Criminal Psychology

Hans Gross

Part 9

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The emotions of witnesses, especially of those who have been harmed by the crime and of those who have seen something terrible

and disgusting, and who still tend to get excited over it, const.i.tute a great many difficulties. Against the unconditional reliability of such persons' testimony experienced judges take measures of defence. The partic.i.p.ant of this cla.s.s is never calm; pa.s.sion, anxiety, anger, personal interest, etc., either antic.i.p.ate or exaggerate trouble. Of course, we are not speaking of cases in which a wound is considerably exaggerated, or even invented for the sake of money, but of those in which people under emotional stress often say unthinkable things about their enemy, just to get him punished. This, however, is comparatively rare where the damage has been very great. A man who has lost his eye, the father of a raped daughter, the victim impoverished by arson, often behaves very calmly toward the criminal. He makes no especial accusation, does not exaggerate, and does not insult. A person, however, whose orchard has suffered damage, may behave much worse.

It frequently happens that the sufferer and the defendant really hate each other. Not necessarily because one had broken the other's head, or robbed him; frequently the ostensible reason for coming to trial is the result of a long and far-reaching hatred. That this emotion can go to any length is well known and it is therefore necessary, though not always easy, to seek it out. Hatred is possible among peers, or people who are peers in one connection or another. As a rule, the king will not be able to hate his musketeer, but he will when they are both pa.s.sionately in love with the same girl, for they are peers in love. Similarly, the high-bred lady will hardly hate her maid, but if she observes the maid's magnificent hair and believes that it is better than her own, she will hate the maid, for there is no difference in rank with regard to the love of hair.

Real hate has only three sources: pain, jealousy, or love. Either the object of hatred has caused his enemy a great irremediable pain or jealousy, or hatred is, was, or will become love. Some authorities believe that there is another source of hatred which becomes apparent when we have done harm to somebody. That this might show itself as hatred or pa.s.sion similar to hatred is possible, but in most cases it will probably be a feeling of deep shame and regret, which has certain particular characteristics in common with hatred. If it is really hatred, it is hatred through pain. Hatred is difficult to hide, and even criminalists of small experience will overlook it only in exceptional cases. The discovery of envy, which is less forgiving than hatred, less explosive, much profounder and much more extensive, is incomparably more difficult. Real hatred,

like exquisite pa.s.sion, requires temperament, and under circ.u.mstances may evoke sympathy, but friendless envy, any scamp is capable of. Possibly no other pa.s.sion endangers and destroys so many lives, chokes off so much service, makes impossible so many significant things, and finally, judges so falsely an endless number of persons. When you remember, moreover, its exaggerated extent, and the poor-spirited, easy trick of hiding it, its dangerous nature can not be overestimated. We lawyers are even more imperilled by it because we do not easily allow people to be praised before us; we require witnesses, etc., to speak incriminatingly most of the time, and we cannot easily see whether they are envious.

However freely one man may speak against another, we may a.s.sume that he is telling the truth, or at worst, that he has a false notion of the matter, or was badly instructed, but we rarely think that his envy dictates it all. This idea occurs to us when he is to praise the other man. Then he exhibits a cautious, tentative, narrowing att.i.tude, so that even a person of little experience infers envy. And here the much-discussed fact manifests itself, that real envy requires a certain equality. By way of example the petty shopkeeper is cited as envying his more fortunate compet.i.tor, but not the great merchant whose ships go round the world. The feeling of the private toward his general, the peasant toward his landlord, is not really envy, it is desire to be like him. It is anger that the other is better off, but inasmuch as the emotion lacks that effective capacity which we require for envy, we can not call it envy. It becomes envy when something by way of intrigue or evil communication, etc., has been undertaken against the envied person. Thus the mere *feeling is confessed at once. People say, "How I envy him this trip, his magnificent health, his gorgeous automobile, etc." They do not say: "I have enviously spoken evil of him, or done this or that against him." Yet it is in the latter form that the actual pa.s.sion of envy expresses itself.

The capacity of the envious for false representation makes them particularly dangerous in the court-room. If we want to discover anything about an individual we naturally inquire of his colleagues, his relatives, etc. But it is just among these that envy rules. If you inquire of people without influence you learn nothing from them, since they do not understand the matter; if you ask professional people they speak enviously or selfishly, and that const.i.tutes our dilemma. Our attention may be called to envy by the speaker's hesitation, his reserved manner of answering. This is the same in

all cla.s.ses, and is valuable because it may warn us against very bad misunderstandings.

