Using Big Data to Understand the Human Condition

There is ever-increasing evidence that from early in life our biology, the events we encounter, and the choices we make leave deep imprints on our minds and bodies that impact our future well-being, health, longevity—every aspect of our lives and our communities. Yet our scholarly understanding of this “bio-behavioral complex,” this rich set of feedback effects between biology, behavior, and environment, remains surprisingly incomplete here at the beginning of the era of big data. As scientists working today, there is no escaping the fact that we lack some of the most basic longitudinal data about the bio-behavioral complex in domains ranging from education to finance to health. We have made radical advances ranging from the Human Genome Project, to the revolution in cognitive neuroscience, to the development of predictive psychological […]