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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Behavior and Cognition

The behavioral and cognitive sciences seek to understand how the human mind works and learns, how people make decisions, how they behave, and how they function under stress. Our reports and workshops have explored how this research could inform policies in a range of areas, from education to mental health to intelligence analysis. And in setting research agendas, we strive to move the behavioral and cognitive sciences in directions that will provide further policy-relevant knowledge.  See also: 


Learning from the Science of Cognition and Perception for Decision MakingProceedings of a Workshop  (BBCSS)

Beginning in October 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine organized a set of workshops designed to gather information for the Decadal Survey of Social and Behavioral... Read more

Women's Mental Health across the Life Course through a Sex-Gender LensProceedings of a Workshop–in Brief  (CPOP)

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a workshop on March 7, 2018, to help inform research, programs, and policies to better meet the mental health needs of women in... Read more

The Value of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to National PrioritiesA Report for the National Science Foundation  

Nearly every major challenge the United States faces—from alleviating unemployment to protecting itself from terrorism—requires understanding the causes and consequences of people’s behavior. Even... Read more

Lessons Learned from Diverse Efforts to Change Social Norms and Opportunities and Strategies to Promote Behavior Change in Behavioral HealthProceedings of Two Workshops  (BBCSS)

In 2015, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened two workshops with oversight from the Committee on the Science of Changing Behavioral Health Social Norms. The workshops... Read more

Implementing Evidence-Based Prevention by Communities to Promote Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health in ChildrenProceedings of a Workshop  (BOCYF)

Communities provide the context in which programs, principles, and policies are implemented. Their needs dictate the kinds of programs that community organizers and advocates, program developers and... Read more

Implementing Evidence-Based Prevention by Communities to Promote Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health in ChildrenProceedings of a Workshop–in Brief  (BOCYF)

Communities represent the front line in addressing many behavioral health conditions that children, adolescents, young adults, and their families have to face. These conditions are not rare: during... Read more

Ending Discrimination Against People with Mental and Substance Use DisordersThe Evidence for Stigma Change  (BBCSS)

Estimates indicate that as many as 1 in 4 Americans will experience a mental health problem or will misuse alcohol or drugs in their lifetimes. These disorders are among the most highly stigmatized... Read more

Measuring Specific Mental Illness Diagnoses with Functional ImpairmentWorkshop Summary  (CNSTAT,BBCSS,HSP)

The workshop summarized in this report was organized as part of a study sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary... Read more

Enhancing the Effectiveness of Team Science  (BBCSS)

The past half-century has witnessed a dramatic increase in the scale and complexity of scientific research. The growing scale of science has been accompanied by a shift toward collaborative research,... Read more

Measuring Human CapabilitiesAn Agenda for Basic Research on the Assessment of Individual and Group Performance Potential for Military Accession  (BBCSS)

Every year, the U.S. Army must select from an applicant pool in the hundreds of thousands to meet annual enlistment targets, currently numbering in the tens of thousands of new soldiers. A critical... Read more

Investing in the Health and Well-Being of Young Adults  (BOCYF)

Young adulthood - ages approximately 18 to 26 - is a critical period of development with long-lasting implications for a person's economic security, health and well-being. Young adults are key... Read more

Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects in the Behavioral and Social Sciences  (BBCSS,CNSTAT,CPOP,HSP)

Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects in the Behavioral and Social Sciences examines how to update human subjects protections regulations so that they effectively... Read more

New Directions in Assessing Performance Potential of Individuals and GroupsWorkshop Summary  (BBCSS)

As an all-volunteer service accepting applications from nearly 400,000 potential recruits annually from across the U.S. population, the U.S. military must accurately and efficiently assess the... Read more

Proposed Revisions to the Common RulePerspectives of Social and Behavioral Scientists: Workshop Summary  (BBCSS)

On July 26, 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) with the purpose of soliciting comments on how current regulations for... Read more

The Subjective Well-Being Module of the American Time Use SurveyAssessment for Its Continuation  (CNSTAT)

The American Time Use Survey (ATUS), conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, included a subjective well-being (SWB) module in 2010 and 2012. The module, funded by the National Institute on Aging... Read more

Intelligence AnalysisBehavioral and Social Scientific Foundations  (BBCSS)

The U.S. intelligence community (IC) is a complex human enterprise whose success depends on how well the people in it perform their work. Although often aided by sophisticated technologies, these... Read more

Intelligence Analysis for TomorrowAdvances from the Behavioral and Social Sciences  (BBCSS)

The intelligence community (IC) plays an essential role in the national security of the United States. Decision makers rely on IC analyses and predictions to reduce uncertainty and to provide warnings... Read more

Issues in Commuting and Pilot FatigueInterim Report  (BOHSI)

The potential for fatigue to negatively affect human performance is well established. Concern about this potential in the aviation context extends back decades, with both airlines and pilots agreeing... Read more

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