Difference Between Social Psychology & Sociology

Education related to society is essential for shaping individuals into socially responsible beings. Both social psychology and sociology examine societal behavior as a whole, exploring factors that influence this behavior, and analyzing the role of culture and religion. Although both fields share similarities and aim to improve society, their approaches vary significantly.

What is Social Psychology?

Social psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on society. Psychologist Gordon Allport defines it as “a discipline that uses scientific methods to understand and explain how the thought, feeling, and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of other human beings” (1985). Areas of study within social psychology include social perception, group behavior, aggression, prejudice, conformity, and leadership. The foundation of social psychology dates back to the time of Plato, who referred to it as “crowd mind.” However, genuine interest in the field emerged after World War II. Social psychology is scientific and experimental, with social psychologists examining situational variables to explain social behaviors and exploring the links between social environments, attitudes, and behaviors.

What is Sociology?

Sociology is a broader subject that studies human relationships and institutions. It encompasses a wide range of aspects that impact society, examining the influence of religion, culture, race, social classes, economic status, and caste systems on societal functioning. Sociologists study changes in society, whether drastic or minor, and investigate the reasons behind even the slightest alterations. Sociology covers everything an individual experiences in a lifetime, from romantic love, racial and gender identity, family conflict, deviant behavior, aging, and religious faith, to crime and law, poverty and wealth, prejudice and discrimination, schools and education, business firms, urban communities, and global issues such as war and peace. The research methods employed in sociology differ from those in social psychology. Sociologists gather data over more extended periods, conduct large-scale surveys and censuses, and use statistics and other tools to interpret available information, such as historical data.

Key Takeaways

  • Social psychology is a branch of psychology, while sociology is not.
  • Social psychology is a narrower subject area than sociology, which is diverse and extensive.
  • The approaches and methods used in social psychology and sociology differ significantly, with social psychology employing situational variables and scientific methods, and sociology using statistics, population observations, censuses, and other methods.
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles