When atoms (ions) are excited anisotropically, polarized excited atoms are produced and the radiation emitted by these atoms is polarized. From the standpoint of plasma spectroscopy research, we review the existing data for various atomic processes that are related to the polarization phenomena. These processes are: electron impact excitation, excitation by atomic and ionic collisions, photoexcitation, radiative recombination and bremsstrahlung. Collisional and radiative relaxation processes of atomic polarization follow. Other topics included are: electric-field measurement, self alignment, Lyman doublet intensity ratio, and magnetic-field measurement of the solar prominence. (author).