How do people develop as individuals and as social
beings? How do families affect individuals? Why do families take
Studying these topics scientifically yields important insights
into what it means to be human and to be in society with others.
Social scientists study the relationships among processes in our
brains and our behavior and cognition; how children and teenagers
learn in school and in other places; the role of family and friend
relationships, status and other elements in personal and social
development; how we perceive through our senses, put information
together and form beliefs; and how we form memories and how those
memories can change.
Individual growth and social development constitute pieces of
the same puzzle. Scientists examine social and developmental issues
over the course of a life—from infant behavior to schoolchildren’s
learning processes to adult attitudes and responses to situations.
At various stages of life, different social groups become important:
family, peers, schools, businesses and so on. People make choices
about groups—to join a gang or not, for example. Scientists
study how groups influence individuals and how individuals choose
How Do People Make Decisions? [Next]