Sociology, anthropology and psychology are studies, theories and ideas involved the study of humankind. More often than not, the individual studies of either subject overlap slightly into one or the other. Therefore, they are the trinity to the study of man. To the untrained, social sciences may appear to be the same. However, as a student progresses through their individual learning, they encounter many theories. These new theories open even more doors to further learning. Consequently, it sometimes becomes confusing as to why, for example, the student reads and learns from an anthropologists writings when they themselves are studying sociology. To explain further, one must understand that, although each of the sciences can and often do compliment each other, they are different sciences or disciplines in their own right.
Sociology is the scientific and biological study of societies and social relationships. Its main purpose is to give sociologists an insight into human behaviour. Sociology studies how and why we behave as a society, group, family or religion member for example. Sociology asks diverse questions from ‘why do people fall in love?’ ‘How did ancient executions took place?’ among others. Sociologists collect volumes of data based on comparative, developmental and theoretical questions. Comparative questions often compare social context between countries, such as the differences in criminal behaviour and /or policing. Developmental questions plot a route from pre-existing societies to the present day, in order to study the process of a particular subject, such as the beginning of the welfare state. Theoretical questions (empirical a sociolological term), asks the question ‘why’ things happen. Empirical questions study theories such as industrialisation.
Anthropology is the study of humanity throughout time. Physical anthropology involves – Biology, the study of living organisms. Demography, the study of populations as a whole. Archaeology, analysis of remains of humans, animals, crops etc. Social or cultural anthropology otherwise known in the United States as sociocultural anthropology, Studies the structures and cultures produced by humankind. Sociocultural anthropologists’ study many of the same theories and theorists as scholars of sociology. However, socioculteral anthropology differs in methods used, such as linguistics (languages). Therefore is not the same as sociology.
Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour within humans and animals, concentrating on theories concerned with human mental behaviour. Psychological studies include – Psychoanalysis, the study of a person’s sub-conscious cravings and urges. One belief is that unconscious urges lead to a person’s unstable or neurotic behaviour. Behaviourism, the study of behaviour. Studies included using animals in experiments for understanding learning by rewarding them for good behaviour. And, Humanistic movement, which emphasises ‘the self’. More importantly, how a person sees themselves through the eyes of others, otherwise known as self-perception.
Although some sociology, anthropology and psychology disciplines can be beneficial to each other, they are as far apart from each other as any scientific theory, any scientific study and any social scientist who studies them.