The social sciences include psychology, sociology and anthropology. These human sciences also intersect with human biology and ecology.
Psychology is the study of human behavior and this necessitates the study of mind, emotions, thought and perception. Behavioral psychology involves the observation of observable events such as a precise stimulus, response and reinforcement chain. Cognitive psychology, however, involves the study of thinking and perceiving processes within the individual mind.
Humanistic psychology looks at the extent to which basic human needs are being met or being denied. Psychopathology then, is defined by Dr Abraham H. Maslow, PhD (1954) as threat to, and deficiencies in gratification of, these basic human needs such as safety and security, love and belongingness, self esteem, self actualization, etc.
Sociology is the study of social structure and how it determines social behavior in modern societies. Aspects of social structure include values, norms, roles and institutions. Examples of social institutions include the nuclear family, religious groups, occupational and political groups and the legal structures within which they operate.
Anthropology draws upon all of the above yet it has its unique domain of the study of culture. Bougainville, New Guinea has been the location of various anthropological studies because of its relative isolation from the rest of the world. Tribal communities could be studied there in their pure form. Discoveries include the universal features of the human mind, logical oppositions of thought, categories of behavior and the structure of myth, legend and spirituality. Cultures can be organized along patrilineal lines or matrilineal lines; i.e., father or mother’s lineage. Cultural relativity is one anthropological discovery that can be applied universally to all societies in all centuries. Archeology works to supply physical evidence for patterns of organized living, often thousands of years ago.
Social Science Editor