. 





Trials 


Time 




Errors 






A 


B 


C 


Total 


Whole 
Part 


27 
30 


4174" 
1907" 


54 
74 


24 
17 


139 
loS 


217 
199 



Table II. A table to compare the average number of trials, time and 
errors of two rat groups learning Maze A by the 'whole' and 'part' methods 
respectively. 





Trials 


Time 


Errors 


















A 


B 


C 


Total 


I 


6 


198" 


4 





20 


24 


II 


3 


47 


3 


2 


5 


ID 


III 


2 


49 


I 





4 


5 


IV 


I 


25 


I 


I 


5 


7 


I-IV 


20 


901 


28 


22 


141 


191 


Total 


23 


1220" 


37 


25 


175 


237 



Table III. A table to show the average number of trials, time and errors 
of seven humans in learning Maze A by the 'part' method. 





Trials 


Time 


Errors 




A 


B 


C 


Total 


Whole 
Part 


12 
23 


641" 
1220" 


16 

2,7 


13 

25 


97 
175 


126 

2i7 



Table IV. A table to compare the average number of trials, time and 
errors of two human groups, learning Maze A by the 'whole' and 'part' 
methods respectively. 



WHOLE IS. PART METHODS LV MOTOR LEARXIXG 



/ o 





Trials 


Time 


Errors 


















A 


B 


C 


Total 


Rats 














Whole 


27 


4174" 


54 


24 


139 


217 


Part 


30 


1907 


74 


17 


108 


199 


Humans 














Whole 


12 


641 


16 


13 


97 


126 


Part 


23 


1220 


37 


25 


175 


237 



Table V. A table to compare the averages of rats and humans in 'whole' 
vs. 'part' learning. These data are extracted from Tables I-IV. 





Trials 


Time 




Errors 






















A 


B 


C 


Total 


Rats 














Allowed 


27 


4174" 


54 


24 


139 


217 


Prevented 


30 


1666 


56 


4 


51 


III 


Humans 














Allowed 


12 


641 


16 


13 


97 


126 


Prevented 


17 


541 


23 


6 


51 


81 



Table VI. A table to compare the average number of trials, time and errors 
of rat and human groups, learning a motor problem (Alaze A) as a whole, 
with returns allowed and prevented. 





Trials 


Time 


Errors 






A and B C 


Total 


Allowed 
Prevented 


50 
50 


2886" 
1813" 


188 ! 124 
151 1 53 


312 
204 



Table VH. A table to show the average number of trials, time and errors 
of two rat groups given fifty trials upon Maze B, with and without the pre- 
vention of returns. 





Percentage 
of Group 


Trials 


Time 


Errors 






1 

A ; B 


c 


Total 


Rats 
Allowed 
Prevented 

Humans 
Allowed 
Prevented 


64 

54 

100 
100 


36" 
33 

33 
51 


2676 
1818 

2599 
2669 


155 
116 

loi 1 155 
130 1 130 


119 

55 

407 
388 


274 
171 

663 
648 



Table VHI. A table to show the average learning record of rat and human 
groups upon Maze B with and without the prevention of returns. 



74 



LOriS AUGUSTUS PECIISTEIN 





Trials 


Time 


Errors 


















A 


B 


C 


Total 


Rats 














Whole 


30 


1 666" 


56 


4 


51 


III 


Part 


30 


1907 


74 


17 


108 


199 


Humans 














Whole 


17 


541 


23 


6 


51 


81 


Part 


23 


1220 


37 


25 


175 


237 



Table IX. A table to compare the average number of trials, time and 
errors of rat and human groups, learning Maze A by the 'whole-prevented' 
and 'part' methods. 







Trials 


Time 


Errors 




















A 


B 


C 


Total 




Control 














Sec. II 


Group 
Part 


8 


128" 


6 


I 


6 


13 




Learners 


2 


32 


I 





2 


3 




Control 














Sec. Ill 


Group 
Part 


20 


254 


19 


2 


14 


35 




Learners 


14 


127 


9 





5 


14 




Control 














Sec. IV 


Group 
Part 


9-25 


316 


7 


2 


21 


30 




Learners 


9 


III 


8 





3 


II 



Table X. A table to compare the average learning of rat groups upon a 
single maze (control group) with the averages for the group having pre- 
viously learned one or more mazes (Part Learners). 







