RESEARCH IN ACTIVITY LEVEL1
Rue L. Cromwell Alfred Baumeister William F. Hawkins
Recently in the field of mental retardation increased attention has been directed toward research in motor activity level. This has concerned primarily the hyperactive, presumably brain-damaged, retarded child. Previously, only limited attention had been paid to this topic. In both human and animal behavior the focus has usually been on the principles governing how the organism learns or modifies his behavior rather than on laws related to the amount of motor output. As a result, the knowledge about activity level is both scattered and disorganized.
The purpose of this chapter is to review some of the important aspects of methodology, empirical correlates, and theoretical interpretations of activity level. Inevitably, the review will draw attention to unsolved problems and questions. Hopefully, the findings which are described, and the research which they may suggest, will have implications not only for the general study of behavior but also for the management and training of superactive and subactive retarded children.
A precise definition of activity depends invariably on how it is measured. However, the problem of precise definition is not simple. For example, if____________________