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Difference Between Social Psychology and Sociology

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Main Difference

The main difference between Social Psychology and Sociology is that Social Psychology studies society concerning its interaction with an individual by applying the psychological theories, whereas Sociology studies all the social networks through empirical methods and critical analysis of research data collected.

Social Psychology vs. Sociology

Social psychology is the study of the influence of society on people’s behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. Sociology is the study of the origin of society, its organization, networks, and other central aspects to explain important issues. A person who is a social psychologist gets work at consulting organizations, elementary and secondary schools, hospitals, social welfare centers, charity organizations, and the like. A sociologist works as a legislative assistant, human rights/resources officer, communications assistant, labor relations officer, etc.

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Social psychology studies the cause of specific reactions by the people in the presence of other people. Sociology explains important issues of the world’s society by analyzing its origins, institutions, and organization. Social psychology studies the society concerning its interaction with an individual by applying psychological theories. The research methods which are specifically employed in social psychology are testing hypotheses by the experimental, correlational, and observational methods and the survey research; it is the social networks by applying empirical methods and critical analysis of research data collected. Sociologists, on the other hand, use the techniques of research methods like quantitative design and qualitative design.

Social psychology is known as the area of sociology. Sociology is a study of society in a much broader scope. The main focus of social psychologists is on the individuals and the ways social factors impact their behavior. The main focus of sociology is on society as a whole or various large groups within society.

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Comparison Chart

Social PsychologySociology
Social science that studies society concerning its interaction with an individual by applying the psychological theories is social psychologySocial science studies all the social networks through empirical methods, and critical analysis of research data collected is sociology
Aim
Individual’s typical behavior in a groupCovers the whole society and its connection with outer and internal factors
Study
The influence of society on people’s behaviors, thoughts, and emotionsThe origin of society, its organization, networks, and other central aspects
Research Methods
Experimental, correlational, observational methods and the survey researchQuantitative design and qualitative design
Main Focus
On the individuals and the ways, social factors impact their behaviorOn the society as a whole or various large groups within society
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What is Social Psychology?

Social psychology is an area of sociology that aims at inspecting social influence on people’s behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. The study of cultural norms and social media falls under the category of social psychology. It studies the cause of specific reactions by the people in the presence of other people. It includes the triggering conditions that are likely to affect emotions, behavior, and actions. For example, the negative comments on the picture of a person on social media sometimes lead them to depression, the opposing comments of different people belonging to different religions or sects on a post, etc.

Social psychology is a significant area of sociology. Social psychologists have to get their bachelor’s degree in studying psychology or sociology at the bachelor’s level, and then they further earn a master’s degree in social psychology. These social psychologists are having a thorough understanding of human behavior, plus extensive training in research methods. Their career path directs them to work as instructors or researchers at the college or university level. They can teach subjects such as psychology, business, political science, health sciences, and education.

Other jobs or professions for social psychologists are consultants, researchers, political strategists, marketing directors, and the other similar roles in the private sector. Social psychologists are also working by helping others with their problems or giving them free counseling online. They also work in nonprofit organizations to design and evaluate public policies and programs. People concerning the field of social psychology gets work at consulting organizations, elementary and secondary schools, hospitals, social welfare centers, and charity organizations.

What is Sociology?

Sociology is known as a social science that aims to study the society and its elements using critical analysis and empirical methods. The elements of the society include its origins, organization, institutions, and networks. The main focus of sociology focus is on society as a whole or various large groups within society. It studies the patterns of behavior and their effects on shaping the world. For example, in research regarding the impact of religious organizations, it would be examined whether the churches in a specific area have any effect on crime, income, or education.

“Sociology is the scientific study of the society and its and evaluation.” (American Sociological Association). It is a body of knowledge that directs change, the social order, and disorder in a society. The study area of sociologists is social classes, racial divisions, religion and state, family and society, radical change, and social stability. Sociology analyzes social interaction, relationships with others, and culture. Sociologists study these interactions and examine their relationships with other social strata.

Moreover, it aims to study the patterns of behavior and their variation due to individual choices and actions. A person getting a bachelor’s degree in sociology can be a sociologist. Sociologists work in areas like public health, data management, nonprofit management, and academic leadership. It studies from a lower to a higher level, e.g., the complexities of relationships between two people, to the businesses and their impact on both local and global economies.

Key Differences

  1. Social psychology studies the cause of specific reactions by the people in the presence of other people; in contrast, sociology explains important issues the whole world society by analyzing society’s origins, institutions, organization.
  2. Social psychology aims to study how an individual typically behaves in a group; on the contrary, sociology covers the whole society and its connection with external and internal factors.
  3. Social psychology is the study of the influence of society on people’s behaviors, thoughts, and emotions; on the other hand, sociology is the study of the origin of society, its organization, networks, and other central aspects.
  4. Social psychology is known as the area of sociology; contrarily, sociology is a study of society in a much broader scope.
  5. The main focus of social psychologists is on the individuals and the ways social factors impact their behavior; on the flip side, the main focus of sociology is on the society as a whole or various large groups within society.
  6. Social psychology studies the society concerning its interaction with an individual by applying psychological theories. In contrast, sociology studies all the social networks through empirical methods and critical analysis of research data collected.
  7. The research methods which are used explicitly in social psychology are experimental, correlational, observational methods, and the survey research; on the converse, the research methods employed in sociology are quantitative design and qualitative design.

Comparison Video

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Conclusion

Social psychology and sociology are related to social sciences, but both the terms are not interchangeable because they are different. The difference is based on the areas of study, educational paths, and career trajectories. However, both fields are concerned with understanding the relationship between society and its members.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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