As a rule, nothing can be said about pa.s.sion as a source of crime. We may a.s.sume that pa.s.sion pa.s.ses through three periods. The first is characterized by the general or partial recurrence of older images; in the second, the new idea employs its dominating place negatively or positively with respect to the older one,--the pa.s.sion culminates; and in the third, the forcibly-disturbed emotional equilibrium is restored. Most emotions are accompanied by well- known physical phenomena. Some have been thoroughly studied, e. g., the juristically important emotion of fear. In fear, breathing is irregular, inspiration is frequently broken, a series of short breaths is followed by one or more deep ones, inspiration is short, expiration is prolonged, one or the other is sobbing. All these phenomena are only a single consequence of the increase of respiratory changes. The irregularity of the latter causes coughing, then a disturbance of speech, which is induced by the irregular action of the muscles of the jaw, and in part by the acceleration of the breathing. In the stages of echoing fear, yawning occurs, and the distention of the pupils may be noticed as the emotion develops. This is what we often see when a denying defendant finds himself confounded by evidence, etc.

The most remarkable and in no way explicable fact is, that these phenomena do not occur in innocent people. One might think that the fear of being innocently convicted would cause an expression of dread, anger, etc., but it does not cause an expression of real terror. I have no other than empirical evidence of the fact, so that many more observations are required before any fresh inferences are deduced therefrom anent a man's guilt or innocence. We must never forget that under such circ.u.mstances pa.s.sions and emotions often change into their opposites according to rule. Parsimony becomes extravagance, and conversely; love becomes hate. Many a man becomes altogether too foolhardy because of despairing fear. So it may happen that terror may become petrifying coldness, and then not one of the typical marks of terror appears. But it betrays itself just as certainly by its icy indifference as by its own proper traits. Just as pa.s.sions trans.m.u.te into their opposites, so they carry a significant company of subordinate characteristics. Thus, dread or fear is accompanied by disorderly impertinence, sensuality by cruelty. The latter connection is of great importance to us, for it frequently eliminates difficulties in the explanation of

crime. That cruelty and lasciviousness have the same root has long been known. The very ecstasy of adventurous and pa.s.sionate love is frequently connected with a certain cruel tendency. Women are, as a rule, more ferocious than men.[1] It is a.s.serted that a woman in love is constantly desiring her man. If this be true, the foregoing statement is sufficiently explained. In one sense the connection between s.e.xual pa.s.sion and cruelty is bound up with that unsatiability which is characteristic of several pa.s.sions. It is best to be observed in pa.s.sions for property, especially such as involve the sense-perception of money. It is quite correct to speak of the overwhelming, devilish power of gold, of the sensual desire to roll in gold, of the irresistible ring of coins, etc. And it is also correctly held that money has the same definite influence on man as blood on preying animals. We all know innumerable examples of quite decent people who were led to serious crimes by the mere sight of a large sum of money. Knowledge of this tendency may, on occasion, lead to clues, and even to the personality of the criminal.

[1] A. Eulenberg: s.e.xuale Neuropathie. Leipzig 1895.

Section 96. (f) Honor.

Kant says that a man's honor consists in what people think about him, a woman's in what people say about her. Another authority believes that honor and a sense of honor are an extension of the sense of self in and through others. The essence of my honor is my belief that I exist for others, that my conduct will be judged and valued not only by myself but by others. Falstaff calls honor the painted picture at a funeral. Our authors are both right and wrong, for honor is simply the position a man takes with regard to the world, so that even gamins may be said to have honor. Unwillingness to see this may cause us criminalists considerable trouble. One of the worst men I ever met in my profession, a person guilty of the nastiest crimes, so nasty that he had driven his honorable parents to suicide, had at the expiration of his last sentence of many years in prison, said literally, "I offer no legal objection against the sentence. I beg, however, for three days' suspension so that I may write a series of farewell letters which I could not write as a prisoner." Even in the heart of this man there was still the light of what other people call honor. We often find similar things which may be used to our advantage in examination. Not, of course, for the purpose of getting confession, accusation of accomplices, etc. This might,

indeed, serve the interests of the case, but it is easy to identify a pliable att.i.tude with an honorable inclination, and the former must certainly not be exploited, even with the best intention. Moreover, among persons of low degree, an inclination toward decency will hardly last long and will briefly give way to those inclinations which are habitual to bad men. Then they are sorry for what they had permitted to occur in their better moment and curse those who had made use of that moment.

It is often funny to see the points at which the criminal seeks his "honor." What is proper for a thief, may be held improper for a robber. The burglar hates to be identified with the pick-pocket. Many a one finds his honor in this wise deeply attacked, particularly when it is shown him that he is betraying an accomplice, or that he has swindled his comrades in the division of booty, etc. I remember one thief who was inconsolable because the papers mentioned that he had foolishly overlooked a large sum of money in a burglary. This would indicate that criminals have professional ambitions and seek professional fame.

Section 97. (g) Superst.i.tion.

For a discussion of Superst.i.tion see my Handbuch fr Untersuchungsrichter, etc. (English translation by J. Adam, New York, 1907), and H. Gross's Archiv I, 306; III, 88; IV, 340; V, 290, 207; IX, 253; IV, 168; VI, 312; VII, 162; XII, 334.

