Social behavioral research can involve non-human animals and human subjects. Until 1960 social behavior was devoid of any concept regarding right and wrong method of conducting research. Subsequently code of ethics was developed for research with both animal and human subjects. Animal research has been deemed important for both animal welfare as well as humanity at large. Yet historically many researchers have inflicted harm to animals. Cotemporary research with animal subjects is guided by Ethical and Animal Care Committees as well as APA ethical guidelines. It is recommended that any such research should be under provisions of country's legislation and highly significant towards scientific knowledge. In all cases animals should be taken care of and their exposure to harm minimized. Research involving human subjects should be approved by IRB and deception only be used if its absolutely necessary for research. Informed consent, debriefing, confidentially, voluntary participation and safety of participants are few factors that make research using human subjects ethical. .
Social behavior is simply defined as the action of a single member of specie towards or in presence of other members. In the field of psychology, social psychology explores the causes of a particular social behavior among human beings. Human is a social animal, and most of actions it performs can be categorized as social acts. For example courtship, helping others in a crisis, speaking in public or an even a war raged against ones enemy can be termed as a social acts (Homans, 1961). By using methods such as experimentation, systematic observation or co-relational studies, research in social behavior which involves either humans or animal subjects do not differ from other behavioral sciences research fields (Baron & Byrne, 1984). Above and beyond the ethical standards to be maintained in social behavior research greatly overlaps with other research fields such as animal research, psychology or organizational behavior or psychology.