What is an Excitement?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In presenting a preliminary genealogy of excitement in terms of the operational history of emotion inside the laboratory, this chapter challenges the contemporary dominant emphasis on the intellectual history of post-World War II emotion. This intellectual perspective often presents post-War emotion in terms of the legacies of nineteenth-century emotions, i.e., in terms of a history of Darwin's and James’ (and Freud's) emotions. The argument of this chapter is that important aspects of post-War emotion and of post-war constructs of the relationships between “emotion,” “excitement,” “intensity,” “activation,” and physiological “arousal” emerged from early-twentieth-century laboratory enactments of emotion – i.e., from the study of adrenaline and “emotional excitement.” Hence this chapter provides an altogether new prehistory of “noncognitive” emotion science ranging from the work of Zajonc in the 1980s to mirror-neuron research today. The essay thus forms an essential prehistory to contemporary neuroscientific research as discussed in chapters 2 and 3.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationScience and Emotions after 1945
Subtitle of host publicationA Transatlantic Perspective
EditorsFrank Biess, Daniel M. Gross
Place of PublicationChicago
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780226126517
ISBN (Print)9780226126340
StatePublished - 2014


  • Affective neuroscience -- History -- 20th century
  • Emotions -- Psychological aspects
  • Psychology -- Germany -- History -- 20th century
  • Psychology -- United States -- History -- 20th century
  • מדעי מוח רגשני -- היסטוריה -- המאה ה-20
  • פסיכולוגיה -- ארצות הברית -- היסטוריה -- המאה ה-20
  • פסיכולוגיה -- גרמניה -- היסטוריה -- המאה ה-20
  • רגשות -- היבטים פסיכולוגיים
  • علم النفس -- ألمانيا -- التاريخ -- القرن ٢٠
  • علم النفس -- الولايات المتّحدة -- التاريخ -- القرن ٢٠


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