Behavioral science – lectures (word & pdf)
Behavioral science or behaviour refers to the actions of a system or organism, usually in relation to its environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the physical environment. It is the response of the system or organism to various stimuli or inputs, whether internal or external, conscious or subconscious, overt or covert, and voluntary or involuntary.
In humans, behavior is believed to be controlled primarily by the endocrine system and the nervous system. It is most commonly believed that complexity in the behavior of an organism is correlated to the complexity of its nervous system. Generally, organisms with more complex nervous systems have a greater capacity to learn new responses and thus adjust their behavior.
Behaviors can be either innate or learned. However, current research in the Human Microbiome Project points towards a possibility that human behavior may be controlled by the composition of the microbe population within a human body.
More generally, behavior can be regarded as any action of an organism that changes its relationship to its environment. Behavior provides outputs from the organism to the environment.
Human behavior (and that of other organisms and mechanisms) can be common, unusual, acceptable, or unacceptable. Humans evaluate the acceptability of behavior using social norms and regulate behavior by means of social control.
Human behavior is the population of behaviors exhibited by humans and influenced by culture, attitudes, emotions, values, ethics, authority, rapport, hypnosis, persuasion, coercion and/or genetics.
The behavior of people (and other organisms or even mechanisms) falls within a range with some behavior being common, some unusual, some acceptable, and some outside acceptable limits. In sociology, behavior is considered as having social behavior, which is more advanced action, as social behavior is behavior specifically directed at other people. The acceptability of behavior is evaluated relative to social norms and regulated by various means of social control.
The behavior of people is studied by the academic disciplines of psychiatry, psychology, social work, sociology, economics, and anthropology.
Behavior is a difficult subject matter, not because it is inaccessible, but because it is extremely complex. Since it is a process, rather than a thing, it cannot easily be held still for observation. It is changing, fluid, and evanescent, and for this reason it makes great technical demands upon the ingenuity and energy of the scientist. But there is nothing essentially insoluble about the problems which arise from this fact.
Several kinds of statements about behavior are commonly made. When we tell an anecdote or pass along a bit of gossip, we report a single event—what someone did upon such and such an occasion: “She slammed the door and walked off without a word.” Our report is a small bit of history.
History itself is often nothing more than similar reporting on a broad scale. The biographer often confines himself to a series of episodes in the life of his subject. The case history, which occupies an important place in several fields of psychology, is a kind of biography which is also concerned mainly with what a particular person did at particular times and places: “When she was eleven, Mary went to live with her maiden aunt in Winchester.” Novels and short stories may be thought of as veiled biography or history, since the ingredients of even a highly fanciful work of fiction are somehow or other taken from life.
The narrative reporting of the behavior of people at particular times and places is also part of the sciences of archeology, ethnology, sociology, and anthropology. These accounts have their uses. They broaden the experience of those who have not had firsthand access to similar data. But they are only the beginnings of a science. No matter how accurate or quantitative it may be, the report of the single case is only a preliminary step.
The next step is the discovery of some sort of uniformity. When we tell an anecdote to support an argument, or report a case history to exemplify a principle, we imply a general rule, no matter how vaguely it may be expressed. The historian is seldom content with mere narration. He reports his facts to support a theory of cycles, trends, or patterns of history. In doing so he passes from the single’ instance to the rule.
When a biographer traces the influence of an early event upon a man’s later life, he transcends simple reporting and asserts, no matter how hesitantly, that one thing has caused nother. Fable and allegory are more than storytelling if they imply some kind of uniformity in human behavior, as they generally do.
Our preference for “consistency of character” and our rejection of implausible coincidences in literature show that we expect lawfulness. The “manners” and “customs” of the sociologist and anthropologist report the general behavior of groups of people.
A vague sense of order emerges from any sustained observation of human behavior. Any plausible guess about what a friend will do or say in a given circumstance is a prediction based upon some such uniformity. If a reasonable order was not discoverable, we could scarcely be effective in dealing with human affairs.
The methods of science are designed to clarify these uniformities and make them explicit. The techniques of field study of the anthropologist and social psychologist, the procedures of the psychological clinic, and the controlled experimental methods of the laboratory are all directed toward this end, as are also the mathematical and logical tools of science… Read More in the documents attached in this post ..