Psychology and Sociology are two broad disciplines which are related to the study of humans, wherein ‘psychology’ refers to the study of the human mind, i.e. it is concerned with what’s going on inside the brain of a person, to understand the reasons of his/her behaviour in different circumstances. On the contrary, ‘sociology’ implies the study of human behaviour in a group or society and reasons thereof.
Where psychology focuses on an individual, i.e. it studies an individual, his/her behaviour, thoughts, feelings and mental characteristics at a time. Sociology aims at analysing the behaviour pattern of a group of people. It also studies the reasons that make them follow a particular religion, belief, culture, custom, etc.
So, basically, psychology is all about a person’s ‘nature’, i.e. what you are born with, while sociology is about ‘nurture’, i.e. what a person raised or brought up with. Take a read of the article below, to understand the difference between psychology and sociology.
Content: Psychology Vs Sociology
|Basis for Comparison||Psychology||Sociology|
|Meaning||Psychology is the systematic study of human mind and behavior using various techniques.||Sociology is the study of origin, development, structure and functioning of the society and social interaction.|
|Science||Special Science||General Science|
|Subject area||Human Mind and behavior||Social Behavior of an Individual in a group|
|Studies||Individuals||Groups and Society|
|Deals with||Human Emotions||Interaction with people|
|Assumption||Individual's mental characteristics are responsible for his activities and behavior.||Individuals are influenced by their surroundings.|
Definition of Psychology
Psychology can be understood as the methodical research and learning of mental processes, experiences and behaviours of a human being and the relationship between them, whether apparent or not. It is the study of a person’s mind, as to how it functions and influences the behaviour?
The term ‘psychology’ is a combination of two Greek words ‘psyche’ and ‘logos’ which means ‘soul’ and ‘study’ respectively. In this way, psychology refers to the study of the soul.
Aspects of Psychology
Psychology analyses three main aspects of human nature, which are:
- Experience: Several personal and private human experiences are studied by the psychologists so as to understand the personal world of a person. It includes dreams, conscious experiences of an individual at various phases of life and altered consciousness experiences, by way of medication or meditations.
- Mental Process: It also studies the mental processes of a human being wherein the thoughts going on in the brain of an individual are read. In this study, a person’s internal mental activities are investigated, with their attitude and behaviour in specific situations. It includes the investigation of perception, thinking, learning and remembering, etc.
- Behaviour: Psychology also studies the behaviour of a person, which includes analysis of basic reflexes, response patterns and complex behaviour, either through direct observation or measurement through scientific instruments. Basically, the behaviour of a person is reflected in his activities such as body language, gesture, facial expressions, as he/she responds to a stimulus in a particular situation.
At the time of observing the behaviour of an individual, the psychologists seek to know the processes which influence the behaviour of a person. The process is represented in the figure below:
Definition of Sociology
Sociology can be understood as the social science which systematically studies social relationships, interactions, culture and behaviour of a person in the society. The subject area of sociology is not an individual, rather it attempts to look further, i.e. it examines societies, concerning particular associations or groups of individuals.
The term ‘sociology’ is a combination of the Latin word ‘socius’ and the Greek word ‘logus’, which means ‘companion or associate’ and ‘study’ respectively. So, sociology refers to the study of companionship or human association.
Sociology studies how people in a group interact with each other and how a person’s behaviour is determined by social groups, category, such as age, class, gender, etc. and institutions, i.e. religion, caste, education, politics etc. It is a scientific study, as in it investigates and analyses the social reality using logical methods, considering verifiable evidence and interpretation. Further, the social status, movements, stratification and change, are also studied in this discipline.
Key Differences Between Psychology and Sociology
The difference between psychology and sociology are discussed in the points given below:
- Psychology is the study of a human being, in relation to his/her experiences, mental well being and behaviour pattern. On the other hand, sociology is the science of human association, which studies an individual’s action in the social context.
- While psychology is a special science that studies an individual mind and its functions, which directs and controls the behaviour. Sociology is a general science wherein the sociologists analyze the structure of groups, societies and institutions and the way in which people interact.
- When it comes to the subject area, psychology studies the human mind and behaviour, whereas sociology studies the behaviour of a person when he/she is in a group or in the middle of people.
- In psychology, the psychologists tend to examine and analyse one person at a time. As against, in sociology, the sociologists analyse the society or a group as a whole.
- In psychology reading a person mind and the reasons for his/her behaviour in a particular way is an experimental process. In contrast, in sociology, the sociologists observe the individual’s behaviour in society and the way in which societal views, beliefs and culture, etc. influences a person.
- While psychology deals with human emotions, sociology is concerned with human interactions.
- Psychology assumes that an individual’s mental characteristics regulate his/her behaviour. Conversely, sociology assumes that individuals are significantly influenced by society, which governs an individual’s behaviour.
Social Psychology is one such branch of psychology, which studies the impact of people on the thought, feelings and behaviour of an individual. Psychology tends to study an individual, in terms of his mental characteristics to know the reasons for his/her behaviour in a particular way. On the other hand, psychology is concerned with the origin, development and structure of the human society.
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