Topic 3. MISTAKES.

(a) Mistakes of the Senses.

Section 98. (1) General Considerations.

As sensation is the basis of knowledge, the sensory process must be the basis of the correctness of legal procedure. The information we get from our senses and on which we construct our conclusion, may be said, all in all, to be reliable, so that we are not justified in approaching things we a.s.sume to depend on sense-perception with exaggerated caution. Nevertheless, this perception is not always completely correct, and the knowledge of its mistakes must help us and even cause us to wonder that we make no greater ones.

Psychological examination of sense-perception has been going on since Herac.l.i.tus. Most of the mistakes discovered have been used for various purposes, from sport to science. They are surprising and attract and sustain public attention; they have, hence, become

familiar, but their influence upon other phenomena and their consequences in the daily life have rarely been studied. For two reasons. First, because such illusions seem to be small and their far-reaching effects are rarely thought of, as when, e. g., a line drawn on paper seems longer or more inclined than it really is. Secondly, it is supposed that the influence of sensory illusions can not easily make a difference in practical life. If the illusion is observed it is thereby rendered harmless and can have no effect. If it is not observed and later on leads to serious consequences, their cause can not possibly be sought out, because it can not be recognized as such, and because there have been so many intermediate steps that a correct retroduction is impossible.

This demonstrates the rarity of a practical consideration of sense- perception, but does not justify that rarity. Of course, there are great difficulties in applying results of limited experiments to extensive conditions. They arise from the a.s.sumption that the conditions will be similar to those which the scientist studies, and that a situation which exhibits certain phenomena under narrow experimental conditions will show them, also, in the large. But this is not the case, and it is for this reason that the results of modern psychology have remained practically unproductive. This, of course, is not a reproach to the discipline of experimental psychology, or an a.s.sault upon the value of its researches. Its narrow limitations were necessary if anything definite was to be discovered. But once this has been discovered the conditions may be extended and something practical may be attained to, particularly in the matter of illusion of sense. And this possibility disposes of the second reason for not paying attention to these illusions.

Witnesses do not of course know that they have suffered from illusions of sense; we rarely hear them complain of it, anyway. And it is for this very reason that the criminalist must seek it out. The requirement involves great difficulties for we get very little help from the immense literature on the subject. There are two roads to its fulfilment. In the first place, we must understand the phenomenon as it occurs in our work, and by tracing it back determine whether and which illusion of the sense may have caused an abnormal or otherwise unclear fact. The other road is the theoretical one, which must be called, in this respect, the preparatory road. It requires our mastery of all that is known of sense-illusion and particularly of such examples of its hidden nature as exist. Much of the material of this kind is, however, irrelevant to our purpose, par-

ticularly all that deals with disease and lies in the field of medicine. Of course, where the nature of the disease is uncertain or its very presence is unknown, it is as well for us to consider the case as for the physician. But above all, it is our duty to consult the physician.

Apart from what belongs to the physician there is the material which concerns other professions than ours. That must be set aside, though increasing knowledge may require us to make use even of that. It is indubitable that we make many observations in which we get the absolute impression that matters of sensory illusion which do not seem to concern us lie behind some witnesses' observations, etc., although we can not accurately indicate what they are. The only thing to do when this occurs is either to demonstrate the possibility of their presence or to wait for some later opportunity to test the witness for them.

Cla.s.sification will ease our task a great deal. The apparently most important divisions are those of "normal" and "abnormal." But as the boundary between them is indefinite, it would be well to consider that there is a third cla.s.s which can not fall under either heading. This is a cla.s.s where especially a group of somatic conditions either favor or cause illusory sense-perceptions, e. g., a rather over-loaded stomach, a rush of blood to the head, a wakeful night, physical or mental over-exertion. These conditions are not abnormal or diseased, but as they are not habitual, they are not normal either. If the overloaded stomach has turned into a mild indigestion, the increase of blood into congestion, etc., then we are very near disease, but the boundary between that and the other condition can not be determined.

Another question is the limit at which illusions of sense begin, how, indeed, they can be distinguished from correct perceptions. The possibility of doing so depends upon the typical construction of the sense-organs in man. By oneself it would be impossible to determine which sensation is intrinsically correct and which is an illusion. There are a great many illusions of sense which all men suffer from under similar conditions, so that the judgment of the majority can not be normative. Nor can the control of one sense by another serve to distinguish illusory from correct perception. In many cases it is quite possible to test the sense of sight by touch, or the sense of hearing by sight, but that is not always so. The simplest thing is to say that a sense-impression is correct and implies reality when it remains identical under various circ.u.mstances, in various conditions, when connected with other senses, and observed

by different men, with different instruments. It is illusory when it is not so constant. But here again the limit of the application of the term "illusion" is difficult to indicate. That distant things seem to be smaller than they are; that railway tracks and two sides of a street seem to run together are intrinsically real illusions of sense, but they are not so called--they are called the laws of perspective, so that it would seem that we must add to the notion of sense- perception that of rarity, or extraordinary appearance.

