What Is Social And Behavioral Sciences?

What Is Social And Behavioral Sciences?-Social and behavioral sciences play very important roles in public health and understanding what behavioral science is and how to apply it in public health is very essential.

Behavioral science tries to understand human behavior and forces that drives it.

Social and behavioral science studies how human behavior impacts personal decisions, thinking and actions in the society.

It builds an understanding of psychological reactions of people and how they respond to environment and stimuli.

A social and behavioral science applies to a unique range of disciplines like sociology, economics and psychology and if you must know, all these disciplines involve the careful analysis of human behavior.

Table Of Content

  • What is behavioral science?
  • What is social science?
  • Difference between behavioral science and social science
  • Disciplines of social and behavioral science
  • Careers in social and behavioral science fields
  • Degrees in social And behavioral science
  • Roles of a behavioral scientist

Without further ado, let’s proceed…

What Is Behavioral Science?

This is a science that studies the behavior of humans and also animals. It includes decision making and communication among individuals. It is the science that explores the cognitive processes among organisms and how they interact in the natural world.

Behavioral science involves the systematic analysis of human and animal behavior through controlled scientific experiment, natural observation and mathematical modeling.

It involves discipline like behavioral genetics, psychology and cognitive science.

What Is Social Science?

This is a science that studies human behavior in a social context. It involves disciplines that are dedicated to examining the society. Social sciences studies how people interact with each other and how their behavior influences decision making and the world as a whole.

Social science helps to explain how the society works and looking at everything that made the world what it is today.

Taking sociology as an example, it studies human beings as a group instead of a single entity like the behavioral science. So in sociology, attention is on different social institutions like education, family, politics, religion and the economy.

It studies the society as a whole without looking at the individual differences.

Difference Between Social Science And Behavioral Science

These two sciences are quite different although they are always used interchangeably because of some overlap in them. A lot of people over the years have misunderstood the two sciences and tend to place them together but we will be showing you what makes them different.

Let’s look at the differences:

Behavioral Science          Social Science
This focuses on the behavior of human beings and animalsThis focuses on human beings in the social context
This is more experimental in natureThis is studying human beings as a whole
It has a high level of empiricismIt has a low level of empiricism
It concentrates on  the communication and decision related themesIt focuses on larger social systemic themes
It looks at how data affects individual lifestyle and cognitiveIt looks at how data impacts people as a group

Disciplines In Social  And Behavioral Sciences

Some of the disciplines in social and behavioral sciences are:

  • Economics
  • Sociology
  • Social psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Cognitive science


Economics is one of the core social science subjects that study the human behavior to see how it influences decision and also the economy at large. Economics is a social science that revolves around the relationships between individuals and their societies.

It looks at how human beings deal with the problem of scarcity.


This is another core discipline of social science that studies human social relationship and institutions. It tries to study human behavior in respect to family, religion, population, culture and society.

Sociology is concerned with the observation of everyday life of groups, conducting of large-scale surveys, interpreting historical documents, analyzing census data and interviewing participants of groups.

It tends to understand how social processes shape human lives and outcomes.

Social Psychology

This field of social science is a scientific study of how the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, intentions, goals and behavior of individuals are constructed within a social context by the either the actual or imagined interactions with others.

It looks at how human behavior is influenced by other people and conditions under which social behavior and feelings occur.


This is a science that deals with the systematic study of humanity with the aim of understanding the evolutionary origins. It is the study of humanity which looks at the human behavior, cultures, societies, human biology in the past and present.

It tries to study human from a social, biological and cultural perspective.

Cognitive Studies

This is concerned with understanding a person’s behavior by looking at brain development. It tries to study the brain, how people learn, solve problems and make decisions.

It studies intelligence and behavior trying to look at how the nervous systems represents, processes and transforms information.

Careers In Social And Behavioral Sciences Fields

As a professional in social and behavioral science, you develop skills to interact with people as you tend to understand human behavior and how they come up with the actions they take.

There are a lot of career opportunities in the social and behavioral science field and they are:

  • Public health
  • Public safety
  • Public policy
  • Social services
  • Mental health

Degrees In Social And Behavioral Science

You can expand your specialization in social and behavioral science by getting more education and work experience in the field.

Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Science

With a Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science, you will be able to work in different career paths.

You can earn a bachelor’s degree in some relevant fields within the social and behavioral science disciplines like:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology (studying the human mind and mental wellness)
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology (studying human behavior and social roles)
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology (studying the evolution of humanity)
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Physiology (studying the physical functioning of humans)

Master’s Degree in Behavioral Science

You can also decide to further your education and expand your knowledge in the field by getting a master’s degree in any of the disciplines of behavioral science. With a master’s degree, you would get higher paying jobs than those with a bachelor’s degree.

You could earn your master’s degree in disciplines like:

  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Guidance and counseling
  • Special education

Roles Of A Behavioral Scientist In An Organization

Here are some of the things you would be doing as a behavioral scientist:

  • Creating data sets for observed group of people to understand better and forecast behaviors and challenges in the society so that policy makers can be able to come up with effective policies for the society
  • Perform research to understand potential health impacts on the society or population groups and also come up with programs that will help overcome these health challenges.
  • Develop and implement corrective approaches to help people come up with ways to change their behaviors in a positive and long lasting way.

As a behavioral scientist, you could work in the healthcare system, law enforcement, and also the government ministries. You could also work in the educational sectors and also in social work and counseling professions.

Final Note

Understanding human behavior and why people think the way they do opens you up to a lot of career opportunities like we have mentioned in this article. You get to work for the government; marketing firms and other major organizations as you skill will be required to understand the human behavior so as to come up with effective course of actions to follow.

Organizations are looking for employees who are able to forecast the actions of others and apply their skills in human resource exercises and research data analysis.

With your sound background in social and behavioral science, you will be good at critical thinking and problem solving and these skills are very important in any area you find yourself.

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