Examples of Human Behavior Research

Examples of Human Behavior Research

Posted by Natasja Bogers on Mon 10 Oct. 2022 - 5 minute read

We humans are an intriguing species and it's no wonder researchers have always been fascinated by understanding human behavior. We recently wrote about how to study human behavior, and different ways to measure human behavior. 

Examples of Human Behavior Research

On our Behavioral Research Blog, there are plenty of examples of human behaviors and research on behavior. In this blog post we are highlighting some examples of human behavior research and behavior studies.

Table of contents

  1. What is human behavior?
  2. Cognitive neuroscience
  3. Autism research in infants
  4. Adolescent research
  5. On-site observational research
  6. Doctor-patient interaction
  7. Healthcare research examples
  8. Emotion analysis
  9. Sensory science and eating behavior
  10. Consumers' food choices and emotions
  11. User experience research

What is human behavior?

In science, human behavior commonly refers to the way humans act and interact: the actions, thoughts, and emotions of individuals and groups. It encompasses a wide range of activities, from physical movements and interactions with the environment, to complex mental processes such as decision-making and problem-solving. It is based on and influenced by several genetic and environmental factors, such as genetic make-up, culture, and individual attitudes and values. 

Human behavior research and human behavior studies look into several research questions, like: Why do we act the way we do? How is our behavior influenced, or measured? The study of human behavior is a broad and interdisciplinary field that draws on theories and methods from psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, and other related disciplines. The goal of this field is to understand why people behave in the ways that they do and to use this understanding to improve people's lives and solve real-world problems. 

The ultimate goal is to increase our understanding of the human experience and to use this knowledge to enhance individual and collective well-being.

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Cognitive neuroscience

Cognitive neuroscience is the overlapping science of the ‘dry and the wet’ part of the brain: where dry represents the cognitive part (mind, emotions, and senses), and where wet represents the brain. This combination of scientific disciplines tries to explain the connection between neural activities in the brain and mental processes, in order to find answers to the questions of how neural circuits in the brain affect cognition.

This blog series addresses the interplay between the brain, behavior, and emotions, in the field of cognitive neuroscience:

blue brain

Autism research: Observing infants to detect autism

Making the same movement multiple times, or making repetitive movements, is an important step in the development of a newborn child and them learning how to use their limbs. Repeating these movements is typical for motor development; but an increased frequency of repetitive movements can be an early indicator for neurodevelopmental disorders.

Purpura et al. conducted a retrospective analysis of video clips taken from home videos recorded by parents, to verify if a higher frequency of repetitive movements could differentiate infants with ASD from infants with Developmental Delay (DD) and Typical Development (TD), analyzing the age range between six and 12 months. 

Read more about their study here.

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Adolescent research

How are adolescents’ emotions socialized by mothers and close friends? What can parents do to prevent escalating conflicts? What is the role of early childhood stress and inhibitory control adolescent substance use? These and more studies are excellent examples of adolescent research:

On-site observational studies

In some cases observations for your study are best performed on-site. For example, you might want to observe people in a natural setting: at home, in a shop, in the classroom, or in the office.

Another case where on-site research would be beneficial is when your participants are experiencing health issues, preventing them from travelling to your lab. Conducting your research on location enables you to study people that are otherwise difficult to reach.

In this blog post, we highlighted two cases of on-site observational studies with older age groups, conducted at home or at a healthcare facility.

Doctor-patient interactions and the use of humor

Science has proven that laughter is healthy. However, how often is humor actually used during doctor-patient interactions? To characterize the logistics of humor in medical encounters, e.g. frequency, who introduces it, or what it is about, researcher Phillips and her team analyzed audio/video-recorded clinical encounters to describe the frequency and other features of humor in outpatient primary and specialty care visits. 

doctor asking questions to a patient

More healthcare research examples

Healthcare research - sometimes also called "medical research" or "clinical research" - refers to research that is done to learn more about healthcare outcomes. There are plenty of healthcare research examples on our Behavioral Research Blog:

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Emotion analysis: The emotions of people who think they're nice

What does ‘nice’ actually mean in relation to psychological variables? And does it positively correlate with self-reported levels of health, happiness, and wellbeing? Researchers of i2 media research from the Goldsmiths University of London, UK, developed a tailored questionnaire to explore this and got some interesting results

Read this: Must-see TED Talks on emotions

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Sensory science and eating behavior

Sensory science focusses on the effects of sensory (like taste, smell) and metabolic signals (like nutritional properties, hormones) on the physiological and neurobiological responses underlying eating behavior.

Professor Kees de Graaf (Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands) has been involved in sensory science and resarch into eating behavior for years. Things like measuring bite size, chewing behavior and frequency are vital in order to understand eating behavior. He hopes that in 5-10 years, we will be able to measure food intake in an accurate way without interfering with subjects.

Watch the movie below to learn more about his research.

Consumers' food choices and emotions

Is there a relationship between food choice and a person’s mood? Bartkiene et al. examined the factors that influence our food choice, using facial expression analysis. 

User Experience Research

User experience (UX) is the overall experience of a person using a product (a website, app, game, e.g.) or service, and his or her emotions and attitudes while using it. UX research dives into these user experiences, often carried out in a lab.

A UX Lab is used for usability testing and user experience research. Users are observed in a specific environment while interacting with a product or system. Most UX research is conducted in state-of-the-art UX labs.

Understanding the digital world at the Social Media Lab -  In this unique lab, technology is applied to understanding user experience, behavior on social media, and much more.

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