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September 1956

Homeostasis and Personality

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1956;76(3):317-324. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1956.02330270089016

Man's intricate integration with his environment is not a haphazard process. His constituent biologic systems are maintained within a narrow range of fluctuation by a self-regulating homeostasis, as so vividly portrayed by Cannon.7 How an organism's behavior is motivated to compensate for deficits resulting from homeostatic failure has been clearly established experimentally by Richter.* Even in the complexities of modern society does homeostasis play a regulating role, according to Cannon.7 Ashby3 remarked that civilization's advantages are the results of the limiting effects of homeostasis on variation, and Emerson11 stressed the homeostatic social regulation of the diverse aspects of our civilization, such as architecture, agriculture, economics, and public health.

The complex experimental data on organism homeostasis have been interpreted by Hoagland,18 by Hill,17 and particularly by von Bertalanffy,37 in the light of our understanding of inorganic thermodynamic processes. This has given rise to the

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