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Have you ever asked yourself; “why do people do what they do?” Well the different areas of social sciences and behavioral sciences make up the study that attempts to answer this all important question. This study of the behavior of animals and in particular humans, is one that has fascinated scholars for many centuries.
Finding an answer to the question; “what is social science?” and more importantly a precise and working definition of social science is not as straightforward as it may seem. This is probably due to the fact that the various areas of social sciences themselves draw from many different fields of study.
A definition of social science is that it is a branch of science that studies the customs of human society and the way in which that society functions. Of particular interest is the study of the relationships between the people that make up that society as well as the behavior of these individuals within that society.
The disciplines of social sciences draw from a variety of fields of study and although these different areas of social sciences vary far and wide, they all aim to understand and explain human society and behavior. This study of how groups of people behave is usually done with the aim of being able able to predict how they will behave in the future.
social science involves any discipline or branch
of science that explores the social and cultural
aspects of human behavior
The main branches of social science usually cover a variety of sub-disciplines and this is perhaps the reason why a concise definition of social science is hard to come by. In their study of human society and behavior however, these various disciplines of social sciences collectively make up what is known as social science.
You will notice that you can click on the descriptions below just in case you would like a more detailed explanation of the various disciplines of social sciences. A PDF file will open up for easy viewing and you can also print out the descriptions for future your reference.
The main areas of social sciences include:
Behavioral science is often thought to make up one of the areas of social sciences. As it's name suggests it also deals with behavior, however whereas social science deals mainly with human behavior and society, behavioral science is a more general field covering the study of behavior whether it be in humans or other animals.
Behavioral science is also a field of science that draws from many different areas of study such as sociology, anthropology and psychology in which the main focus is to understand and explain behavior in animals.
Of particular interest of course is human behavior. This study into behavior is also usually carried out through observational
or experimental methods.
behavioral science deals mainly with behavior
in animals (humans included) whereas social
science deals mainly with behavior in humans
The Intel science fair category that covers behavioral science and the various disciplines of social sciences is the behavioral and social science category. Collectively, these branches of social science aim to explore why it is that humans and animals do they do and how they interact with each other and their environment.
The behavioral and social science category covers four particular areas of study. These include clinical development & psychology, cognitive psychology, physiological psychology and sociology.
If your science fair is an Intel affiliated science fair, you might very well find that the science fair categories that have been set for your competition have drawn from the categories used in the Intel science fair.
Clinical and Developmental Psychology: The clinical psychology science fair subcategory focuses on the study of emotional or behavioral disorders with the aim of being able to develop treatments for them. Developmental psychology on the other hand, is concerned with the study of how behavior in an individual progresses and changes as they mature from birth until death.
Cognitive and Neuro-Psychology: Cognitive psychology studies the mental processes that are responsible for behavior in an individual. The main areas covered includes the process by which an individual thinks, decides, reasons, and also to some extent the factors involved in human emotion and motivation.
Neuro-psychology studies the relationship between the nervous system, especially the brain and mental functions such as language, memory, and perception.
Physiological Psychology: This science fair category covers the study of the biological and physiological factors that influence behavior and the way in which they influence that behavior.
Sociology: This science fair category is concerned with the study of the social behavior of people. The main areas of interest here are the study of the origins, organization,
customs, and development of human society.
If you are considering exploring social and behavioral science fair projects you will definitely not have any problems coming up with great ideas in these fascinating areas of social sciences.
As behavioral science fair projects ideas for example, you might explore they way in a colony of ants behaves in collectively gathering food or even the way in which the queen and influences the drones (male ants) of the colony. There are endless possibilities for science fair topics in the different areas of social sciences.
Zumpe, Doris, and Richard P. Michael. Notes on the Elements of Behavioral Science. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum, 2001. Print.
Gove, Philip Babcock. Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged: a Meriam-Webster. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1971. Print.
Quinn, Gene R. Deja Review: Behavioral Science. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2010. Print.
Humphris, Gerry, and Margaret S. Ling. Behavioural Sciences for Dentistry. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2003. Print.
Encyclopaedia Brittanica: Or, a Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, Compiled upon a New Plan; in Which the Different Sciences and Arts Are Digested into Distinct Treatises or Syustems ; and ... Edinburgh: Printed for A. Bell and C. Macfarquhar, 1771. Print.