Energetics and Human Information Processing

  • G. Robert J. Hockey
  • Anthony W. K. Gaillard
  • Michael G. H. Coles

Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASID, volume 31)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XV
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. G. Robert J. Hockey, Michael G. H. Coles, Anthony W. K. Gaillard
      Pages 3-21
    3. Michael I. Posner, Mary Klevjord Rothbart
      Pages 23-40
  3. Biological Foundations of Energetics

  4. Stress, Effort and Task Performance

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 137-137
    2. David M. Warburton
      Pages 217-232
    3. M. L. Heemstra
      Pages 233-242
    4. P. A. Hancock
      Pages 243-251
  5. Individual Differences, Adaptation and Coping

  6. The Place of Energetics in Information Processing Theory

  7. Back Matter
    Pages 435-450

About this book


The central theme of this book is the role of energetical factors in the regulation of human information processing activity. This is a restatement of one of the classic problems of psychology - that of acc­ ounting for motivational or intensive aspects of behaviour, as opposed to structural or directional aspects. The term "energetics" was first used in the 1930's by Freeman, Duffy and others, following Cannon's energy mobilization view of emotion and motivation. The original concept had a limited life, probably because of its unnecessary focus on relativ­ ely peripheral processes, but it provided the foundations for the con­ cepts of "arousal" and "activation" which became the popular motivational constructs of the 1950's and 1960's. Now, these too are found wanting. The original assumptions of a unitary, non-specific process based on activation of the brain stem reticular formation have been shown to be misleading. Current work in neurobiology has demonstrated evidence of discrete neurotransmitter systems having quite specific information processing functions, and central roles in the regulation of behaviour. Even the venerable curvilinear relationship between motivation and per­ formance (the Yerkes-Dodson law) has been shown to be, at best, an unhelpful oversimplification. On a different front psychophysiologists have found complex patterns in the response of different bodily systems to external stressors and to task demands.


Emotion attention behavior brain cognition psychophysiology stress management

Editors and affiliations

  • G. Robert J. Hockey
    • 1
  • Anthony W. K. Gaillard
    • 2
  • Michael G. H. Coles
    • 3
  1. 1.Medical Research Council (MRC)/ESRC Social and Applied Psychology Unit, Dept of PsychologyUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.Institute for Perception TNOSoesterbergThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Cognitive Psychophysiology Laboratory Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1986
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-94-010-8479-6
  • Online ISBN 978-94-009-4448-0
  • Series Print ISSN 0258-123X
  • Buy this book on publisher's site