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Human Behavior in Military Contexts
tools, and brain imaging technologies—have allowed for the noninvasive collection, cleaning, storage, and sophisticated analysis of behavioral neurophysiological data at both central and peripheral levels. Biopsychosocial approaches and models of affect, motivation, and cognition have become firmly established in scientific theory.
These advances have initiated a paradigm shift, integrating behavioral and neurophysiological research approaches to the understanding of human behavior. The advantages of biopsychosocial approaches to classic issues in the behavioral, biological, and biomedical sciences are not only important in terms of advancement in theory and basic understanding of the human condition, but also hold great promise for applications to military, as well as civilian, work in such areas as leadership, assessment of human performance, training, and health. This research is taking advantage of new technologies that increase the value and scope of empirical assessments of basic processes. Sophisticated tools are helping behavioral scientists, such as cognitive and social psychologists, to investigate empirically the implicit (fast, automatic) processes that underlie human behavior, such as social perception, evaluation, and decision making. More broadly, these tools are leading to the development of more powerful, comprehensive, and integrated theories that account for the interaction among implicit and explicit (effortful, deliberate) processes in ways that were not possible even as recently as a decade or two ago.
Importantly, many neurophysiological technologies make possible online, continuous, and covert assessments that provide rich databases for theoretical analyses. These technologies do not necessarily constrain or interfere with the thoughts and, often, even the overt behaviors of research participants. They include technologies that permit advanced noninvasive measurement of autonomic processes (e.g., impedance cardiography, continuous blood pressure monitoring) that are associated with potentially threatening performance situations; somatic assessments (e.g., facial electromyography and facial video tracking) that are associated with the experience and expression of affect and emotion; endocrine analyses (e.g., cortisol and cytokines assays) that are associated with stress-related health problems; and measures of brain electrophysiology (e.g., electroencephalography) and imaging (e.g., functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI] and positron emission tomography [PET]) that are associated with the full spectrum of psychological processes (e.g., sensation, perception, memory, affect, and motor behaviors). Among the most practical of these techniques are those that do not interfere with or constrain behaviors, especially those related to individual and group performance, social interactions, and so on, topics particularly relevant to military needs. In combination with each other and with traditional techniques, such as self-report and behavioral observation, advanced neurophysiological and behavioral technologies make possible the