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What Can I Do with a Behavioral Science Degree?

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  • Written By: Kristie Lorette
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2016
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Primarily, those who earn a behavioral science degree go on to work as a social worker, anthropologist, occupational therapists, management scientist, organizational behavior specialist or other careers that help people. A behavioral science degree covers both the study of the social sciences and the natural sciences. Some companies will hire you with a behavioral science degree not matter what type of position you are applying for because some companies simply prefer someone with a college degree, even if it is does not directly relate to the job you’re being hired for.

Social workers can work in several different types of agencies, including for the state or inside of hospitals. The primary responsibilities of a social worker help to guide people in difficult living situations. Social workers may teach basic living skills or help individuals and families deal with illnesses, diseases or difficult living situations.

Another use for your behavioral science degree is to work as an anthropologist. Anthropologists evaluate, study and assess different cultures and behaviors around the world. Work can range from evaluating these cultures in pre-historic or specific time periods all the way up to modern times. Most anthropologists specialize in a specific culture or a specified period of time so that they become specialists in their area.

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Occupational therapists may also possess their behavioral science degree. Occupational therapists help individuals that may have physical or mental problems or disabilities to learn how to function normally in their personal and professional lives. The primary responsibility of occupational therapists is to create as normal a life as the person can have, so they can live an independent personal and professional life.

A behavioral science degree may also lead to a career as a management scientist. A management scientist becomes an expert in the management profession. You work with managers in different companies to learn the skills, experience and knowledge that they need to have in order to run the business or company they work for in the most effective and efficient manner as possible.

An organizational behavior specialist fills a similar role as a management scientist. The primary difference is the organizational behavior specialist evaluates, studies, assesses and makes recommendations for the entire organization as opposed to just the manager. These types of professions teach people in an organization how to work together, how to overcome problems and issues and how the behavior of each person in the organization affects the rest of the people in the organization and the business as a whole.

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pleonasm
Post 3

@croydon - People might not be pigeons, but they can be manipulated like them. I know one famous incident of behavioral science being used to manipulate people was with the social media games that have sprouted up lately. They actually hired scientists to design the games to be as addictive as possible, using different behavioral science principals.

Like, they will only reward them in random amounts at random times, so that they keep clicking the way the pigeons kept clicking, trying to get the big reward.

It's pretty awful actually as I've known some people who were very addicted.

But, I can't help but think, maybe they could figure out some way of putting that kind of thing to good use. After all, if they somehow came up with an equivalent for exercise, or something, they would be able to help the obesity epidemic.

It's something to think about.

croydon
Post 2

@indigomoth - While there is something to be said about that kind of reinforcement, you have to remember that people are not pigeons.

If someone was to pursue a behavioral science degree in order to become a better manager, they wouldn't really be learning how to manipulate. Motivate would be the better term. And after all, that's the whole point of a manager.

It's not like knowing that providing better light for people to work to, or a more secure environment is manipulation, even though it does allow people to work better. And that's the kind of thing that a really good manager needs to know.

It all depends on the person, of course, but I'd be happy to work under someone who knew their behavioral science.

indigomoth
Post 1

It's an interesting idea, pursuing a behavioral science degree in order to become a better manager. It almost feels a little bit too cynical, perhaps, the idea that you can learn how to manipulate people more easily in a job like that.

I guess when I think of behavioral science the first thing that jumps to mind is the psychology papers I did where we learned about Skinner's experiments with pigeons and so forth.

The idea that you can manipulate behavior by creating an association with reward and punishment.

It just doesn't really feel ethical to subject people to that kind of manipulation, although I suppose they are subjected to it everyday.

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