Activation and Behavior

Activation and Behavior

Activation and Behavior

Activation and Behavior

Excerpt

This manuscript is released for publication with a combination of enthusiasm and apology on my part--enthusiasm for its aims and apology for the extent to which it falls short of fulfilling them.

The book has been long in the making, far too long. The germ of its thesis began to grow as long as thirty years ago. Indeed, I was publishing in the ninteen-thirties and nineteen-forties articles which presented the basic concept developed here, though the terms employed for it were variously, "degree of excitation," "energy level," and "energy mobilization." The notion, based upon behavioral phenomena, found relatively little acceptance among psychologists until the nineteen-fifties, when neural findings (particularly in regard to the functioning of the reticular activating system) lent plausibility to the conception.

In the meantime, I had written a first draft of the present book and had shown it privately to an eminent physiological psychologist who was so critical of it that I was discouraged from submitting it to a publisher. The criticism, however, bore fruit. Still convinced that the conception was basically correct, I was led to a more thorough search of the psychological literature to see whether there was more experimental evidence which might indirectly support the suggestion and to check on whether I had, as my critic suggested, overlooked negative evidence. Just when I thought I knew the literature of the field fairly well, and had written another version of the book, investigations in the area began to multiply so rapidly that I could not keep up with them and still have time left for writing. Friends, who had almost begun to think the book was a myth, jokingly suggested that I publish what I had and save new investigations for a second edition. At this point it was decided that the area covered by the book was so broad, and knowledge about it growing so rapidly, that the book should in-

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