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Career in Behavioural science

What is behavioural science?

Behavioural Science is a discipline that lets you get into these following areas of learning:

  • Psychology is an applied and academic study of how people think and behave in terms of thought process, emotional response and a gamut of behavioural issues. Many people who work in Psychology deal with mental health and coping issues that people go through daily. Even the quest for a better life is something that has to do with psychology. To become a practicing psychologist, you almost always need to have a Doctor of Psychology or Ph.D. All states traditionally require psychologists who see patients to have a license or certification.

  • Sociology studies society and how individuals who make up the society influences attitudes, responses and opportunities. Sociologists profile people according to class, age, sex, religion and ethnicity. Also included are institutional leaning such as politics, economics, religion and affiliations. A Master’s Degree or a Ph.D. in sociology is usually necessary, but majoring in behavioural sciences at a university can provide a solid educational beginning.

  • Anthropology is an exciting branch of Behavioural Science that details the biological and socio-cultural history of mankind. If you are into this kind of exploration, go into archaeology, bioanthropology, linguistics and socio-cultural anthropology. There are many interesting Behavioural Science projects in this branch of the field. A Bachelor’s degree in the behavioural sciences can be a strong starting point to continue on to a master’s degree or Ph.D. in anthropology.

  • Social Networks study how groups, organizations and communities are formed. Perhaps one of the more prevalent social networks that people can easily grasp in the ones they use on a daily basis like Face book, Twitter, Multiply and other popular social media that millions of people use to communicate.

  • Ethnology: A zoological science, ethnologists study animal behaviour, specifically instinctual rather than learned behaviour.Ethnology, as a part of behavioural science, instead looks at instinctual behaviour in humans.

  • Neuromarketing: This new field uses neuroscience to study consumer behaviour, but it’s extremely small in the private sector at this time.

  • Public-Opinion Research: Behavioural science can better explain influences on public opinion and how it forms.

  • Health Education/Public Health: Behavioural science comes into play here in helping people make healthier choices for themselves. This can often involve community-wide education initiatives on topics as diverse disease prevention, nutrition, drugs and alcohol abuse, or even the quality of life for senior citizens.

Who is behavioural scientist?

a behavioural scientist is any individual who is well versed in psychometric methods and the social sciences, and who uses this expertise and interest to examine the observable actions of living beings. Many work to broaden the scientific understanding of human (and animal) behaviour, and many work hands-on to address social or individual problems.

What does a behavioural scientist do?

Combining knowledge of sociology, psychology and anthropology with strong observation, research, and communication skills, a behavioural scientist works with communities and individuals examining behaviour and decision-making. In addition, some even specialize in animal behaviour and work in natural environments to study the habits and learned behaviours of other species.

Duties and responsibilities of a behavioural scientist

As a behavioural scientist, you will plan and conduct research using scientific qualitative and quantitative methods. You may be tasked with directing statisticians and data collectors to conduct research and compile findings. Following research, you will analyze data and publish reports, as well as recommend strategic policy changes or interventions for organizations, communities or businesses. For social scientists involved with academic research, a strong emphasis is placed on publishing reports in scientific journals.

Social scientists work in applied research, where analysis and findings may influence public policy or help develop community or organizational interventions. In your work, you will utilize knowledge of group behaviour dynamics, psychological personality theory as well as cultural and socio-economic factors. Many social scientists collaborate with researchers in other academic disciplines, such as psychology or anthropology, to form a well-rounded approach to social concerns.

Types of behavioural sciences

Behavioural science is split into two broad categories: that of neural-decision sciences and the social-communication sciences. The decision sciences deal with how our decisions and our anatomy interact with each other. How we decide what action to take in order to survive in a social environment. The communication sciences on the other hand analyze the impact of language and communication on our society, relationships and our bodies. If you choose to focus on communication, you will go deeper into anthropology, organizational behaviour, organizational studies, sociology and social networks.

What is a workplace for them like?

Those who are working in behavioural sciences often work in their office or lab or research centres. They may also visit places for observation for their studies. They may have meetings with their partners and other people who are involved in their research studies.

How to become a behavioural scientist?

