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  1. Roger E. Enfield

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0416

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Enfield, R. E. 2010. Homeostasis. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. West Central Georgia Regional Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Complex organisms must maintain relatively stable internal environments to survive and move freely through the changing and often adverse conditions that surround them. “Homeostasis” is the name that was given to this constancy in 1926 by Walter B. Cannon, an American psychologist. Through his work on homeostasis, Cannon created a concept that has become a milestone in the history of ideas. It was the culmination of an approach begun some six decades earlier with the work of Claude Bernard, the French physiologist who is considered to have established the foundations of scientific physiology. Bernard concluded that organisms have evolved toward a greater independence from the changing environment by developing, from the blood of bodily fluids, an internal environment that is held stable by its own adjustments (Robin, 1979). Cannon demonstrated that the activities of homeostasis, often simple if each is viewed in isolation, are nevertheless orchestrated by remarkably complex regulatory processes involving the organism across physiological systems and levels of functioning.


  • adaptation;
  • general adaptation syndrome;
  • general symptoms