The affect of experiment. The turn to emotions in Anglo-American physiology, 1900-1940.

O. E. Dror*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


The author argues that during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Anglo-American physiologists discovered that the emotional experiences of their laboratory animals influenced their experiments. Asserting that previous generations had ignored the affective dimension of experimentation, these physiologists developed practices for recording, reporting, managing, and controlling the emotions of laboratory animals during physiological encounters. The author also argues that emotion became a powerful conceptual, rhetorical, political, and practical tool of the modern laboratory and that physiologists invoked emotion in order to contain and interpret numerous physiological facts and artifacts, promulgate alternative forms of knowledge-making, privilege new knowledge claims, and diffuse mounting political pressures. The study of the affect of experiment aims to contribute to the history of experimentation, knowledge, and emotion.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)205-237
Number of pages33
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1999
Externally publishedYes


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