What Are the Social and Behavioral Sciences?

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What Are the Social and Behavioral Sciences?

Most people have heard the terms social sciences and behavioral sciences.  At first the two terms seem like they’d mean the same things but they do not.  Social and behavioral sciences are interrelated but they each serve a very different purpose.  Both disciplines certainly play a critical role in our world and understanding how it all links together through human and animal interaction.  Let’s go through the general definitions, specific details, and career opportunities that go with each science.  After reviewing those things you will have a clear understanding of what social and behavior sciences are and the role they play in the world.


Social sciencesare the science of studying human society and individual relationships within it.  There are combinations of scholarly and scientific disciplines that are combined within the field of study.

Behavior sciencesare considered a scientific discipline.  Studies like sociology, anthropology, and psychology are used.  The actions and reactions of humans and/or animals are studied.  They use techniques that are both experimental and observational.

Specific details:

Social sciences are studied through many different methods.  One of the methods is called the Positivist method.  This method uses a structure similar to that used for natural scientists and it is a tool for understanding society.  Interpretivist is another method of study that uses social critique or symbolic interpretation to draw findings and conclusions from.  It typically treats science in a broader sense and is not as focused.  There are also more inclusive/eclectic types of methods involved with social studies.  These are customized solutions that help in studying specific cases and findings.

Behavioral sciencesare broken down into two main categories.  They are neural sciences (also known as decision sciences) and social sciences (also known as communication sciences).  Scientists who focus on the decision sciences are involved with disciplines that primarily deal with the decision processes and individual functions that are used for the survival of an organism in a social setting.  Communication sciences are inclusive to those fields that study communication, communication strategies that are used by organisms and the dynamics that are created between the organism and its environment.

Career opportunities:

Social sciences: There are many rewarding and exciting career opportunities for those who wish to work in the social sciences field.  They all involve understanding research, human nature, and helping people.  Some of the most commonly sought after positions for people in social sciences are: archeology, anthropology, economics and international development, linguistics and language skills, ministry and religion, psychology and counseling, work in social services.

Behavioral sciences:  Some of the most unique opportunities to understand how man and animal operate happen with careers in the behavior sciences.  Here are some of the more popular career opportunities that somebody with an interest in the behavior sciences may consider:  anthropology, ethology, be a part of the FBI Behavioral Science Unit, psychology, sociology, neuromarketing, public opinion research, health education and public health. 

The above information should have helped you solve your question, “What are the social and behavior sciences?”  They are both very important sciences that play a vital role in society.  We definitely need both to develop a well rounded, detailed perspective of our world and how it works with the organisms and mechanisms in it.  Through the study, research, and help that professionals in both these sciences give it becomes easier to understand human nature and everything that affects it.  Depending on where your areas of interest are you can find amazing options that will let you work directly with individuals or participate in conducting research, experimentation, and other scientific disciplines to obtain information that helps improve our world.

Schools OfferingBehavioral Science Courses: