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Investigating Vision

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Scientific Instruments as Historiographic Tools for the Understanding of the Development and Establishment of Colour, Perception and Performance Research at Edinburgh University, 1850–1950

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This article draws a historic trajectory for the study of colour perception at Edinburgh University through the examination of three key pieces of scientific apparatus and their uses. It traces the development of colour, perception and skills research at Edinburgh University from the 1850s to 1950s. Starting point of the narrative is the advent of Wilhelm Wundt’s laboratory method from Leipzig, its inherent limitations and Edinburgh psychologists’ response to it. Through the analysis of some of the key instruments and their use for colour perception and skills research and teaching the article aims to understand the establishment of the department of psychology at Edinburgh University, and more broadly, scientific instruments as tools for understanding the formation and development of research and teaching schools.

Affiliations: 1: Science and Technology, National Museums Scotland


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