Psychology and sociology have their differences and similarities. However, this essay will mainly focus on the differences between their approaches and how they are applicable in the real world. Psychology, fundamentally, is the study of behaviour and of the functions and processes of the human mind, especially relating to the social and physical environment while sociology is defined as the study of social life, social change and the social causes and consequences of human behaviour. Psychologists are more interested with what occurs within people, which includes emotions, perceptions, learning, personality and thinking. Sociologists, on the other hand, mainly focus on what occurs among people. These occurrences could be things such as interpersonal relationships, negotiating conflicts, and the effect of social systems like education and politics on personal and group behaviour (Benokraitis, 2009).
Psychology focusses on the human mind and how and why people think and behave they way they do. Sociology examines groups of people, communities, societies and even nations. They might research on things such as changes in population, effects of events on entire communities and culture. One way to look at it is that psychology is more about the individual or small groups and sociology is more about larger groups of people such as communities, societies. While the difference is significant, these two sciences do have similarities as well as an intersection between them. They are both beneficial to the society and see etiology, the study of causation or origination, as of great importance (Ellis, 2010). There is also a sub-field in psychology known as social psychology that is a discipline which uses scientific methods “to understand and explain how the thought, feeling and behaviour of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined and implied presence of other human beings” (Gordon Allport, 1985). Social psychology looks at a wide range of social topics, including group behavior, social perception, leadership, nonverbal behaviour, conformity, aggression, and prejudice. It is important to note that social psychology is not just about looking at social influences. Social perception and social interaction are also vital to understanding social behavior.