Social science

Early censuses and surveys provided demographic data.
Buyers bargain for good prices while sellers put forth their best front in Chichicastenango Market, Guatemala.
A depiction of world's oldest university, the University of Bologna, in Italy
Map of the Earth
A trial at a criminal court, the Old Bailey in London
Ferdinand de Saussure, recognized as the father of modern linguistics
Aristotle asserted that man is a political animal in his Politics.
Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt was the founder of experimental psychology.
Émile Durkheim is considered one of the founding fathers of sociology.

One of the branches of science, devoted to the study of societies and the relationships among individuals within those societies.

- Social science

500 related topics



Scientific study of mind and behavior.

Wilhelm Wundt (seated) with colleagues in his psychological laboratory, the first of its kind.
One of the dogs used in Pavlov's experiment with a surgically implanted cannula to measure salivation, preserved in the Pavlov Museum in Ryazan, Russia
False-color representations of cerebral fiber pathways affected, per Van Horn et al.
Skinner's teaching machine, a mechanical invention to automate the task of programmed instruction
Baddeley's model of working memory
The Müller–Lyer illusion. Psychologists make inferences about mental processes from shared phenomena such as optical illusions.
Group photo 1909 in front of Clark University. Front row: Sigmund Freud, G. Stanley Hall, Carl Jung; back row: Abraham A. Brill, Ernest Jones, Sándor Ferenczi.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow in 1943 posited that humans have a hierarchy of needs, and it makes sense to fulfill the basic needs first (food, water etc.) before higher-order needs can be met.
Developmental psychologists would engage a child with a book and then make observations based on how the child interacts with the object.
An example of an item from a cognitive abilities test used in educational psychology.
Flowchart of four phases (enrollment, intervention allocation, follow-up, and data analysis) of a parallel randomized trial of two groups, modified from the CONSORT 2010 Statement
The experimenter (E) orders the teacher (T), the subject of the experiment, to give what the latter believes are painful electric shocks to a learner (L), who is actually an actor and confederate. The subject believes that for each wrong answer, the learner was receiving actual electric shocks, though in reality there were no such punishments. Being separated from the subject, the confederate set up a tape recorder integrated with the electro-shock generator, which played pre-recorded sounds for each shock level etc.
An EEG recording setup
Artificial neural network with two layers, an interconnected group of nodes, akin to the vast network of neurons in the human brain.
A rat undergoing a Morris water navigation test used in behavioral neuroscience to study the role of the hippocampus in spatial learning and memory.
Phineas P. Gage survived an accident in which a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain's left frontal lobe, and is remembered for that injury's reported effects on his personality and behavior.

It is an academic discipline of immense scope, crossing the boundaries between the natural and social sciences.

History of science

The history of science covers the development of science from ancient times to the present.

The Ebers Papyrus (c. 1550 BC) from ancient Egypt
Clay models of animal livers dating between the nineteenth and eighteenth centuries BCE, found in the royal palace at Mari in what is now Syria
Star list with distance information, Uruk (Iraq), 320-150 BC, the list gives each constellation, the number of stars and the distance information to the next constellation in ells
Ancient India was an early leader in metallurgy, as evidenced by the wrought-iron Pillar of Delhi.
Lui Hui's Survey of sea island
One of the star maps from Su Song's Xin Yi Xiang Fa Yao published in 1092, featuring a cylindrical projection similar to Mercator, and the corrected position of the pole star thanks to Shen Kuo's astronomical observations.
A modern replica of Han dynasty polymath scientist Zhang Heng's seismometer of 132 CE
Plato's Academy. 1st century mosaic from Pompeii
Schematic of the Antikythera mechanism (150–100 BCE).
Archimedes used the method of exhaustion to approximate the value of π.
One of the oldest surviving fragments of Euclid's Elements, found at Oxyrhynchus and dated to c. 100 CE.
The frontispiece of the Vienna Dioscurides, which shows a set of seven famous physicians
15th-century manuscript of Avicenna's The Canon of Medicine.
Süleymaniye Mosque
Statue of Roger Bacon at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
Galileo Galilei, father of modern science.
Isaac Newton initiated classical mechanics in physics.
Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations, the first modern work of economics
Alessandro Volta demonstrates the first electrical cell to Napoleon in 1801.
Dmitri Mendeleev
In mid-July 1837 Charles Darwin started his "B" notebook on the Transmutation of Species, and on page 36 wrote "I think" above his first evolutionary tree.
Einstein's official portrait after receiving the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics
The atomic bomb ushered in "Big Science" in physics.
Earthrise, the Earth from above the Moon, Apollo 8. This 1968 NASA image by astronaut William Anders helped create awareness of the finiteness of Earth, and the limits of its natural resources.
Watson and Crick used many aluminium templates like this one, which is the single base Adenine (A), to build a physical model of DNA in 1953.
Alfred Wegener in Greenland in the winter of 1912–13. He is most remembered as the originator of continental drift hypothesis by suggesting in 1912 that the continents are slowly drifting around the Earth.
One possible signature of a Higgs boson from a simulated proton–proton collision. It decays almost immediately into two jets of hadrons and two electrons, visible as lines.

