Understanding NSF Research: People & Society
There are close to 8 billion people on the planet, each linked to family members, friends, co-workers, communities and the environment. New technologies and forms of communication further connect people around the world with one another at an unprecedented scale. Every day, people shape, and are shaped by, the economic, political, social, cultural, technological and environmental forces that surround them.
The social, behavioral and economic sciences collectively illuminate our individuality and our interactions. They examine the fundamental principles underlying human behavior -- from how we think and learn to how we interact individually and in groups. They help us navigate familial and professional relationships, build stronger and safer communities, run businesses efficiently and effectively, and create technologies to enhance our lives.
NSF-supported research helps coordinate insights from diverse disciplines to generate a map of human behavior in all of its complexity. Social, behavioral, and economic scientists study people and their behavior at scales ranging from cells to society and across space and time. Findings from this research enable us to better understand ourselves and address the many political, social, and economic challenges that confront our communities, including energy use, migration, inequalities, disaster response, and warfare.
Ultimately, findings from the social, behavioral and economic sciences provide the crucial insights that help drive the U.S. economy, improve health, enhance national security, and position our nation as a leader in innovation and discovery.
Brain and Behavior
Fundamental research in psychological, linguistic, anthropological, and geographic sciences helps us better understand how people interact at the biological, cultural and social level, leading to new knowledge in everything from how the brain forms memories to how human resource use changes the environment.
Economic, Social, and Organizational Systems
Economic, social, political, and organizational science improves our understanding of everything from decision making to social capital development. Outcomes from this research provide insights into how social networks evolve, how cybercrime spreads and the optimal functioning of markets.
Science and Engineering Statistics
Within NSF is the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, one of the 13 federal statistical agencies and the nation's leading provider of statistical data on the U.S. science and engineering enterprise.
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