I have found still another distinction which I consider important. It consists in the difference between real illusions and those false conceptions in which the mistake originates as false inference. In the former the sense organ has been really registering wrongly, as when, for example, the pupil of the eye is pressed laterally and everything is seen double. But when I see a landscape through a piece of red gla.s.s, and believe the landscape to be really red, the mistake is one of inference only, since I have not included the effect of the gla.s.s in my concluding conception. So again, when in a rain I believe mountains to be nearer than they really are, or when I believe the stick in the water to be really bent, my sensations are perfectly correct, but my inferences are wrong. In the last instance, even a photograph will show the stick in water as bent.

This difference in the nature of illusion is particularly evident in those phenomena of expectation that people tend to miscall "illusions of sense." If, in church, anybody hears a dull, weak tone, he will believe that the organ is beginning to sound, because it is appropriate to a.s.sume that. In the presence of a train of steam cars which shows every sign of being ready to start you may easily get the illusion that it is already going. Now, how is the sense to have been mistaken in such cases? The ear has really heard a noise, the eye has really seen a train, and both have registered correctly, but it is not their function to qualify the impression they register, and if the imagination then effects a false inference, that can not be called an illusion of sensation.

The incorrectness of such cla.s.sification becomes still more obvious when some numerical, arithmetical demonstration can be given of the presence of faulty inference. For example, if I see through the window a man very far away clearing a lot with an ax, I naturally see the ax fall before I hear the noise of the blow. Now, it may happen that the distance may be just great enough to make me hear the sound of the second blow at the moment in which I see the delivery of the third blow. Thus I perceive at the same moment,

in spite of the great distance, both the phenomena of light and of sound, just as if I were directly on the spot. Perhaps I will wonder at first about these physical anomalies, and then, if I have made my simple mistake in inference, I shall tell somebody about the remarkable "sensory illusion" I had today, although no one had ever supposed me capable of being deceived in this way. Schopenhauer calls attention to the familiar fact that on waking after a short nap all localizations are apparently perverted, and the mind does not know what is in front, what behind, what to the right, and what to the left. To call also this sensory illusion, would again be wrong, since the mind is not fully awake, and sufficiently orientated to know clearly its condition. The matter is different when we do not properly estimate an uncustomary sense-impression. A light touch in an unaccustomed part of the body is felt as a heavy weight. After the loss of a tooth we feel an enormous cave in the mouth, and what a nonsensical idea we have of what is happening when the dentist is drilling a hole in a tooth! In all these cases the senses have received a new impression which they have not yet succeeded in judging properly, and hence, make a false announcement of the object. It is to this fact that all fundamentally incorrect judgments of new impressions must be attributed,--for example, when we pa.s.s from darkness into bright light and find it very sharp; when we find a cellar warm in winter that we believe to be ice-cold in summer; when we suppose ourselves to be high up in the air the first time we are on horseback, etc. Now, the actual presence of sensory illusions is especially important to us because we must make certain tests to determine whether testimony depends on them or not, and it is of great moment to know whether the illusions depend on the individual's mind or on his senses. We may trust a man's intellect and not his senses, and conversely, from the very beginning.

It would be superfluous to talk of the importance of sensory illusion in the determination of a sentence. The correctness of the judgment depends on the correctness of the transmitted observations, and to understand the nature of sense-illusion and its frequency is to know its significance for punishment. There are many mistakes of judges based entirely on ignorance of this matter. Once a man who claimed, in spite of absolute darkness, to have recognized an opponent who punched him in the eye, was altogether believed, simply because it was a.s.sumed that the punch was so vigorous that the wounded man saw sparks by the light of which he could recognize

the other. And yet already Aristotle knew that such sparks are only subjective. But that such things were believed is a notable warning.[1]

[1] For literature of Edmund Parish: ber Trugwahrnehmung. Leipsig 1894. A Cramer: Geriehtliche Psychiatrie. Jena 1897. Th. Lipps: cke u. optische. Taschung. J. Sully: Illusions, London, 1888.

Section 99. (2) Optical Illusions.

It will be best to begin the study of optical illusions with the consideration of those conditions which cause extraordinary, lunatic images. They are important because the illusion is recognizable with respect to the possibility of varied interpretations by any observer, and because anybody may experiment for himself with a bit of paper on the nature of false optical apprehension. If we should demonstrate no more than that the simplest conditions often involve coa.r.s.e mistakes, much will have been accomplished for the law, since the "irrefutable evidence" of our senses would then show itself to need corroboration. Nothing is proved with "I have seen it myself," for a mistake in one point shows the equal possibility of mistakes in all other points.

