Ever notice that a lot of students today are more interested in Social Sciences? Ever notice how many crime shows look at the psychological state of those involved? Or notice how a series like Bones, where the evidence is found with forensic anthropology, seems to have a huge fanbase?
Personally, I’m a bit of a math nerd (possibly also a science nerd, but never took physics or Chemistry), so I’m never surprised when I hear the question – “Why Psychology?” or “Why Sociology?”
In the recent years, the general field of Social Science has been very popular in the media, finding it in TV shows, books, and even on the news. Its popularity might be due to the possibility of explaining what many take for granted – the Social Environment. In CEGEP (College in Quebec), it’s a program that a few thousands of students apply for, mainly because of the fact that it has the most basic of requirements.
But what is Social Science? I’ve had a taste of Sociology, Psychology, and Anthropology and I found that many of the theories are based on statistics that have been conducted on a focus group (a selected group of individuals/sub culture/set of remains). That means that many of the theories are to explain what is normal and what is deviant/abnormal based on these statistics.
However, having taken 4 (possibly 5) courses on statistics (all of which were mandatory in the corresponding program), there’s one thing that I’ve learned – no theory is 100% correct EVER. These theories are meant to understand the big picture.
Think of a puzzle set. The theories would essentially give a general idea of what the image should be, and the stats narrowing down which piece should fit where. Piece not fitting – probably from another puzzle – discarded. Pieces not fitting? Something’s not right.
Anyways, that’s social science. By looking at the history of a given behaviour or culture, a better understanding emerges. While it may not be perfect, it gives a comfort to those who want to know the explanation for the traits that make us human.