To enter into a career in behavioural science, you need to complete either a bachelor course in behavioural science field or a bachelor of psychology. Courses in social work, anthropology, criminology and counselling can also open doors into this field. As behavioural science is taught in a broader sense in different courses, decide on the specific career field you want to work in, before choosing the specialised course. Taking up internships along with your degree will give you better prospects for getting a good job. Researchers in this field have a multidisciplinary educational background.

Skills required to be a good behavioural scientist

Human nature is dynamic and unpredictable but a behavioural scientist must adapt and understand the dynamic changes in the society; be it individual, group or social changes. Conversation is very important for a behavioural scientist in order to understand his subjects and thus require superior interpersonal communication skills. While studying organizations, behavioural scientists must understand the professional ethics of the organization on one hand while maintaining the integrity of the profession (behavioural science) on the other hand. Data analysis is yet another important function in behavioural science. Behavioural scientists need to analyze the data through advanced computer applications to test the data and convert it into theories. A behavioural scientist must contain good presentation and writing skills to facilitate their findings and research to lay person or a vast audience lacking behavioural science knowledge. Human behaviour is dynamic and thus creating a fixed theory for a behavioural scientist is not possible thus in order to create a theory he has to be on field, critically evaluate the problems and solve them, as the problems change the theory also changes from time to time. While creating the theories a behavioural scientist must compare his research with other behavioural scientist in order to get an effective theory.

Personality suited for behavioural sciences

A genuine interest in human or animal behaviour is essential for a rewarding career in the field. Behaviour Scientists must have patience, strong problem-solving and mediation skills and an eye for detail as they have to study their subjects on a long-term basis. They must also have critical thinking skills, interpersonal communication skills, data analyzing ability and Project management skills. A behavioural scientist must be good at presenting and writing their findings.

Job prospects and career options

Earlier, behavioural scientists were limited to careers as social workers or academics. Today situation has changed, behavioural scientists can choose from a plethora of thriving careers. Options for them include that of Anthropologist, Occupational therapists, Criminologist, Mental health councillors, Ethologists, Criminal Profiler, Psychologist, Sociologist, Corporate Coach, Economic Analyst, Market Researcher, Neuro-marketing and Health Education/Public Health.

Anthropologists study the physical, social, cultural development and behaviour of human beings. Criminologists study the root cause of crime by examining the factors like economics, demo-graphics and geography thus enabling the prevention in crime rate. Criminal profilers excel at solving challenging cases by developing clear profiles of criminals when leads are scarce. Ethology, as a part of behavioural science, instead looks at instinctual behaviour in humans. Ethologists study animal or human behaviour, specifically instinctual rather than learned behaviour. Psychologists study human behaviour. Sociologists look at society and social behaviour. Sociology examines groups and organizations, different cultures, and social institutions. Economic analyst help understanding consumer’s decision-making process thus enabling businessman to market their product and government to apply pressure on markets. A market researcher like economic analyst understands the costumers analyzing process before buying a product. Neuromarketing is a new field that uses neuroscience to study consumer behaviour. Role of behavioural scientists in health education or public health department is to enable better health choice for people. This involve community-wide education initiatives on topics as diverse disease prevention, nutrition, drugs and alcohol abuse, or even the quality of life for senior citizens. Individuals with degrees related to behavioural science can work in law enforcement, social services, teaching, counselling and human resources. They may be employed by government agencies, private businesses or non-profit organisations.


Behavioural scientists receive very good remuneration. Those employed in public sector, research institutions and departments have pay packages as per the terms and conditions of the government. Those are in international developmental agencies have even higher remuneration, perks and other benefits. Corporate houses and industries offer various fringe benefits other than salaries and allowance. Professors and teachers in academic institutions also have good pay packages.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Difference between Behavioural Sciences and Social Sciences?

The term behavioural science is often confused with the term social sciences. Though these two broad areas are inter-related and study systematic processes of behaviour, they differ on their level of scientific analysis of various dimensions of behaviour. 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 and social neuroscience, among others. 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, history, counselling, public health, anthropology, and political science.

Does it have a good future in India?

Yes Definitely, with so many career options it provides a lot of scope in the country.

Should I take up a career in behavioural science?

If you have genuine interest and curiosity of the human behaviour and society, then yes!

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