Trials 


Time 


Errors 




















A 


B 


C 


Total 




Control 














Sec. II 


Group 
Part 


5 


132" 


2 


2 


7 


II 




Learners 


3 


47 


3 


2 


5 


10 




Control 














Sec. Ill 


Group 

Part 


8 


183 


7 


6 


19 


32 




Learners 


2 


49 


I 





4 


5 




Control 














Sec. IV 


Group 
Part 


ID 


254 


4 


4 


43 


51 




Learners 


I 


25 


I 


I 


5 


7 



Table XI. As for Table X, human learning. 



WHOLE VS. PART METHODS /.V MOTOR LEARNING 



/3 





Trials 


Time 


Errors 
















. 


A 


B 


C 


Total 


I 


.4 


2.5" 


.4 








•4 


II 




















III 


2 


13-4 


I 


.2 


I 


2.2 


IV 




















Average 


.6 


3.9" 


.35 


•05 


.25 


•65 



Table XII. A table to show the average relearning effort of a group of 
rats having been taught subsequent motor habits after mastering earlier ones. 
The data are indicative of retro-active inhibition. 





Trials 


Time 


Errors 


















A 


B 


c 


Total 


I & III 


.2 


6.3" 





.1 


I 


I.I 


I-IV 




















II & IV 


•3 


53 


■33 








•33 


I-IV 




















IV & I 


4 


10 


.2 


•3 


1-5 


2 



Table XIII. A table to show the average records of a rat group in the 
elimination and subsequent reconstruction of specific motor units learned as 
parts of a larger motor situation (Maze A). 





Trials 


Time 


Errors 


















A 


B 


C 


Total 


I & III 


2 


12" 


'•25 





.5 


1^75 


I-IV 




















II & IV 


•5 


3" 


•50 





•25 


•75 


I-IV 


I 


24" 


•5 


•25 


•5 


125 


IV & I 


•5 


ID" 


•25 





1^5 


1^75 



Table XIV. As for Table XIII, human group record. 





Time 
Interval 


Trials 


Time 


Errors 




A 


B 


C 


Total 


I 

II 
III 

Average 


15 Days 
8 Days 
5 Days 
9.33 Days 


• 17 

I 

• 17 

.45 


I" 
7 

.67 
2.89 


• 17 

1^33 

.17 

.56 










•5 


• 17 


.17 

1.83 

• 17 

.72 



Table XV. A table to show the disintegration through time of the control 
upon the various maze sections as mastered in part learning, based on the 
average for six rats. 



;6 



LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 





Time 
Interval 


Trials 


Time 


Errors 




A 


B 


C 


Total 


I 

II 
III 

Average 


13 Days 
8 Days 
5 Days 
8.67 Days 




1.5 
1.3 
•93 



9.3" 

lO.I 

6.5 




.83 
I 
.61 


0000 




I 
.3 




.83 
2 

•94 



Table XVI. As for Table XV, human group records. 





No. of Rats 


Trials 


Time 


Errors 


Method 


A 


B C 


Total 


Progressive 
Part 


9 


II 


662" 


39 


2 


24 


65 


Reversed 
















Repetitive 
Direct 


8 


17 


882" 


22 


5 


49 


76 


Repetitive 
Whole Returns 


II 


21 


1442" 


45 


9 


88 


142 


Prevented 


9 


30 


1666" 


56 


4 


51 


III 


Total Part 
Whole Returns 


9 


30 


1907" 


74 


17 


108 


199 


Allowed 


12 


27 


4174" 


54 


24 


139 


217 



Table XVII. A table to shov^r the average group records for the learning 
of Maze A by standard and original methods. In estimating total trials for 
these methods, each section traversed is counted quite arbitrarily as one- 
fourth a run. This probably weights the runs through the mastered sections 
but never in such a way as would produce more favorable comparisons with 
the 'whole' or pure 'part' methods. The methods are listed in their apparent 
order of merit, although the three measuring criteria do not always agree 
in arguing for this order. 





