Behavioral sciences explore the cognitive processes within organisms and the behavioral interactions between organisms in the natural world. It involves the systematic analysis and investigation of human and animal behavior through naturalistic observation, controlled scientific experimentation and mathematical modeling. It attempts to accomplish legitimate, objective conclusions through rigorous formulations and observation.Klemke, E. D., Hollinger, R., and Kline, A. D., (1980), Introduction to the book in 'Introductory Readings in the Philosophy of Science': Buffalo, New York, Prometheus Books p 11-12 Examples of behavioral sciences include psychology, psychobiology, anthropology, and cognitive science. Generally, behavior science deals primarily with human action and often seeks to generalize about human behavior as it relates to society.


Behavioral sciences include two broad categories: neural — ''Information sciences'' and social — ''Relational sciences''. Information processing sciences deal with information processing of stimuli from the social environment by cognitive entities in order to engage in decision making, social judgment and social perception for individual functioning and survival of organism in a social environment. These include psychology, cognitive science, behavior analysis, psychobiology, neural networks, social cognition, social psychology, semantic networks, ethology, and social neuroscience. On the other hand, Relational sciences deal with relationships, interaction, communication networks, associations and relational strategies or dynamics between organisms or cognitive entities in a social system. These include fields like sociological social psychology, social networks, dynamic network analysis, agent-based model, behavior analysis, and microsimulation.


Insights from several pure disciplines across behavioral sciences are explored by various applied disciplines and practiced in the context of everyday life and business. These applied disciplines of behavioral science include: organizational behavior, operations research, consumer behavior and media psychology. Consumer Behavior is the study of the decision making process consumers make when purchasing goods or services. It studies the way consumers recognize problems and discovery solutions. Behavioral Science is applied in this study by examining the patterns consumers make when making purchases, the factors that influenced that decision, and how to take advantage of these patterns. Organizational Behavior is the application of Behavioral Science in a business setting. It studies what motivates employees, how to make them work more effectively, what influences this behavior, and how to use these patterns in order to achieve the company's goals. Managers often use organizational behavior to better lead their employees.

Differentiation from social sciences

The terms ''behavioral sciences'' and ''social sciences'' are often used interchangeably. Though these two broad areas are interrelated and study systematic processes of behavior, they differ on their level of scientific analysis of various dimensions of behavior. Behavioural sciences abstract empirical data to investigate the decision processes and communication strategies within and between organisms in a social system. This involves fields like psychology, social neuroscience, ethology, and cognitive science. In contrast, social sciences provide a perceptive framework to study the processes of a social system through impacts of social organization on structural adjustment of the individual and of groups. They typically include fields like sociology, economics, public health, anthropology, demography and political science. Many subfields of these disciplines cross the boundaries between behavioral and social sciences. For example, political psychology and behavioral economics use behavioral approaches, despite the predominant focus on systemic and institutional factors in the broader fields of political science and economics.


Behavioral Science began being studied predominately in the early 1900s. One of the pioneers of the study is John B Watson. He began teaching as a professor of psychology at Johns Hopkins University in 1908. In 1915 he served as the president of the American Psychologist Association (APA). Some of his methods in studying behavioral science have been controversial. One of these instances was the "Little Albert" experiment. This experiment was to condition a child to fear a white rat. The fear also translated to other fury white things. This was done by associating the objects with a loud clanging noise. A point that drew controversy is that the child was never de-conditioned.

See also

* Behaviour ** Human behavior * List of academic disciplines * Science ** Fields of science *** Natural sciences *** Social sciences ** History of science ** History of technology


Selected bibliography

* George Devereux: ''From anxiety to method in the behavioral sciences'', The Hague, Paris. Mouton & Co, 1967 * * E.D. Klemke, R. Hollinger & A.D. Kline, (eds.) (1980). ''Introductory Readings in the Philosophy of Science''. Prometheus Books, New York. * Neil J. Smelser & Paul B. Baltes, eds. (2001). ''International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences'', 26 v. Oxford: Elsevier.

External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Behavioral Sciences Category:Cognitive science