Sociology Vs Psychology: What You Should Know

In today’s article, we’ll be discussing sociology vs psychology, in terms of differences, similarities, and their scope of operation. In spite of the fact that there is a close relationship between them, there are certain points of difference between sociology and psychology. Psychology is primarily concerned with the experience and behavior of an individual. Sociology, on the other hand, is concerned with the role that an individual plays in society.

sociology vs psychology

Table of Contents:

Sociology Scope Of Study

Sociology is the scientific study of society and social interaction. Sociology provides an understanding of how the individual is located in and attached to various levels of social structures within a society. It seeks to identify and explain the relationship between an individual and various social groups, how each of these social groups is intricately connected, and the idea of social change.

It seeks to provide a description and analysis of the patterns and organizations that shape human behavior in contemporary social life. As a discipline Sociology seeks to interpret empirical evidence and look for patterns of relationships and inequality among the main institutions of society – family, education, work, and the media.

Psychology Scope Of Study

Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior. The word “psychology” comes from the Greek words “psyche,” meaning life, and “logos,” meaning explanation. Psychology is a popular major for students, a popular topic in the public media, and a part of our everyday lives.

The study of individual behavior and mental processes is part of psychology; the field is concerned with such issues as motivation, perception, cognition, creativity, mental disorders, and personality. More than any other social science, psychology uses laboratory experiments.

Psychology provides an understanding of the mind and human behavior and experiences of the individual. Its goals are to describe, understand, predict and control behavior. Whenever possible psychologists seek empirical evidence (objective and observable) based on scientific observation. Important steps in scientific investigation usually include defining a problem, reviewing the literature, proposing a hypothesis, choosing a research design, collecting the necessary data, analyzing the results, and drawing conclusions.

Sociology Vs Psychology

Here we’ll be looking at some notable differences between psychology and sociology: in terms of their aims and objective, their differences in explaining social issues, research method, etc.

Different in Aims And Objective

The main subject matter of psychology is to study the human mind to analyses attitude, behavior emotions, perceptions, and values which lead to the formation of individual personality living in the social environment. While sociology deals with the study of the social environment, social collectives include family, communities, and other social institutions.

Psychology aims to know how men think, feel, and will; sociology aims to know what men think, feel and do, and why that which is thought, felt, and done by the men of certain groups or social classes differs as it does from that which is thought, felt and done by other men who belong to other groups or classes.

Psychology has to do with “thinking,” and not with the conflicting opinions of men, with volition, not with different forms of civilized or uncivilized activity; but sociology is engaged-with opinions and beliefs, with ideals, customs, and institutions which characterize different populations or social classes.

Different In Analyzing Social Issues

The sociologist’s perspective on social issues is broader than that of the psychologist, as in the case of alcoholism, for example. The psychologist might view alcoholism as a personal problem that has the potential to destroy an individual’s physical and emotional health as well as his or her marriage, career, and friendships.

The sociologist, however, would look for patterns in alcoholism. Although each alcoholic makes the decision to take each drink— and each suffers the pain of addiction—the sociologist would remind us to look beyond the personal characteristics and to think about the broader aspects of alcoholism.

Sociologists want to know what types of people drink excessively when they drink, where they drink, and under what conditions they drink. They are also interested in the social costs of chronic drinking—costs in terms of families torn apart, jobs lost, children severely abused and neglected; costs in terms of highway accidents and deaths; costs in terms of drunken quarrels leading to violence and to murder. Sociologists might ask what forces are at work to account for these patterns.

Different In carrying out Research Methods

Sociologists often begin the research process by asking a question about how or why things happen in this world. It might be a unique question about a new trend or an old question about a common aspect of life. Once a question is formed, a sociologist proceeds through an in-depth process to answer it. In deciding how to design that process, the researcher may adopt a scientific approach or an interpretive framework.

Sociologists make use of tried and true methods of research, such as experiments, surveys, and field research. But humans and their social interactions are so diverse that they can seem impossible to chart or explain.

An extremely wide range of research methods is used in psychology to pursue their particular goals. To study verbal and nonverbal behavior and mental processes in humans, these include questionnaires, ratings, self-reports, and case studies; tests of personality, attitudes, and intelligence; structured interviews; daily diary records; and direct observation and behavior sampling outside the laboratory.

Different laboratory measures are used to study perception, attention, memory, decision making, delay of gratification, self-control, and many other visual, cognitive, and emotional processes, at levels of both conscious and automatic or unconscious information processing.

The main difference between sociology and psychology in the research method is that psychology conducts research in a laboratory while sociology doesn’t carry out laboratory research.

Sociology Vs. Psychology Degree

Careers in sociology offer many paths for professionals in industries such as business, education, and health. Graduates with a degree in sociology can pursue careers like market research analyst and mental health counselor, the criminal justice system, administrators, community organizers. Individuals can also teach high school classes or earn a doctorate to teach college courses.

There are many different options available to psychology degree holders, depending on their specializations and interests, such as Psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, counselors, educational psychologists, human resource managers, teachers, researchers, and media.


Below are the similarities between sociology and psychology:

Psychology and sociology overlap in a subdivision of each field known as social psychology—the study of how human behavior is influenced and shaped by various social situations. Social psychologists study such issues as how individuals in a group solve problems and reach a consensus or what factors might produce nonconformity in a group situation. Generally, however, psychology studies the individual, and sociology studies groups of individuals as well as society’s institutions.

We hope you have gained one or two things from our discussing on sociology vs psychology. You can check our other articles related to the social psychology vs sociology.