Excerpt from The Measurement of Musical Talent
In 1842 the greatest physiologist of that time declared that it would forever remain impossible to measure the speed of the nerve impulse; yet, within two years of that time, his colleague measured it with accuracy. Up to that time it had been supposed that the nerve impulse might have the speed of an electric current; but the measurement showed that it takes a nerve impulse as long to pass from the foot to the brain of a man as it would take the electric current to pass half way around the globe. About the same time it was almost universally believed that the time of thought could not be measured; but the reaction-time experiment did on the mental side what the measurement of the nerve impulse had done on the physical side. Talent, like the dream, has been thought of as peculiarly illusive and intangible for observation.
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