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Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences

Submission of Proposals to the BCS Division

All programs in the BCS Division consider proposals for research projects, conferences, and workshops. Some programs also consider proposals for doctoral dissertation improvement, the acquisition of specialized research and computing equipment, and large-scale data collection.

BCS conducts special initiatives and competitions on a number of topics, such as cognitive neuroscience, children’s research, human origins, and environmental, social, and behavioral sciences. In addition, BCS participates in a number of Foundation-wide crosscutting activities, such as Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) and Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers (ADVANCE).

Anthropological And Geographic Sciences Cluster

1. Archaeology and Archaeometry

Supports archaeological research that contributes to an anthropological understanding of the past. Both fieldwork and non-fieldwork are eligible for support. Through a special archaeometry competition, the program offers support for laboratories that provide data of anthropological significance and also for the development of new techniques.

2. Cultural Anthropology

Supports basic research on the causes and consequences of crosscultural and intracultural variation as such research broadens or refines anthropological theory. In an effort to enhance the quality of students’ field research in graduate programs, the program offers various awards for the support of field training and collaborative research of students and faculty. Scholars’ Awards in Methodological Training for Cultural Anthropologists are offered for senior researchers who wish to upgrade their research skills by learning a particular analytical technique.

3. Geography and Regional Science

Supports basic research on the causes and consequences of geographical differences in economic, social, cultural, and physical phenomena, including interactions among places and regions and interrelations between human activities and the natural environment. Projects on a variety of domestic and overseas topics that will enhance geographical theory, geographical methods, and their applications qualify for support.

4. Physical Anthropology

Supports basic research in areas that relate to human evolution and contemporary human variation. Research areas supported by the program include human genetic variation, human adaptation, human osteology, human origins, human paleontology, primate functional anatomy, and primate behavior.

Cognitive, Psychological, and Language Sciences Cluster

1. Developmental and Learning Sciences

Supports research on cognitive, social, and biological processes related to child and adolescent learning in formal and informal settings. Priorities are to support research on learning and development that incorporates multidisciplinary, multimethod, microgenetic, and longitudinal approaches; develops new methods and theories; examines transfer of knowledge from one domain to another; assesses peer relations, family interactions, social identities, and motivation; examines the impact of family, school, and community resources; assesses adolescents’ preparation for entry into the workforce; and investigates the role of culture in children’s learning and development.

2. Perception, Action, and Cognition

Supports research on cognition, perception, and action, including the development of these capacities. Emphasis is on research strongly grounded in theory. Research topics include vision, audition, haptics, attention, memory, reasoning, written and spoken discourse, motor control, and developmental issues in all topic areas. The program encompasses a wide range of theoretical perspectives, such as symbolic computation, connectionism, ecological, nonlinear dynamics, and complex systems, and a variety of methodologies including both experimental studies and modeling. Research involving acquired or developmental deficits is appropriate if the results speak to basic issues of cognition, perception, or action.

3. Linguistics

Supports theoretically informed research on human language. The program encompasses a wide range of theoretical perspectives and a variety of methods, including experimental studies and computational modeling. Research topics include the properties of individual languages and of language in general; language acquisition; the cognitive processes involved in the use of language; social and cultural factors in language use; language variation and change; acoustic, articulatory, and perceptual study of speech; and the neurological bases of language. Program awards have also supported the development of lexicons, corpora, databases, and other resources for the language sciences. In addition to regular research proposals, the program accepts proposals for doctoral dissertation research; conferences, workshops, and symposia; group travel to international conferences; and Small Grants for Exploratory Research.

4. Social Psychology

Supports research on human social behavior, including cultural influences and lifespan social development. Research topics include aggression; altruism; attitude formation and change; attitudes and behavior; attributional processes; emotion; environmental psychology; group decision-making, performance, and process; intergroup relations; interpersonal attraction and relations; nonverbal communication; person perception; personality processes; prejudice; the self; social comparison; social cognition; social influence; and stereotyping.

5. Cognitive Neuroscience

Supports neuroscientific research on cognitive, perceptual, linguistic, developmental, affective, and social processes, including developmental and computational modeling approaches. Priorities of the program are to support collaborative research and to enhance training at all levels of professional development.

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