Generally, it may be said that the position of lines is not without influence on the estimation of their size.[2] Perpendicular dimensions are taken to be somewhat greater than they are. Of two crossed lines, the vertical one seems longer, although it is really equal to the horizontal one. An oblong, lying on its somewhat longer side, is taken to be a square; if we set it on the shorter side it seems to be still more oblong than it really is. If we divide a square into equal angles we take the nearer horizontal ones to be larger, so that we often take an angle of thirty degrees to be forty-five. Habit has much influence here. It will hardly be believed, and certainly is not consciously known, that in the letter S the upper curve has a definitely smaller radius than the lower one; but the inverted S shows this at once. To such types other false estimations belong: inclinations, roofs, etc., appear so steep in the distance that it is said to be impossible to move on them without especial help. But whoever does move on them finds the inclination not at all so great. Hence, it is necessary, whenever the ascension of some inclined plane is declared impossible, to inquire whether the author of the declaration was himself there, or whether he had judged the thing at a distance.

[2] Cf. Lotze: Medizinische Psychologie. Leipzig 1852.

Slight crooks are underestimated. Exner[1] rightly calls attention to the fact that in going round the rotunda of the Viennese Prater, he always reached the exit much sooner than he expected. This is due to the presence of slight deviations and on them are based the numerous false estimates of distance and the curious fact that people, on being lost at night in the woods, go round in a significantly small circle. It is frequently observed that persons, who for one reason or another, i. e., robbery, maltreatment, a burglarious a.s.sault, etc., had fled into the woods to escape, found themselves at daybreak, in spite of their flight, very near the place of the crime, so that their honesty in fleeing seems hardly believable. Nevertheless it may be perfectly trustworthy, even though in the daytime the fugitive might be altogether at home in the woods. He has simply underestimated the deviations he has made, and hence believes that he has moved at most in a very flat arc. Supposing himself to be going forward and leaving the wood, he has really been making a sharp arc, and always in the same direction, so that his path has really been circular.

[1] Cf. Entwurf, etc.

Some corroboration for this illusion is supplied by the fact that the left eye sees objects on the left too small, while the right eye underestimates the right side of objects. This underestimation varies from 0.3 to 0.7%. These are magnitudes which may naturally be of importance, and which in the dark most affect deviations that are closely regarded on the inner side of the eye--i. e., deviations to the left of the left eye or the right of the right eye.

Such confusions become most troublesome when other estimations are added to them. So long as the informant knows that he has only been estimating, the danger is not too great. But as a rule the informant does not regard his conception as an estimate, but as certain knowledge. He does not say, "I estimate," he says, "It is so." Aubert tells how the astronomer Frster had a number of educated men, physicians, etc., estimate the diameter of the moon. The estimation varied from 1" to 8" and more. The proper diameter is 1.5" at a distance of 12".

It is well known that an unfurnished room seems much smaller than a furnished one, and a lawn covered with snow, smaller than a thickly-grown one. We are regularly surprised when we find an enormous new structure on an apparently small lot, or when a lot is parcelled out into smaller building lots. When they are planked off we marvel at the number of planks which can be laid on the sur-

face. The illusions are still greater when we look upward. We are less accustomed to estimation of verticals than of horizontals. An object on the gutter of a roof seems much smaller than at a similar distance on the ground. This can be easily observed if any figure which has been on the roof of a house for years is once brought down. Even if it is horizontally twice as far as the height of the house, the figure still seems larger than before. That this illusion is due to defective practice is shown by the fact that children make mistakes which adults find inconceivable. Helmholtz tells how, as child, he asked his mother to get him the little dolls from the gallery of a very high tower. I remember myself that at five years I proposed to my comrades to hold my ankles so that I could reach for a ball from the second story of a house down to the court-yard. I had estimated the height as one-twelfth of its actual magnitude. Certain standards of under and overestimations are given us when there is near the object to be judged an object the size of which we know. The reason for the fact that trees and buildings get such ideal sizes on so-called heroic landscape is the artistically reduced scale. I know that few pictures have made such a devilish impression on me as an enormous landscape, something in the style of Claude Lorraine, covering half a wall. In its foreground there is to be seen a clerk riding a horse in a glen. Rider and horse are a few inches high, and because of this the already enormous landscape becomes frightfully big. I saw the picture as a student, and even now I can describe all its details. Without the diminutive clerk it would have had no particular effect.

In this connection we must not forget that the relations of magnitude of things about us are, because of perspective, so uncertain that we no longer pay any attention to them. "I find it difficult," says Lipps,[1] "to believe that the oven which stands in the corner of the room does not look larger than my hand when I hold it a foot away from my eyes, or that the moon is not larger than the head of a pin, which I look at a little more closely.... We must not forget how we are in the custom of comparing. I compare hand and oven, and I think of the hand in terms of the oven." That is because we know how large the hand and the oven are, but very often we compare things the sizes of which we do not know, or which we can not so easily get at, and then there are many extraordinary illusions.

