Exploring Movement and Direction in Social Sciences



Instead of describing the fields of anthropology, economics, management, political science, economics, psychology, or sociology, this chapter explores movement and direction in the study of human well-being, sense-making, and decision-making which are areas of study traversing the social sciences. It features fresh perspectives gleaned from leading edge human brain research as well as current applications of long-standing explanations of what moves people.


  1. Abdallah, S., Michaelson, J., Shah, S., Stoll, L., & Marks, N. (2012). The happy planet index. London: The New Economc Foundation.Google Scholar
  2. Agrawal, P. M., & Sharda, R. (2013). OR forum—Quantum mechanics and human decision making. Operations Research, 61(1), 1–16. Scholar
  3. Alexandrova, A. (2016). Science of well-being. In G. Fletcher (Ed.), The routledge handbook of philosophy of well-being (pp. 389–401). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Beal, D., Rueda-Sabater, E., Yong, S. E., & Heng, S. L. (2016). The private-sector opportunity to improve well-being: The 2016 sustainable economic development assessment. Boston, MA: The Boston Consulting Group.Google Scholar
  5. Beckage, B., Gross, L. J., Lacasse, K., Carr, E., Metcalf, S. S., Winter, J. M., et al. (2018). Linking models of human behaviour and climate alters projected climate change. Nature Climate Change, 8, 79–85. Scholar
  6. Bejan, A. (1997). Constructal-theory network of conducting paths for cooling a heat generating volume. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 40(4), 799–811. Scholar
  7. Bicchieri, C. (2006). The grammar of society: The nature and dynamics of social norms. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. (2017, January 25). 2018 Doomsday Clock Statement. Retrieved from Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
  9. Clark, A. (2016). Surfing uncertainty: Prediction, action, and the embodied mind. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Comparitive Constituions Project. (2017). Retrieved from the comparitive constituions project.
  11. Cook, J., Oreskes, N., Doran, P. T., Anderegg, W. R., Verheggen, B., Maibach, E. W., … Rice, K. (2016). Consensus on consensus: A synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming. Environmental Research Letters, 11. Scholar
  12. Coutts, C., & Hahn, M. (2015). Green infrastructure, ecosystem services, and human health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12, 9768–9798. Scholar
  13. Diener, E., & Tay, L. (2015). Subjective well-being and human welfare around the world as reflected in the Gallup World Poll. International Journal of Psychology, 50(2), 135–149. Scholar
  14. Dunleavy, P. (2013). Democracy, bureaucracy and public choice: Economic explanations in political science. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Fehr, E., & Fischbacher, U. (2004). Social norms and human cooperation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(4), 185–190. Scholar
  16. Field, C. B., Barros, V., Stocker, T. F., Dahe, Q., Dokken, D. J., Ebi, K. L., et al. (Eds.). (2012). Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Hassan, R., Scholes, R., & Ash, N. (Eds.). (2005). Ecosystems and human well-being: Current state and trends (Vol. 1). Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  18. Hechter, M., & Opp, K.-D. (Eds.). (2001). Social norms. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  19. Helliwell, J., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (Eds.). (2017). World happiness report. New York, NY: Sustainable Development Solutions Network.Google Scholar
  20. Henrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33, 61–135. Scholar
  21. Hirsch, T. (2005). Living beyond our means: Natural assets and human well-being—Statement from the board. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
  22. Hodgson, G. M. (2012). On the limits of rational choice theory. Economic Thought, 1(94), 94–108.Google Scholar
  23. Hsiang, S., Kopp, R., Jina, A., Rising, J., Delgado, M., Mohan, S., et al. (2017). Estimating economic damage from climate change in the United States. Science, 356(6345), 1362–1369. Scholar
  24. Huggel, C., Stone, D., Auffhammer, M., & Hansen, G. (2013). Loss and damage attribution. Nature Climate Change, 3, 694–696. Scholar
  25. Inglehart, R. F. (2018). Cultural evolution: People’s motivations are changing and reshaping the world. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jeffrey, K., Wheatley, H., & Abdallah, S. (2016). The happy planet index. London: New Economics Foundation.Google Scholar
  27. King, M. F., Renó, V. F., & Novo, E. M. (2014). The concept, dimensions, and methods of assessment of human well-being within a sociological context: A literature review. Social Indicators Research, 116, 681–698. Scholar
  28. Krueger, A. B., Kahneman, D., Schkade, D., Swartz, N., & Stone, A. A. (2009). National time accounting: The currency of life. Measuring the subjective well-being of nations: National accounts of time use (pp. 1–86). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Landau, L. D., & Lifshits, E. M. (1977). Quantum mechanics: Non-relativistic theory (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  30. Levine, J., Chan, K. M., & Satterfield, T. (2015). From rational actor to efficient complexity manager: Exorcising the ghost of homo economicus with a unified synthesis of cognition research. Ecological Economics, 114, 22–32. Scholar
