What are the social sciences?

The Social Sciences "have a major and explicit focus on the understanding of behavioral or social processes...research in the behavioral and social sciences is designed to further our understanding of behavioral and social functioning...Research on behavioral and social processes involves the study of human or animal functioning at the level of the individual, small group, institution, organization, or community."

"At higher levels of aggregation, it includes the study of social variables such as the structure and dynamics of small groups (e.g. couples, families, work groups, etc.); institutions and organizations (e.g. schools, religious organizations, etc.); communities (defined by geography or common interest); and larger demographic, political, economic, and cultural systems...This research also includes the study of environmental factors such as climate, noise, environmental hazards, and residential environments and their effects on behavioral and social functioning."
Taken from NIH document "A Definition of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research for the National Institutes of Health"

Environmental Psychology

Environmental psychology deals with the interaction of people and their physical settings - human-made or natural. It applies the methods and models of the behavioral sciences to problems of environmental design - urban planning, architecture, landscape architecture, interior design. Through the lens of environmental psychology we can view urban issues and look for urban solutions from the level of human behavior and perception. (For a more extensive definition see: "Environmental Psychology", De Young, R. (1999) Environmental Psychology. In D. E. Alexander and R. W. Fairbridge [Eds.] Encyclopedia of Environmental Science. Hingham, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~rdeyoung/envtpsych.html)

Social Sciences Reading List