How Does Cognitive Science Differ From Psychology?


Diego Sanchez

Cognitive science and psychology are two fields that are often confused with one another. While both deal with the study of the mind and behavior, they differ in several ways. In this article, we will explore how cognitive science differs from psychology.

What is Cognitive Science?

Cognitive science is a multidisciplinary field that draws from various disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, linguistics, neuroscience, computer science, and anthropology to study the mind and its processes. It focuses on understanding how people think, reason, learn, perceive, and communicate.

What is Psychology?

Psychology is a scientific study of behavior and mental processes. It deals with the analysis of human behavior in different situations and how it can be influenced by various factors such as biological, psychological, cultural, and social.

Differences between Cognitive Science and Psychology

1. Scope: Psychology has a broader scope as compared to cognitive science.

It includes both the conscious and unconscious aspects of human behavior. On the other hand, cognitive science mainly focuses on conscious mental processes.

2. Approach: Cognitive science takes an interdisciplinary approach that combines theories and methods from different fields such as psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, etc. Psychology takes a more traditional approach that relies on empirical research methods to understand human behavior.

3. Focus: While cognitive science focuses on mental processes such as perception, attention, memory, language processing etc., psychology focuses on various domains of human behavior such as social interaction, personality development etc.

4. Perspective: Cognitive science takes an information-processing perspective that views the mind as a system that receives input from the environment processes it to produce output. Psychology takes a broader perspective that considers different factors influencing human behavior.

Career Opportunities in Cognitive Science vs Psychology

1. Cognitive Science: A degree in cognitive science equips you with skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication. You can pursue a career as a cognitive scientist, research analyst, UX designer, data analyst, AI developer, or a language specialist.

2. Psychology: A degree in psychology can open doors to careers such as clinical psychologist, research analyst, counselor, social worker, human resources manager or market research analyst.


Cognitive science and psychology are two distinct fields that deal with the study of the mind and behavior. While they share some similarities in terms of their subject matter, they differ in scope, approach, focus and perspective. It’s important to understand these differences before choosing a career path in either field.