No. of 
Humans 


Trials 


Time 




Errors 




Method 


















A 


B 


C 


Total 


Progressive 
















Part 


6 


10 


352" 


10 


3 


44 


57 


Direct 
















Repetitive 


6 


II 


618 


15 


II 


70 


96 


Whole Returns 
















Allowed 


6 


12 


641 


16 


13 


Q7 


126 


Whole Returns 
















Prevented 


6 


17 


541 


23 


6 


51 


81 


Reversed 
















Repetitive 


6 


22 


1014 


27 


24 


175 


226 


Total Part 


6 


23 


1220 


36 


25 


176 


237 


Table XVIII. 


As for Tab 


le XVII, hun 


lan learning'. 











WHOLE VS. PART METHODS IN MOTOR LEARNING 77 





Time 


Errors 


Trials 


A 


B 


c 


Total 


I 

2 

3 

4 


41" 

26" 

33" 

24" 


■4 

2 

•4 




.2 





3-4 






4 

.2 

•4 





Table XIX. A table to show the average time and errors per trial of six 
rats in connecting four sections, such connection having been preceded by an 
increasingly complex review of the various units. This is the nearest rat 
approach to massed learning effort. 





Trials 

and 

Time 


Trials and 

Total 

Errors 


Time and 

Total 

Errors 


Trials and 

Type A 

Errors 


Time and 
Type A 
, Errors 


Total and 

Type A 

Errors 


Rats 
Humans 


.8705 
•8325 


.8325 
.8325 


.9451 
1. 0000 


.9269 
1. 0000 


■7750 
.8325 


•6775 
.8325 






! 


Trials 


j Time 


Total Errors Type 


A Errors 

•4465 


Rats and h 


[umans 


.6180 


•3335 


.3335 ' 



Table XX. A table to show the correlation between the learning criteria 
for all methods, both for rats and humans . Also, the correlation between 
the rat and human learning for all methods, correlation being measured by 

62D' 
a single learning criterion. Ranking method P=i — j^/j^2 j\ 





Trials 


Time 


Errors 


Method 
















A 


B 


C 


Total 


Whole-Returns 














Allowed 


30 


1250" 


41 


27 


192 


260 




12 


641 


16 


13 


97 


126 


Whole-Returns 














Prevented 


25 


1208 


40 


14 


150 


204 




17 


541 


23 


6 


51 


81 


Total Part 


10 


538 


15 


9 


83 


107 




23 


1220 


36 


25 


176 


237 


Progressive 














Part 


14 


536 


24 


10 


62 


96 




10 


352 


10 


3 


44 


57 


Direct 














Repetitive 


24 


716 


37 


7 


76 


120 




n 


618 


15 


II 


70 


96 


Reversed 














Repetitive 


20 


764 


29 


10 


87 


126 




22 


1014 


27 


24 


175 


226 



Table XXI. A table to compare the average learning records of human 
groups for the various methods, with effort being massed and distributed. 
The results for massed effort always appear first. 



78 



LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 





Trials 


Time 


Errors 


















A 


B 


C 


Total 


Whole-Returns 














Allowed 


150 


95 


156 


98 


108 


106 


Whole-Returns 














Prevented 


47 


123 


74 


133 


194 


152 


Total Part 


-57 


-56 


-58 


-56 


-53 


-55 


Progressive 














Part 


40 


52 


140 


233 


41 


68 


Direct 














Repetitive 


n8 


16 


147 


-36 


9 


25 


Reversed 














Repetitive 


-9 


-25 


7 


58 


-62 


-44 



Table XXII, A table to show the percentage of advantage or disadvantage 
of massed in comparison with distributed effort. 





