When Congress created the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research (OBSSR) in July, 1995, it gave the task to create definitions relevant to its mission. The definition of basic behavioral and social science research (b-BSSR) was developed in 1996 in consultation through a public process involving behavioral and social scientists and professional societies. The intent is that the definition will evolve as OppNet's initiatives move forward. Until that time, the working definition is “b-BSSR furthers our understanding of fundamental mechanisms and patterns of behavioral and social functioning, relevant to the Nationís health and well-being, and as they interact with each other, with biology and the environment.”
Basic Behavioral and Social Science Research at NIH
Basic behavioral and social science research includes research on behavioral and social processes; interactions between biology, behavior and social processes; and/or methodology and measurement. For purposes of this definition, the term "behavioral" refers to overt actions; to underlying psychological processes such as cognition, emotion, temperament and motivation; and to biobehavioral interactions. The term "social" encompasses sociocultural, socioeconomic and sociodemographic status; biosocial interactions; and the various levels of social context, from small groups to complex cultural systems and societal influences.
Basic behavioral and social science research at the NIH is divided into three categories: (A) research on behavioral and social processes, (B) biopsychosocial research, and (C) research on methodology and measurement in the behavioral and social sciences.
Complete b-BSSR Definition
The complete definition of basic behavioral and social science research utilized by the NIH is available on the website of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR):