The multiple drivers of human behavior have long been known. What have been missing are the theoretical paradigm and associated tools to integrate what we know about these drivers into an overarching understanding of human activity.
Currently, most of the data related to understanding human behavior has remained field-specific. The life sciences focus on the biological impacts of humans functioning in physical spaces. The social sciences focus on the organizing principles of groups (rule of law, social hierarchies) and the different
1 Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy under Contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.
values groups place on behaviors (e.g., through culture or religion). The behavioral sciences are concerned with the functioning of the brain and the impact of individual experience on decisionmaking. The tools of science, engineering, and the information and computational sciences generally are not well integrated into these fields. C.P. Snow's 1959 Rede lecture captured this divide between the sciences on one hand and the arts and humanities on the other by the term "the two cultures."
There is little dialogue among practitioners from these different areas. They are separated by barriers of jargon, by conceptual frameworks that are difficult to translate from one field to another, and by traditional institutional compartmentalization of intellectual disciplines. Efforts such as Lewis Mumford's Techniques and Human Development (1989) to socially contextualize technology or E.O. Wilson's more recent and ambitious Concilience (1999) are the exceptions rather than the rule. We thus have no true study of human behavior, for there is no field or discipline with the interest or the tools to integrate data from these different fields. The challenge before us is to devise a way to understand data and information from each field in the context of all others. If genomics can be practiced with an awareness of human physiology, behavior, values, and environment, and, conversely, if information from genomics can be incorporated in a meaningful way into studies in these other fields, we will have made a significant leap in our understanding of human behavior (Figure B.11).
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.