What Are Methods of Studying Human Behavior?

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There are several methods used in studying human behavior, such as observation, experiments, correlation studies, surveys, case studies and testing. Human behaviors manifest in many ways and are determined by culture, emotions, attitudes, values, ethics, coercion, persuasion and genetics. Upon completion of study, conclusions are determined. The study of human behavior enables psychologists and other social scientists to suggest explanations for human behavior.

Naturalistic observation is used to study both human and animal behavior in their respective natural settings. This observation involves extracting information about where the organisms live, their diet and mating habits, all of which provides crucial information when making assumptions about their survival. Case studies are the most common method of studying human behavior. These focus on gathering information on a select few individuals.

The science of self is another method of studying human behavior. This involves asking a large number of people to fill out questionnaires designed to provide information on specific elements of their behavior changes. Repeated surveys over a long period of time help track shifts in public debates or actual behavior. Correlations are used in making future predictions based on the current trends, such as success of a student in school, effectiveness as a parent or the likelihood of developing a mental disorder. In studying human behavior, psychologists also use experiments to determine the relationship of variables by systematically altering one and observing the outcome of such variation.