Difference Between Behavioral Science & Social Science

Behavioral Science vs Social Science

Behavioral science and social science are distinct fields that differ in terms of their scope, subject matters, and methodologies. Despite some overlap between the two, they are not the same and should not be used interchangeably. Behavioral science focuses on the behavior of humans and animals, while social science is concerned with human beings in a social context, exploring social processes, organizations, and institutions. It is worth noting that some disciplines, such as sociology and anthropology, can be categorized under both behavioral and social sciences due to their overlapping nature.

What is Behavioral Science?

Behavioral sciences can be defined as the disciplines that study the behavior of humans and animals, including decision-making and communication among individuals. Examples of behavioral sciences include psychology, behavioral genetics, and cognitive science. The field is divided into two categories: decision sciences and social communication sciences. The distinction between behavioral sciences and social sciences stems not only from their subject matter but also from their methodology. Behavioral scientists employ more experimental methods than social scientists and conduct research in both natural and controlled settings. These sciences aim to achieve high empiricism, unlike social sciences.

What is Social Science?

Social science can be defined as a discipline that studies human behavior in various social contexts. There are numerous social sciences, each focusing on a specific area of human life. Examples include political science, sociology, economics, demography, geography, and history. In social sciences, research cannot be conducted in restricted, controlled settings, as it would affect the quality of data. Furthermore, experimental methods are rarely used in social sciences. Social sciences explore social organizations, institutions, and similar social and cultural contexts and their different dynamics. They have a lower level of empiricism compared to behavioral sciences due to their focus on areas such as attitudes and opinions, which cannot be quantified. As a result, social sciences employ a variety of methods and techniques, including interviews, observations, and surveys.

Key Takeaways

  • Behavioral science focuses on the behavior of humans and animals, while social sciences focus on human beings in a social context.
  • Behavioral sciences are more experimental in nature, while social sciences have a more vague experimental quality.
  • Behavioral sciences have a high level of empiricism, whereas social sciences have a lower level of empiricism.
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


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