[1] Die Grundtatsachen des Seelenlebens. Bonn 1883.

In connection with the cited incident of the estimation of the

moon's diameter, there is the illusion of Thomas Reid who saw that the moon seemed as large as a plate when looked at with the unhampered eye, but as large as a dollar when looked at through a tube. This mistake establishes the important fact that the size of the orifice influences considerably the estimation of the size of objects seen through it. Observations through key-holes are not rarely of importance in criminal cases. The underestimations of sizes are astonishing.

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{ill.u.s.t. caption = FIG. 1.} {ill.u.s.t. caption = FIG. 2.} Arial perspective has a great influence on the determination of these phenomena, particularly such as occur in the open and at great distances. The influence is to be recognized through the various appearances of distant objects, the various colors of distant mountains, the size of the moon on the horizon, and the difficulties which arial perspective offers painters. Many a picture owes its success or failure to the use of arial perspective. If its influence is significant in the small s.p.a.ce of a painting, the illusions in nature can easily become of enormous significance, particularly when extremes are brought together in the observations of objects in unknown regions. The condition of the air, sometimes foggy and not pellucid, at another time particularly clear, makes an enormous difference, and statements whether about distance, size, colors, etc., are completely unreliable. A witness who has several times observed an unknown region in murky weather and has made his important observation under very clear skies, is not to be trusted.

[2] Studien ber die Sprachvorstellung. Vienna 1880.

says: "If I lie on my back and see a bird fly in the uniformly blue heaven, I recognize the movement although I have no object with which to compare it. This can not be explained by the variety of points on the retina which are affected, for when the bird pauses and I turn my eye, I know that it is not moving." The last argument is not correct. If the bird is sitting on a branch I know, in spite of all my occipital movement, that it is quiet, but only because I perceive and observe the bird's immobility. If, however, I lie on my back like Stricker and see above me a bird of the cla.s.s that, so to speak, swim motionless in the air for minutes at a time, and if then I turn my head, I can not tell when the bird begins to move. Here then we have no exception to the general rule and can always say that we are speaking of movement optically perceived when the rays issuing from any body progressively touch various points on the retina. And since this occurs when we are in motion as well as when the object is in motion it happens that we can not locate the movement, we cannot say whether it be in us or in the object.

Of course, the possibility that fanciful images may appear during movement is familiar. If I sit quietly in the forest and at some distance see a stone or a piece of wood or a little heap of dried leaves, etc., it may be that, because of some illusion, I take it to be a rolled up hedgehog, and it may happen that I am so convinced of the nature of the object while I am looking at it that I see how the hedgehog stretches itself, sticks out its paws and makes other movements. I remember one winter when, because of some delay, a commission on which I was serving had failed to reach a village not far from the capital. We had gone to investigate a murder case and had found the body frozen stiff. The oven in the room was heated and the grave-digger placed the stiff body near the oven in order to thaw it out. We at this time were examining the place. After a while I was instructed by the examining justice to see about the condition of the corpse, and much to my disgust, I found it sitting near the oven, bent over. It had thawed out and collapsed. During the subsequent obduction I saw most clearly how the corpse made all kinds of movements, and even after the section, during the dictation of the protocol, my imagination still seemed to see the corpse moving a hand or a foot.

The imagination may also cause changes in color. Once, I saw on my desk, which stood next to a window, a great round drop of water on the left side of which the panes of the window were reflected. (Fig. 11). The whole business was about a meter

from my eye. I saw it repeatedly while working and it finally occurred to me to inquire how such a great drop of water could get there. I had sat at my desk for hours without moving. I must have observed it if it had dropped there. Refraining intentionally from going closer, I started, without avail, to consider how it could have {ill.u.s.t. caption = FIG. 11.} come. Some time after I examined the drop of water FIG. 11. and found it to be an ink-blot, long ago completely dried, and bearing on its left side a few grains of white cigar ash. I had taken these to be the image of the window, and hence, had immediately attached to it the idea of the shining, raised drop of water. I had altogether overlooked the deep black color of the drop. On the witness stand I would have sworn that I had seen a drop of water, even if I had known the evidence on the matter to be important.

In many cases it is possible to control the imagination, but only when it is known that the images can not be as they are seen. Everybody is aware how a half-covered object at a distance, or objects accidentally grouped in one way or another, are taken for G.o.d knows what. Thus once, looking from my desk to my smoking table, I saw an enormous pair of tailor's scissors half-covered by a letter. It remained identical under a number of repeated glances. Only when I thought vigorously that such a thing could not possibly be in my room did it disappear. A few scales of ashes, the lower round of the match safe, the metal tr.i.m.m.i.n.gs of two cigar boxes half- covered by a letter and reflected by the uncertain light breaking through the branches of a tree, were all that the tailor's scissors was composed of. If there had been such a thing in the house, or if I had believed something like it to exist in the house, I should have sought no further and should have taken my oath that I had seen the thing. It is significant that from the moment I understood the phenomenon I could not restore the image of the scissors. How often may similar things be of importance in criminal trials!

