The Difference between Sociology and Psychology

What is the difference between sociology and psychology? In my search to find the answer to this question, I first looked up the definition of sociology and psychology.

Sociology is defined as:

The scientific study of human social behavior and its origins, development, organizations, and institutions.


1. the science or study of the origin, development, organization, and functioning of human society.
2. the science of fundamental laws of social behavior, relations, institutions, etc. sociologist, n. sociological, adj.

Psychology is defined as:


(s-kl-j)n. pl. psychologies 1. The science that deals with mental processes and behavior.2. The emotional and behavioral characteristics of an individual, group, or activity: the psychology of war.3. Subtle tactical action or argument used to manipulate or influence another: He used poor psychology on his employer when trying to make the point.4. Philosophy The branch of metaphysics that studies the soul, the mind, and the relationship of life and mind to the functions of the

psychology [sakld]n pl -gies1. (Psychology) the scientific study of all forms of human and animal behaviour, sometimes concerned with the methods through which behaviour can be modified
2. (Psychology) Informal the mental make-up or structure of an individual that causes him or her to think or act in the way he or she does

In looking up the answer to, “The difference between sociology and psychology”, I found many variations to the question. The one I found to be most helpful and clear came from @…

Psychology vs. Sociology

Psychology examines more of the workings of the human mind, why persons think and behave as they do. Sociology tends to examine groups of persons (societies), communities, and nations. They might examine and discuss such things as folkways, mores, changes in populations, effects of events on entire communities, etc… So one way to look at it is that psychology is more about the individual or small group, and sociology is more about communities and larger groups of persons.

Additional Response: Difference Between Psychology and Sociology

In addition, during studies of Psychology and Sociology, both are meant to benefit individuals and individuals/communities within society which inevitably would benefit the society as a whole.

Personal perception of the Difference between Psychology and Sociology is that Psychology is optimistic (believing in a “cure”) in that the individual may be helped so that the individual may function independently in personal relationships and within the community appropriately.

It seems as though Sociology, much needed, intervenes and assists individuals and families through the hardships and crises they face through continuous support as needed or deemed necessary. Simply, Psychology may be perceived as a goal toward independence, while Sociology might be perceived as the support necessary to sustain families and society.

This is not to say the Sociology does not provide programs of support toward independence. It does. One example being parenting classes. Etiology is of importance to both, Psychology and Sociology.

If you want a simple answer:

In psychology, you study the way the brain functions and how it affects the way people behave.

In sociology, you study groups of people (i.e. communities) and the way they are affected by outside sources.

I hope you find this information to be helpful in understanding the differences between sociology and psychology