LIGHT AS AN ENVIRONMENTAL CONSTITUENT Each human organism receives a finite number of inputs from the world beyond its integument. These inputs, collectively termed "the environment," include chemical, physical, biological, and informational factors; they presumably exerted the major influence on man's development throughout his evolutionary history, and continue to affect him now. The life of the individual human absolutely requires the presence of some environmental inputs (e.g. dietary protein, atmospheric oxygen, water) and the means of withstanding others (e.g. great extremes in temperature, predators, bacteria in drinking water). Some environmental inputs can be modified by choice; within limits, man can choose which solid and liquid chemicals will enter his gastrointestinal tract and whether on any particular day he will allow himself to be exposed to solar radiation. Other environmental inputs, such as cosmic rays, gravity, the magnetic field of the earth, and certain smells and noises, are, for all practical purposes, inescapable. A few specific physical and chemical inputs, notably sound waves, reflected visible light, and foodstuffs that can be tasted, are able to influence the individual both by virtue of their energy or chemical contents and as sources of information; highly specialized sensory cells transduce these inputs
Annual Review of Physiology – Annual Reviews
Published: Mar 1, 1975
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