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Activation and Behavior

Dan Ehrlich, M.D.
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1963;8(2):211-212. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1963.01720080101016.
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Activation, says Elizabeth Duffy, is ... " the arousal which occurs in the absence of physical exertion, or the arousal found when we subtract from measures of activation the effects of physical activity .... Activation is .... the extent of release of the stored energy of the organism through metabolic activity in the tissues." The author believes that contemporary psychological theory regards behavior as variable in only 2 fundamental aspects: direction and intensity. It is with the latter of these categories that activation theory is concerned ; and the basic premise of the activation theorist is clearly set forth at the beginning of this monograph: "A concept of intensity based on the measurement of internal processes appears to be a more useful psychological construct than one based on the force of overt response."

Present-day activation theory has its historical roots in the early 1930's in the psychophysiological studies of Duffy, Freeman, Darrow, and R.


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