Health Sciences Articles & Resources

Catrina Cowart
Last updated:
Erin L. George, MFT
Erin L. George, MFT
Medical editor

Ad Disclosure: Some of our recommendations, including BetterHelp, are also affiliates, and as such we may receive compensation from them if you choose to purchase products or services through the links provided

What Is Health Science?

Health science is the study of the well-being, medical care, and mental health of people who are mentally and/or physically sick. (1) Those who work in these fields learn to take care of people through a range of specialties such as behavioral health and the social sciences.

Dozens of opportunities exist in the health sciences, as these are expansive fields. People who complete courses can go on to become nurses, dental hygienists, EKG technicians, cardiovascular technicians, or emergency medical technicians, for example. (1) Graduates may go on to study integrated medicine, clinical epidemiology, pediatric nutrition, or other important areas. From psychologists to sociologists, these professionals all study health science as part of their training.

The health sciences are divided into several segments: cognitive science, behavioral science, neuroscience, and social science. The people who work in these fields include nurses, physicians, pharmacists, and many others. (1)

These sciences focus on humanity's well-being, which is why it's such an important field. From studying exercise science to nutrition or medical paths, each area of the health sciences plays a vital role in the health of people all around the world.

Related Questions & Answers

Weblog Entries
10 Things You Might Not Know About Your Brain

What Is Health Science? Health science is the study of the well-being, medical care, and mental health of people who are mentally and/or physically sick. (1) Those who work... Read More

What Does The Latest Research Say About Brain Health?

What Is Health Science? Health science is the study of the well-being, medical care, and mental health of people who are mentally and/or physically sick. (1) Those who work... Read More

Emotion In The Brain

What Is Health Science? Health science is the study of the well-being, medical care, and mental health of people who are mentally and/or physically sick. (1) Those who work... Read More

What Is Cognitive Science?

Cognitive science is a field of study that looks at how the human mind and brain work together. "Mind" refers to how humans think or process information. "Brain," in this context, refers to the physical organ. The overall focus of the field is on how the mind manipulates or represents information and the mental and chemical processes that occur within the brain. (2)

People working in the field of cognitive science want to know how the mind operates within the brain. The field currently has many theories about the way in which the mind works. These include: (3)

  • Images
  • Concepts
  • Rules
  • Formal logic
  • Theoretical neuroscience
  • Bayesian
  • Deep learning
  • Analogies
  • Connectionism

Each of these theories tries to describe how the mind works and functions with an explanation pattern. For example, the Bayesian theory suggests that the mind assigns probabilities to hypotheses. It decides how likely a given possibility is. The brain can then update those probabilities based on inferences it makes. (4)

Cognitive scientists usually use computational modeling and theorizing to try to determine how the mind operates. It's not uncommon for cognitive scientists to work with human supjects. For example, undergraduate students may agree to participate in studies using different kinds of thinking. Those studies have controlled conditions, so the researchers have an opportunity to identify similarities and differences.

One famous test, the Stroop test, measures logical thought and brain stress by having people name the color they're looking at when the name of the color is incorrect. For example, the word may say "red," but the word's color is blue. This confusing test stresses the brain and requires logic to overcome the challenge. (3)

What Is Behavioral Science?

Behavioral science is the study of human and animal behavior via experimentation and observation. (5) Multiple disciplines and jobs fall into this category, including:

  • Cognitive psychology
  • Consumer behavior
  • Social psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology
  • Behavioral economics

This diverse field studies humans (most of the time) and why they behave in ways that do or don't maximize their well-being. Behavioral scientists study and analyze how the environment around people affects them, how businesses influence consumers, and more. (5)

It's important to note that although behavioral science is a term sometimes used synonymously with social sciences, they aren't the same thing. Behavioral science takes a more experimental approach to understanding human interactions than the social sciences under most circumstances. (6) The social sciences, by comparison, study the relationships between people in a society. Some parts of social science overlap with behavioral science, such as anthropology and economics.

What Is Neuroscience?

Neuroscience is the study of the way the nervous system develops in the human body. This field looks at the nervous system's structure and what it does within the body.

Also known as neural science, neuroscience normally falls under the larger field of biology. (7) As a supdivision of biology, neuroscience covers all aspects of the nervous system, while neurobiology looks more closely at the specific biology of the nervous system.

Those who graduate in this field become neuroscientists and can study all kinds of things, including the nervous system's functional, evolutionary, cellular, and computational aspects.

Some of the branches of neuroscience include: (7)

  • Clinical neuroscience
  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Behavioral neuroscience
  • Cellular neuroscience
  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychiatry
  • Neuroinformatics
  • Paleoneurology
  • Neuroengineering

Each branch has its own focus. For example, behavioral neuroscience looks at the biological core reasons for behavior and how the brain causes or affects behavior. Cultural neuroscience looks at how people's brains may impact their culture over time. Neuroengineering, by comparison, looks at how to understand the neural systems found in the body. This area also looks into how to improve, replace, and repair those systems. (7)

What Is Social Science?

Social science is a field that studies the relationships between people and societies. It sometimes also studies how societies develop or how they operate.

Unlike behavioral science, which often uses experimentation, the social sciences tend to use data interpretation and qualitative research to study relationships across five fields: (8)

  1. Social psychology
  2. Sociology
  3. Economics
  4. Political science
  5. Anthropology

In some cases, history is another field recognized in the social sciences. History is sometimes considered among the humanities, so it won't always fall into this category.

The social sciences are often the core of a liberal arts education. (9) Some examples of social science departments at the college level include: (8)

  • African-American studies
  • Economics
  • Linguistics
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Demography
  • Gender and women's studies
  • Global studies
  • Political economy

The parts of society studied vary in the field. For example, students of economics study economic activities and how individuals or organizations make and trade goods. They may focus on understanding supply and demand.

Those studying linguistics might look at how languages or accents developed regionally over time. They may study the influence of outside factors on different cultures and how those influences changed their languages.

Students and professionals participating in psychology studies look at how the mind and behavior link in society. Psychologists study human emotions, human development, social behaviors, and more. (9)