  31. Loomes, G., & Sugden, R. (2015). Regret theory: An alternative theory of rational choice under uncertainty. The Economic Journal, 125, 513–532. Scholar
  32. Lusty, P. A., & Gunn, A. G. (2014, June 23). Challenges to global mineral resource security and options for future supply. Special Publications. London: Geological Society. Scholar
  33. Lynd, R. S. (1939). Knowledge for what: The place of social science in American culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  34. McGillivray, M., & Clarke, M. (2007). Human well-being: Concepts and measures. In M. McGillivray, M. Clarke, & M. Smyth (Eds.), Understanding human well-being: Insights and experiences (pp. 3–15). Tokyo: United Nations Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Miller, W. O. (2009). Developing constructal theory as a tool for global security and sustainability. In A. Bejan, S. Lorente, & A. Miguel (Eds.), Constructal human dynamics, security and sustainability (pp. 49–60). Amsterdam: IOS Press.
  36. Newell, B. R., & Shanks, D. R. (2014). Unconscious influences on decision making: A critical review. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 34, 1–61. Scholar
  37. Nyborg, K., Anderies, J. M., Dannenberg, A., Lindahl, T., Schill, C., Schlüter, M., …, Carpenter, S. (2016). Social norms as solutions: Policies may influence large-scale behavioral tipping. Science, 354(6308), 42–43. Scholar
  38. Ostrom, E. (2000). Collective action and the evolution of social norms. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 14(3), 137–158. Scholar
  39. Pearl, J. (2009). Causality: Models, reasoning, and inference (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Posner, R. A., & Rasmusen, E. B. (1999). Creating and enforcing norms, with special reference to sanctions. International Review of Law and Economics, 19(3), 369–382. Scholar
  41. Postman, N., & Weingartner, C. (1969). Teaching as a subversive activity. New York, NY: Dell.Google Scholar
  42. Rao, N. D., van Ruijven, B. J., Riahi, K., & Bosetti, V. (2017). Improving poverty and inequality modelling in climate research. Nature Climate Change, 7, 857–862. Scholar
  43. Raudsepp-Hearne, C., Peterson, G. D., Tengö, M., Bennett, E. M., Holland, T., Benessaiah, K., …, Pfeifer, L. (2010). Untangling the environmentalist’s paradox: Why is human well-being increasing as ecosystem services degrade. BioScience, 60(8), 576–589. Scholar
  44. Rutherford, A., Lupu, Y., Cebrian, M., Rahwan, I., LeVeck, B., & Garcia-Herranz, M. (2017). Inferring mechanisms for global constitutional progress. Retrieved from Cornell University Library: arXiv:1606.04012v3 [physics.soc-ph].
  45. Sherif, M. (1965). The psychology of social norms. New York, NY: Octagon Books.Google Scholar
  46. Shubik, M. S. (2001). Game theory and operations research: Some musings 50years later (Yale Som Working Paper No. ES-14). Yale School of Management.
  47. Sterman, J., Fiddaman, T., Franck, T., Jones, A., McCauley, S., Rice, P., …, Siegel, L. (2012). Climate interactive: The C-ROADS climate policy model. System Dynamics Review, 28(3), 295–305. Scholar
  48. Stirling, W. C., & Felin, T. (2013). Game theory, conditional preferences, and social influence. PLoS One, 8(2), e56751. Scholar
  49. The Economist Intelligence Unit. (2017). Democracy index 2017: Free speech under attack. New York, NY: The Economist Intelligence Unit.Google Scholar
  50. The New Economic Foundation. (2016). Happy planet methods paper. London, UK: The New Economic Foundation.Google Scholar
  51. Theakston, F. (Ed.). (2013). Health and the environment: Communicating the risks. Copenhagen: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  52. Urry, J. (2015). Climate Change and Society. In J. Michie & C. L. Cooper (Eds.), Why the social sciences matter (pp. 45–59). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. van den Bos, K. (2009). Making sense of life: The existential self trying to deal with personal uncertainty. Psychological Inquiry, 20, 197–217. Scholar
  54. van den Bos, K., & Lind, E. A. (2013). On sense-making reactions and public inhibition of benign social motives: An appraisal model of prosocial behavior. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 1–58. Scholar
  55. van den Bos, R., Jolles, J. W., & Homberg, J. R. (2013). Social modulation of decision-making: A cross-species review. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7.
  56. von Neumann, J., & Morganstern, O. (2007). Theory of games and economic behavior: 60th anniversary edition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Whitmee, S., Haines, A., Beyrer, C., Boltz, F., Capon, A. G., de Souza Dias, B. F., …, Yach, D. (2015). Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: Report of the Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission. The Lancet, 386, 1973–2028. Scholar
  58. Whitson, J. A., & Galinsky, A. D. (2008). Lacking control increases illusory pattern perception. Science, 322(5898), 115–117. Scholar
  59. Wolf, M., Kurvers, R. H., Ward, A. J., Krause, S., & Krause, J. (2013). Accurate decisions in an uncertain world: Collective cognition increases true positives while decreasing false positives. In Proceedings of the Royal Society, 280. Scholar
  60. Zentall, T. R., & Galef, B. G., Jr. (Eds.). (1988). Social learning: Psychological and biological perspectives. New York, NY: Psychology Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Arizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA

Personalised recommendations