It encompasses all three major branches of science: natural, social, and formal.

Quantitative research

Research strategy that focuses on quantifying the collection and analysis of data.

Argument terminology

Associated with the natural, applied, formal, and social sciences this research strategy promotes the objective empirical investigation of observable phenomena to test and understand relationships.

Social research

Émile Durkheim

Social research is a research conducted by social scientists following a systematic plan.


Systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

Chronology of the universe as deduced by the prevailing Big Bang theory, a result from science and obtained knowledge
The first diagram of an evolutionary tree made by Charles Darwin in 1837
First global view of the ozone hole in 1983, using a space telescope
Radio light image of M87* black hole, made by the earth-spanning Event Horizon Telescope array in 2019
Supply and demand curve in economics, crossing over at the optimal equilibrium
A steam turbine with the case opened, such turbines produce most of the electricity used today
A diagram variant of scientific method represented as an ongoing process
Cover of the first issue of Nature, 4 November 1869
For Kuhn, the addition of epicycles in Ptolemaic astronomy was "normal science" within a paradigm, whereas the Copernican revolution was a paradigm shift.
Marie Curie was the first person to be awarded two Nobel Prizes: Physics in 1903 and Chemistry in 1911.
Picture of scientists in 200th anniversary of the Prussian Academy of Sciences, 1900
Medal of the Nobel Prize, one of the most well-known science awards
Budget of NASA as percentage of United States federal budget, peaking at 4.4% in 1966 and slowly decline since
Dinosaur exhibit in the Houston Museum of Natural Science

Modern science is typically divided into three major branches: natural sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, and physics), which study the physical world; the social sciences (e.g., economics, psychology, and sociology), which study individuals and societies; and the formal sciences (e.g., logic, mathematics, and theoretical computer science), which study formal systems, governed by axioms and rules.


Procedure carried out to support or refute a hypothesis, or determine the efficacy or likelihood of something previously untried.

Even very young children perform rudimentary experiments to learn about the world and how things work.
The black box model for observation (input and output are observables). When there are a feedback with some observer's control, as illustrated, the observation is also an experiment.

Uses of experiments vary considerably between the natural and human sciences.


Theory that states that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience.

A drawing of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) from 1271
Thomas Hobbes
Bishop George Berkeley
David Hume's empiricism led to numerous philosophical schools.
Charles Sanders Peirce
William James

Both natural and social sciences use working hypotheses that are testable by observation and experiment.

Émile Durkheim

French sociologist.

A collection of Durkheim's courses on the origins of socialism (1896), edited and published by his nephew, Marcel Mauss, in 1928
Grave of Émile Durkheim, the founder of sociology, in Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, France.
Cover of the French edition of The Rules of Sociological Method (1919)
Cover of the French edition of ''The Division of Labour in Society

He formally established the academic discipline of sociology and is commonly cited as one of the principal architects of modern social science, along with both Karl Marx and Max Weber.


Study of research methods, or, more formally, "'a contextual framework for research, a coherent and logical scheme based on views, beliefs, and values, that guides the choices researchers [or other users] make".

The methodology underlying a type of DNA sequencing.

The social sciences derive their study of methods from a broader continuum of methodologies (e.g. qualitative research) than the natural sciences do.


Ibn Khaldun statue in Tunis, Tunisia (1332–1406)
Auguste Comte (1798–1857)
Karl Marx (1818–1883)
Herbert Spencer (1820–1903)
Max Weber
Georg Simmel
Émile Durkheim
Bust of Ferdinand Tönnies in Husum, Germany
Anthony Giddens
The bean machine, designed by early social research methodologist Sir Francis Galton to demonstrate the normal distribution, which is important to much quantitative hypothesis testing.
A social network diagram: individuals (or 'nodes') connected by relationships
Max Horkheimer (left, front), Theodor Adorno (right, front), and Jürgen Habermas (right, back) 1965
"Rosie the Riveter" was an iconic symbol of the American homefront and a departure from gender roles due to wartime necessity.
Jürgen Habermas
Harrison White

Sociology is a social science that focuses on society, human social behavior, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and aspects of culture associated with everyday life.