Prior State, Transition Reactions, and the Expression of Emotion

  • Mark D. Starr
Part of the Genesis of Behavior book series (GOBE, volume 1)


The problem of how best to conceptualize and describe the emotional reactions observed in infancy and early childhood appears recurrently in both this volume and in the earlier volume on the development of fear (Lewis & Rosenblum, 1974). That a generally accepted solution to this problem has not yet been found is indicated both by the diversity of approaches taken to the study of emotion and by the fact that most discussions of emotion (including the present one) begin with an attempt to clarify the conceptual framework to which they relate. Part of the difficulty in defining emotion is that to speak of “emotional behavior” implies that there exists a category of “nonemotional behavior” as well. However, as Duffy (1941) argued long ago, “there is no evidence for the existence of a special condition called emotion which follows different principles of action from the other conditions of the organism” (p. 292). The current work on the inseparability of cognition and affect, the affective nature of consciousness, and the relation between emotional development and the concept of self both lend support to this statement and attest to the inseparability of emotion from other modes of psychological function.


Emotional Response Emotional Expression Stimulus Event Prior State Transition Reaction 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark D. Starr
    • 1
  1. 1.Educational Testing ServicePrincetonUSA

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