The so-called captivation of our visual capacity plays a not unimportant part in distinguishing correct from illusory seeing. In order to see correctly we must look straight and fully at the object. Looking askance gives only an approximate image, and permits the imagination free play. Anybody lost in a brown study who pictures some point in the room across the way with his eyes can easily mistake a fly, which he sees confusedly askance, for a great big bird. Again, the type of a book seems definitely smaller if the eyes are fixed on the point of a lead pencil with a certain distance

before or above the book. And yet again, if you stand so that at an angle of about 90 degrees from the fixation point, you look at a white door in a dark wall, observing its extent in indirect vision, you will find it much higher than in direct vision.

These examples indicate how indirect vision may be corrected by later correct vision, but such correction occurs rarely. We see something indirectly; we find it uninteresting, and do not look at it directly. When it becomes of importance later on, perhaps enters into a criminal case, we think that we have seen the thing as it is, and often swear that "a fly is a big bird."

There are a number of accidents which tend to complete illusion. Suppose that the vision of a fly, which has been seen indirectly and taken for a big bird happens to be synchronous with the shriek of some bird of prey. I combine the two and am convinced that I have seen that bird of prey. This may increase, so much so that we may have series of sense-illusions. I cite the example of the decorative theatrical artist, who can make the most beautiful images with a few, but very characteristic blots. He does it by emphazising what seems to us characteristic, e. g., of a rose arbor, in such a way that at the distance and under the conditions of illumination of the theatre we imagine we really see a pretty rose arbor. If the scene painter could give definite rules he would help us lawyers a great deal. But he has none, he proceeds according to experience, and is unable to correct whatever mistakes he has committed. If the rose arbor fails to make the right impression, he does not try to improve it--he makes a new one. This may lead to the conclusion that not all people require the same characteristics in order to identify a thing as such, so that if we could set the rose arbor on the stage by itself, only a part of the public would recognize it as properly drawn, the other part would probably not recognize it at all. But if, of an evening, there is a large number of decorations on the stage, the collective public will find the arbor to be very pretty. That will be because the human senses, under certain circ.u.mstances, are susceptible to sympathetic induction. In the case of the rose arbor we may a.s.sume that the artist has typically represented the necessary characteristics of the arbor for one part of the audience, for another part those of a castle, for another part those of a forest, and for a fourth those of a background. But once an individual finds a single object to be correct, his senses are already sympathetically inductive, i. e., captivated for the correctness of the whole collection, so that the correctness pa.s.ses from one object to the total

number. Now, this psychic process is most clear in those optical illusions which recently have been much on public exhibition (the Battle of Gravelotte, the Journey of the Austrian Crown Prince in Egypt, etc.). The chief trick of these representations is the presenting of real objects, like stones, wheels, etc., in the foreground in such a way that they fuse unnoticeably with the painted picture. The sense of the spectator rests on the plastic objects, is convinced of their materiality and transfers the idea of this plasticity to the merely pictured. Thus the whole image appears as tri-dimensional.

The decorations of great parks at the beginning of the last century indicate that illumination and excited imagination are not alone in causing such illusions. Weber tells ecstatically of an alley in Schwetzing at the end of which there was a highly illuminated concave wall, painted with a landscape of mountains and water-falls. Everybody took the deception for a reality because the eye was captivated and properly inducted. The artist's procedure must have been psychologically correct and must have counted upon the weakness of our observation and intellection. Exner points to the simple circ.u.mstance that we do not want to see that things under certain conditions must terminate. If we draw a straight line and cover an end with a piece of paper, every one wonders that the line is not longer when the paper is removed.

I know of no case in criminal procedure where illusions of this kind might be of importance, but it is conceivable that such illusions enter in numberless instances. This is especially susceptible of observation when we first see some region or object hastily and then observe it more accurately. We are astonished how fundamentally false our first conception was. Part of this falseness may be adduced to faults of memory, but these play little or no part if the time is short and if we are able to recall that the false conception appeared just as soon as we observed the situation in question. The essential reason for false conception is to be found only in the fact that our first hasty view was incorrectly inducted, and hence, led to illusions like those of the theatre. Thus, it is possible to take a board fence covered at points with green moss, for a moss-covered rock, and then to be led by this to see a steep cliff. Certain shadows may so magnify the size of the small window of an inn that we may take it to be as large as that of a sitting room. And if we have seen just one window we think all are of the same form and are convinced that the inn is a mansion. Or again, we see, half-covered, through the woods, a distant pool, and in memory we then see the possibly,

but not necessarily, present river. Or perhaps we see a church spire, and possibly near it the roof of a house rises above the trees; then we are inducted into having seen a village, although there really are visible only the church and the house.

