That Sherrington ended his scientific engagement with experimental devices designed to produce sensory effects around 1906 should not be taken as evidence that cinematographs had decreasing significance for physiological practitioners during the first two decades of the twentieth century. As Hannah Landecker and others have shown, it was for their recording and representational rather than their stimulatory capacities that these tools were most prominently adopted. During the first decades of the twentieth century, cinematographs were frequently deployed in attempts to inscribe and represent the motile aspects of life. Such interests were accompanied by further innovations in cinematographic tools themselves. For example, at the Institut Marey, Charlesmile François-Franck and Lucien Bull developed means of recording and projecting living nature in three dimensions, and adapted celluloid film for the creation of highly sensitive myographic equipment. During the 1920s, Sherrington and the group of his students and colleagues associated with the Oxford laboratory of physiology would adopt this latter technology in their 'optical myograph' studies of minute muscle movements. Such studies constituted a re-assertion of the representational over the stimulatory possibilities that cinematographic devices afforded.

By the 1920s, the questions that motivated physiological psychological studies of illusion had mutated. Within physiology, the points at issue decreasingly referred to physiological conditions of sensation, and instead concentrated ever more on the relation between general functional models and their specific structural conditions. In a later preface to Integrative Action, Sherrington would define physiology as the study of a 'unified machine.' Such phraseology identified two ends of a spectrum that ran from his own attempt to elaborate a single explanatory schema encompassing all studies of nervous phenomena on the one hand, to chemistry- and physics-derived claims relating to the make-up and origins of cells on the other. That his title of the monograph referred not to an historically psychological category such as will or volition but rather to a mathematics-recalling 'integration' as the unifying tendency of nervous activity points to a more general trend within physiology to cordon off psychological questions from physiological claims. This also entailed the adoption of 'mechanical' modes of perception even where tools invited novel forms of sensory testing. Thus during the 1920s, physiological engagement with radio transmission and reception devices was largely confined to their adaptation for recording purposes rather than any sensory effects that they might have.

Considerations of sensations of all kinds came to hold less and less fascination for laboratory-oriented physiologists from this time. In Britain, it was not within the laboratory, but on the hospital ward that sensory studies would find their most fertile ground. Stephen Jacyna relates the ways in which Sherrington's long-term correspondent, the also physiologically-educated Henry Head, began to formulate a conception of sensory experience in which all parts of the nervous system became active contributors to, rather than (as in associationist models) passive conveyors of, sensations. Head's studies centred on clinical testing and self-experimentation rather than laboratory precision. Elsewhere, psychological researchers were beginning to take on laboratory-centred identities that did not rely on prior recognition of physiological expertise. Mitchell Ash thus notes the significance of the cinematographic tachistoscope for the establishment of laboratory-centred psychology in Germany. As Ash highlights, tachistoscopic studies marked the culmination of long-standing trends within German academies in which psychology began to emerge as an independent, experimental discipline. Psychology in the United States evinced a distinct yet parallel trend towards independent disciplinary constitution around experimental sites and practices. Thus at Harvard Münsterberg, whose own commentary on the cinematograph came to rival that of Bergson, looked not to the university physiology department, but to the advertising and employment industries as a source for the funding and legitimation of his cinematographic studies. Other biologically-inclined experimentalists retained the physiological fascination with the study of animals, but differentiated themselves from physiologists epistemically: psychologists would study the conditions under which behavioural effects could be produced, whereas physiologists would study bodies themselves. Though early experimental psychology evinced different particularities at different locales, sensation studies in all cases began to be considered as the purview of specialities that, though they might refer to nerve physiology, did not take the make-up of the nervous body as their principal object of concern.

In his 1922 reference to psychological time as the only alternative to his own physical time, Einstein appealed not then to a field in which contentions regarding the nature of mind could directly inform studies of the nature of bodies, but rather to an increasingly laboratory-based discipline that addressed questions that at least nominally fell outside of the purview of physiological research. It is significant in this respect that he had since at least 1916 cultivated a close relationship with the pioneer of Gestalt psychology, Max Wertheimer. In 1922 Einstein asked Wertheimer to deputise for him at the League of Nations' Committee on Intellectual Cooperation, over which Bergson presided. In the same year, in the first of a number of such letters, he also penned a recommendation for him (to Moritz Schlick at Kiel) on the basis of both his personal acquaintance and his psychological expertise. Beginning in 1910, Wertheimer had contended that sensation could not be studied by reference to individually-isolatable sense-impressions, but was rather apprehensible only in terms of an immediately-perceptible whole or 'Gestalt'. Wertheimer's collaborators Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Köhler invited their students to engage with Bergson in their seminars. But it was in the laboratory that the latter's critique of associationism had its greatest influence. 'Though he did not cite Bergson', Ash notes, Wertheimer's tachistoscope studies 'provided empirical evidence for the claims the Frenchman had made.' Such influence was double edged as far as Bergson's holistic epistemology was concerned. At the Paris debate, Piéron appealed precisely to experiments in which 'symmetrical points of the retina receive a luminous impression' to insist that Bergson's introspective duration must remain 'foreign to physical time.' In cinematographic experimentation, Bergson's admonition that experience could not be reduced to a set of isolated moments had, paradoxically, found purchase in the very ground that he sought to critique. Laboratory psychology incorporated his insistence on the holistic nature of perception, but produced it as a scientific object rather than introspective insight. Crucially, such adoption did not rely on more general claims regarding the place of mind in life. Problematically for Bergson, it had been exactly this particularization of discussion that his philosophy sought to ward against: for him, direct, unmediated experience should inform the apprehension of nature as a whole, rather than specific psychological, physiological, or indeed physical parts.