Classical Theory Of Sensory Discrimination See Neural Quantum Theory

CLEVER HANS EFFECT/ PHENOMENON. Hans was the name of a "talented" horse, among the world-famous Elberfeld horses of Germany, which was trained by Wilhelm von Osten of Berlin. Hans' talent was his ability to perform some rather remarkable abstract/mental tasks such as addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, obtaining square roots, and spelling various words. After many people were thoroughly mystified by Hans' abilities, the German psychologist Oskar Pfungst (1874-1932) tested Hans and ultimately discovered that the horse was actu ally performing and solving his mathematical and mental problems by responding to subtle and totally unintentional, very tiny visual cues that were provided by von Osten (such as the questioner's bending forward slightly after presenting the horse with a problem and bending backward and upward slightly when the correct tap of Hans' hoof was reached). That is, the horse's method was to "count up" to the answer of a problem by stamping his hoof the required number of times. Hans "knew" when to stop stamping by taking his cues from the humans around him who unconsciously responded with changes in breathing patterns and bodily positions. Thus, Hans was simply responding to visual cues that were, to him, the "start" and "stop" signals of hoof-tapping. The term Clever Hans effect/phenomenon has come to denote communication that is transmitted through slight, unintentional, nonverbal cues. Prior to Pfungst's work, such cues had not been reported in the scientific/research literature, yet today they are recognized as unconscious signals in posture, gesture, and vocal tone emitted by individuals even as they speak their language. The Clever Hans effect may be an important concern in psychological experiments where the experimenter's expectations, hopes, habits, and personal characteristics can influence, unwittingly, the outcome of a research investigation. Such conditions of unintentional cuing are called, also, experimenter effects, experimenter bias, Rosenthal effect, or Der Kluge Hans. See also EXPERIMENTER EFFECTS. REFERENCES

von Osten. C. Rahn (Trans.). New York: Holt. Rosenthal, R. (Ed.) (1965). Clever Hans: The horse of Mr. von Osten. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.

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