These illusions again, I must repeat, are of no importance if they are at all doubted, for then the truth is ascertained. When, however, they are not doubted and are sworn to, they cause the greatest confusion in trials. A bar-room quarrel, a swung cane, and a red handkerchief on the head, are enough to make people testify to having seen a great brawl with b.l.o.o.d.y heads. A gnawing rat, a window accidentally left open through the night, and some misplaced, not instantaneously discovered object, are the ingredients of a burglary. A man who sees a rather quick train, hears a shrill blowing of the whistle, and sees a great cloud, may think himself the witness of a wreck. All these phenomena, moreover, reveal us things as we have been in the habit of seeing them. I repeat, here also, that the photographic apparatus, in so far as it does not possess a refracting lens, shows things much more truly than our eye, which is always corrected by our memory. If I permit a man sitting on a chair to be photographed, front view, with his legs crossed and stretched far out, the result is a ludicrous picture because the boots seem immensely larger than the head of the subject. But the photograph is not at fault, for if the subject is kept in the same position and then the apparent size of head and boot are measured, we get accurately the same relation as on the photograph. We know by experience how big a head is. And hence, we ordinarily see all relations of size in proper proportion. But on the photograph we can not apply this "natural" standard because it is not given in nature, and we blame the camera.

If, in a criminal case, we are dealing with a description of size, and it is given as it is known from experience, not as it really appears, then if experience has deceived us, our testimony is also wrong, although we pretend to have testified on the basis of direct sense- perception.

The matter of after-images, probably because of their short duration, is of no criminalistic importance. I did once believe that they might be of considerable influence on the perception of witnesses, but I have not succeeded in discovering a single example in which this influence is perceptible.

On the other hand, the phenomenon of irradiation, the appearance of dark bodies as covered with rays of light by adjacent luminosities,

is of importance. This phenomenon is well-known, as are Helmholtz's and Plateau's explanations of it. But it is not sufficiently applied. One needs only to set a white square upon the blackest possible ground and at the same time a similar black square of equal size on a white ground, and then to place them under a high light, to perceive how much larger the white square appears to be. That such phenomena often occur in nature need not be expounded. Whenever we are dealing with questions of size it is indubitably necessary to consider the color of the object and its environment with respect to its background and to the resulting irradiation.

Section 100. (3) Auditory Illusions.

From the point of view of the criminalist, auditory illusions are hardly less significant than visual illusions, the more so, as incorrect hearing is much more frequent than incorrect seeing. This is due to the greater similarity of tones to each other, and this similarity is due to the fact that sound has only one dimension, while vision involves not only three but also color. Of course, between the booming of cannons and the rustling of wings there are more differences than one, but the most various phenomena of tones may be said to vary only in degree. For purposes of comparison moreover, we can make use only of a cla.s.s of auditory images on the same plane, e. g., human voices, etc. Real acoustic illusions are closely connected with auditory misapprehension and a distinction between these two can not be rigorously drawn. A misapprehension may, as a rule, be indicated by almost any external condition, like the relations of pitch, echo, repet.i.tion, false coincidence of waves of sound, etc. Under such circ.u.mstances there may arise real illusions.

The study of auditory illusions is rendered especially difficult by the rarity of their repet.i.tion, which makes it impossible reliably to exclude accidents and mistakes in observation. Only two phenomena are susceptible of accurate and sufficient study. For three summers a man used to ride through the long street in which I live. The man used to sell ice and would announce himself by crying out, "Frozen," with the accent on the Fro. This word was distinctly audible, but if the man came to a definite place in the street, there were also audible the words "Oh, my." If he rode on further the expression became confused and gradually turned into the correct, "Frozen." I observed this daily, got a number of others to do so, without telling them of the illusion, but each heard

the same thing in spite of the distinct difference between "frozen," and "oh, my."

I made a similar observation at a bicycle school. As is known, beginners are able frequently to ride by themselves but need help in mounting and dismounting their machines. To do so they call a teacher by crying out: "Herr Maier." At a certain place this sound would seem distinctly to be "mamma." I was at first much surprised to hear people of advanced age cry cheerfully, "mamma." Later I discovered what the word really was and acquaintances whose attention I called to the matter confirmed my observation. Such things are not indifferent, they show that really very different sounds may be mistaken for one another, that the test of misunderstandings may often lead to false results, since only during the test of an illusion are both auditor and speaker accurately in the same position as before. Finally, these things show that the whole business of correcting some false auditions is very difficult. Yet this work of correction may be a.s.sumed to be much more easy with respect to hearing than with respect to seeing. If, e. g., it is a.s.serted that the revolver has been seen somewhere, and if it has been known that the sight was impossible, it becomes just as impossible, almost, to determine what the object seen really was. In the rarest cases only will it be something altogether similar, e. g., a pistol; most of the time it will be an object which could not be inferred from no matter what combinations. In hearing, on the contrary, if once it is determined that there has be

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