Signora Sertoli's experiments were directed to testing the effect of small amounts of alcohol on the attention and the memory. The subjects of the experiments were three school-children, a girl get. 10, and two boys, æt. respectively 14 and 16. Attention was tested by Ebbinghaus's “combination” method, and memory by learning passages of poetry by heart. In each case the normal capacity of the subject was ascertained by a preliminary series of tests. The alcohol was given in the form of Marsala, but nothing is stated as to the doses, except that they were moderate and proportioned to the ages of the children. The experiments went to show that a slight degree of alcoholic excitement renders attention quicker and, so to speak, more intense, but less stable; also that it makes mnemonic fixation more rapid and more clear, but decreases retentiveness. It greatly augments, however, the power of evocation, producing an exuberant revival of latent impressions. Finally, it causes the diminution or disappearance of certain emotions, more particularly of such as restrict human activity, notably, for instance, the emotion of timidity. These results are in several points in contradiction with the conclusions arrived at by Kraepelin in his well-known investigations, and this is the more surprising in that Effingham's “combination” method, which was employed by Signora Sertoli, is largely a test of judgment, and most observers have found that accuracy of judgment is decreased by alcohol. In Signora Sertoli's experiments, not only was the rapidity of the reaction increased, but the proportion of errors and omissions was notably lessened.
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