Difference Wiki

Psychology vs. Social Psychology: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 23, 2023
Psychology studies individual behavior and mental processes; social psychology focuses on how individuals are influenced by social contexts.

Key Differences

Psychology encompasses the scientific study of mind and behavior, while social psychology specifically examines how individuals' thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by others.
Psychology covers various areas like cognitive, developmental, and clinical psychology. Social psychology, a subset of psychology, zeroes in on how societal factors impact individual behavior.
Both psychology and social psychology use experimental methods, but social psychology more often explores interpersonal and group dynamics.
Psychology applies its principles across various fields like healthcare and education, whereas social psychology focuses on understanding social interactions, group behavior, and societal influences.
Psychological theories address broad aspects of human behavior, while social psychology theories specifically explain how social influences shape individual behavior.

Comparison Chart


Study of mind and behavior.
Study of how social contexts influence behavior.


Broad, covering all aspects of human behavior.
Focused on social influences and interactions.

Research Focus

Individual cognition, emotion, development.
Group dynamics, social influence, perception.

Application Areas

Healthcare, education, therapy.
Group behavior, social issues, communication.

Theoretical Approach

Addresses individual mental processes.
Concentrates on societal impact on individuals.

Psychology and Social Psychology Definitions


The scientific study of the human mind and behavior.
Psychology helps understand the causes of mental health disorders.

Social Psychology

A branch of psychology focusing on social influences.
Social psychology looks at how advertising influences consumer behavior.


The exploration of interpersonal relationships and personality.
Personality psychology examines why different people have unique traits.

Social Psychology

The study of how individuals are influenced by social interactions.
Social psychology explores the impact of group pressure on decision-making.


An approach to understanding human behavior and thought.
Clinical psychology provides therapies based on behavioral studies.

Social Psychology

The analysis of group dynamics and social perception.
In social psychology, researchers study how stereotypes form.


A field examining cognitive and emotional processes.
In psychology, researchers study how memory works.

Social Psychology

An investigation into how societal norms shape behaviors.
Social psychology examines how cultural norms dictate social behavior.


The analysis of individual developmental stages.
Developmental psychology focuses on how children learn and grow.

Social Psychology

The exploration of social roles and identity formation.
Social psychology studies how people's roles in groups affect their identity.


The science that deals with mental processes and behavior.


The emotional and behavioral characteristics of an individual, a group, or those engaged in a given activity
The psychology of war.


How do psychology and social psychology differ in focus?

Psychology has a broader focus on mental processes and behavior, while social psychology specifically looks at social influences.

What types of methods do psychologists use?

Psychologists use methods like experiments, surveys, and case studies.

What topics might a social psychologist study?

Social psychologists study topics like conformity, group behavior, and social perception.

Where do psychologists work?

Psychologists work in various settings like clinics, schools, and research institutions.

Can social psychology be considered a part of psychology?

Yes, social psychology is a specialized branch within psychology.

What is psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior.

What is social psychology?

Social psychology focuses on how individuals are influenced by social contexts.

Are the theories in psychology different from social psychology?

Yes, psychological theories are broader, while social psychology theories specifically address social aspects.

Can psychology be applied to improve mental health?

Yes, psychology provides insights and treatments for improving mental health.

What role does culture play in psychology?

Culture significantly influences individual behavior and mental processes, a key interest in psychology.

How has social psychology evolved over time?

It has grown to include a wider range of social phenomena, including technology's impact on society.

Do social psychologists conduct experiments?

Yes, they often conduct experiments to understand social behavior.

How does social psychology impact everyday life?

It helps in understanding group behavior, social interactions, and societal influences in daily life.

Is social psychology relevant in organizational settings?

Yes, it's vital for understanding workplace dynamics and leadership.

Are psychological theories universally applicable?

While many theories have broad applicability, cultural differences can impact their relevance.

What is the goal of social psychology research?

To understand and explain how social factors influence individual behavior and thought.

How does social psychology contribute to understanding prejudice?

It examines how societal norms and group interactions contribute to the formation of prejudices.

Is an understanding of psychology essential for a social psychologist?

Yes, a foundational knowledge of general psychology is crucial for specializing in social psychology.

Can social psychology help in conflict resolution?

Yes, by understanding group dynamics and communication, it can aid in resolving conflicts.

Do psychology and social psychology overlap in certain areas?

Yes, they overlap in areas like social cognition and interpersonal relationships.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons