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Grant Bollmer
North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC 27695-7003)
Measurement and Technological Inscription in the Psychology of Emotions, 1850 to the Present

Completion of a book on the history of technologies used to measure human emotions.

This project examines the history of emotions in American psychology through particular technologies used in empirical, laboratory research. It argues that psychological definitions of emotion have long been directly modified by the physical qualities of these laboratory technologies, following how, from 1850 to the present, psychological research on the emotions has confused the biology of an emotion with the physical qualities of tools psychologists use to measure emotion. The implications of this project demonstrate how “emotion” and “affect” have long been linked with how various technologies inscribe physiological signs of the human body, converting the body into data, with implications for contemporary technologies used in digital media--such as machine vision used in social media, surveillance, and security technologies--to identify internal emotions.

Project fields:
History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine; Media Studies

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2020 – 7/31/2020