Difference between Sociology and Psychology

Key Difference: Sociology is the study of the human social behavior. The study focuses on understanding the various social activities, functions, structures and roles of the human society. Psychology is the study of the human mind and how it functions. Psychology is a diverse discipline that has to do with understanding the function of the brain as well as applying the knowledge to help people, organizations and communities function better.

Sociology and psychology are two different types of studies relating to the humans. Sociology is the study of group behavior and how a society works, while psychology is the study of the human mind and thought. These two studies are used to understand how humans’ brain functions, how they do certain things, interact with each other and many other things. Using these two studies; researchers and scientists can discover many things about the humans. Sociology has been used to understand how many older cultures used to function.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines Sociology as, “The study of human social behavior, especially the study of the origins, organization, institutions, and development of human society.” The study focuses on understanding the various social activities, functions, structures and roles of the human society. Sociologists use various different methods such as empirical investigation, critical analysis, interviews, polls, etc. to understand the human society. The study delves into various different topics such as social class, culture, secularization, law, race and ethnicity, social stratification, gender and sexuality, social mobility, religion and deviance. The purpose of such findings is to understand different cultures and see the trend between the past, present and predict future trends in societies. Sociology can be dated back to Plato, but is believed to exist even before then.

Psychology is the study of the human mind and how it functions. The American Psychological Association defines Psychology as a diverse discipline that has to do with understanding the function of the brain as well as applying the knowledge to help people, organizations and communities function better. Psychology deals with individual beings and how they behave and interact with their peers and surroundings. This subject can also be used to change certain behavioral habits for people that suffer from psychological disorders. Psychologists focus on different activities such as perception, cognition, attention, emotion, phenomenology, motivation, brain functioning, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships. They also deal with the subconscious and the unconscious mind. The main purpose of a psychologist is to determine how a human reacts to a certain situation and why the person reacts the way he does.  It is an important study that allows many people to understand why them may act in a certain way and how they can fix this. Psychology can be dated back to the ancient civilizations.

These two studies may seem similar as it both deal with humans and their behaviors; however, they have many differences between them. While, psychology requires studying a single person to a small group; sociology deals with studying how big groups. Psychology focuses on how a human is wired and how he/she reacts to certain situations. It can also help determine if they require any medical help such as medications, therapy, etc. Sociology deals with how societies exist and how they interact with each other. These two are important studies that help us understand ourselves as well as our surroundings.

 

Sociology

Psychology

Definition

Sociology is the study of group behavior within a society.

Psychology is the study of behavior and functions of the human mind.

History

Sociology can be dated back to Plato, but is believed to exist before that.

Psychology dates back to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, China, India, and Persia.

Etymology

Derived from the French word ‘sociologie’. The term has been taken from combining Latin word ‘socius’ meaning “associate” or “companion” and ‘logy’ meaning “study”.

The word ‘psychology’ literally means “study of the soul”. The term has been combined using Ancient Greek ‘ψυχή’ (‘psukhē’, “soul”) + -logia (“study of”).

Focuses on

Behavior of groups, interpersonal relationships, negotiating conflict, effect of social systems, response to certain social systems.

Social stratification, social class, culture, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, social mobility, religion, secularization, law, and deviance

Emotions, learning, understanding, ability to process thing, how the individual’s brain works.

Perception, cognition, attention, emotion, phenomenology, motivation, brain functioning, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships.

Purpose

To understand how a community acts like a whole. Also helps understand cultural differences.

Ability to understand how a human’s mind works. What they think, what triggers certain thoughts, etc.

Practitioner

Sociologist

Psychologist

Number of Participants

Large groups of people such as communities.

Individual or small groups of people.

Uses

Understand how a society functions and how each society differs from each other. Insight into different social cultures.

Understand how a brain works. Also used to help treat many disorders relating to the brain.

Image Courtesy: 2012books.lardbucket.org, sgspsychology.webs.com

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