Trials 


Time 


Errors 


Section 


A 


B 


C 


Total 


I 


5-4 
6 


93" 
198 


2 
4 


2 



8 
20 


12 
24 


II 


1.2 
3 


45 
47 


I 
3 


I 
2 


7 

5 


9 
10 


III 


2.4 
2 


28 
49 


3 

I 






I 
4 


4 

5 


IV 


2.4 
I 


28 

25 


I 
I 




I 


4 

5 


5 

7 


I-IV 


7.6 
20 


344 
901 


8 
28 


6 
22 


64 
141 


78 
191 


Total 


ID 

22, 


538 
1220 


15 
27 


9 

25 


84 
175 


108 
227 



Table XXIII. A table to compare the average learning records of human 
groups for the 'part' method, with effort being massed and distributed. The 
results for massed effort always appear first. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

1. BoGARDUS, E. S. and Henke, F. G. Experiments on 

Tactual Sensations in the White Rat. Jour, of Animal 
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Interval Between Repetitions on the Speed of Learn- 
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1913, 24. 580-583. 

3. Carr, H. and Watson, J. B. Orientation in the White 

Rat. Jour, of Com. Neur. and Psych., 1908, Vol. 18, 
27-44. 

4. Ei^HRUssi, P. Experimentelle Beitriige zur Lehre vom 

Gedachtnis. Zeitschr. f. Psychol., XXXVII. , 1905, 
56-103; 161-234. 

5. Gould, M. C. and Perrin, F. A. C. A Comparison 

of the Factors Involved in the Maze Learning of 
Human Adults and Children. Jour of Exper. Psych., 
Vol. I, No. 2. 

6. Henderson, E. N. A Study of Memory for Connected 

Trains of Thought. Psychol. Rev., Mon. Supp., No. 
23, 1903. 

7. Hunter, W. S. The Delayed Reaction in Animals and 

Children. Behavior Monographs, Vol. 2, No. 6. 

8. KuHLMANN, F. The Present Status of Memory Investi- 

gations. Psych. Bull., 5, 1908, 292. 

9. Lakenan, M. E. Whole and Part Methods of Memorizing 

Poetry and Prose. Jour, of Edu. Psych., 1913, IV, 
189-198. 

10. Larguier des Bancels, Sur les Methodes de Memorisation. 

L'Annee Psychologique, 8, 1901, 185. 

11. Meumann, S. The Psychology of Learning (3rd German 

Edition, 1912.) 240-255; 335. (Also, for extensive 
bibliography). 

12. Murphy, H. H. Distribution of Practice Periods in 

Learning. Jour, of Edu. Psych., 1916, VII, 150-162. 
(See bibliography). 

13. Neumann, G. Experimentelle Beitrage zur Lehre von der 

Oekonomie und Technique des Lernens. Zeitschs. f. 
exp. Padagogik, IV, 1907, 63-101. 



So LOUIS AUGUSTUS PECHSTEIN 

14. Parker, S. C. Methods of Teaching in High Schools, 

191 5. Ch. VI and Ch. VIII. (See bibliographies.) 

15. Pentschew, C. Untersitchungen zur Oekonomie und 

Technik des Lernens. Arch. f. d. ges. Psychol. I., 
1903, 417-526. 

16. Perrin, F. a. C. An Experimental and Introspective 

Study of the Human Learning Process in the Maze. 
Psychol. Monog., 1914, XVI, No. 70. 

17. Pyle, W. H. Economical Learning. Jour, of Edu. 

Psych., 191 3, IV, 148-158. Concentrated Versus Dis- 
tributed Practice. Jour, of Edu. Psych., 1914, V, 247- 
258. 

18. Pyle, W. H. and Snyder, J. C. The Most Economical 

Unit for Committing to Memory. Jour, of Edu. 
Psych., 191 1, II, 133-142. 

19. Steffens, L. Experimentelle Beitrage zur Lehre vom 

oekonomischen Lernen. Zeitschr. f. Psychol., XXII. ,, 
1900, 321-382; 465- 

20. Watson, ]. B. Kinaesthetic and Organic Sensations. 

Psychol. Rev., Mon. Supp., Vol. VIII, No. 2. 

21. Watt, H. J. The Economy and Training of Memory. 

1907, 1-128. 



m 



150.8 P974v.23no.2c.1 

Pechstein # Whole vs. 



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150. a 

P974 

Psychological monographs: genera 
and applied, v. 23, no. 2 - 
Pechstein - Whole vs. part 
methods in motor learning 



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