Is Psychology a Social Studies Class or Science Class?


Martha Robinson

Is Psychology a Social Studies Class or Science Class?

Psychology is a fascinating field that explores the intricacies of the human mind and behavior. However, there has been ongoing debate about whether psychology should be considered a social studies class or a science class. Let’s delve deeper into this question and explore the different perspectives.

Social Studies Perspective

From a social studies perspective, psychology can be seen as an interdisciplinary field that draws upon various social sciences such as sociology, anthropology, and political science. It focuses on understanding human behavior within the context of social and cultural factors.

Psychology as an interdisciplinary field

One argument supporting the classification of psychology as a social studies class is its interdisciplinary nature. It incorporates theories and concepts from different social sciences to gain insights into human behavior. For instance, sociological theories help explain how societal norms and structures influence individual behavior, while anthropological perspectives shed light on cultural influences on cognition and perception.

Emphasis on subjective experiences

Social studies classes often emphasize qualitative research methods to explore subjective experiences and personal narratives. Similarly, psychology places significant importance on understanding individual experiences through methods like interviews, case studies, and surveys. This focus on subjective understanding aligns psychology with other social sciences that value qualitative research.

Science Perspective

The scientific nature of psychology

While some argue for psychology’s classification as a social studies class, others contend that it is firmly rooted in scientific principles. Psychology employs rigorous scientific methods to study human behavior and mental processes.

  • Experimental research designs: Psychologists often conduct experiments to test hypotheses about human behavior. These experiments involve manipulating variables in a controlled setting to establish cause-and-effect relationships.
  • Data collection and analysis: Quantitative research methods, such as surveys and statistical analysis, are commonly used in psychology to collect and analyze data.

    This scientific approach allows for the systematic exploration of patterns and trends in human behavior.

  • Neuroscientific basis: Advances in neuroscience have significantly contributed to the scientific foundation of psychology. The study of brain structure and function has provided valuable insights into the biological underpinnings of behavior and mental processes.

Psychology’s inclusion in STEM fields

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of psychology as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) field. This acknowledgment further emphasizes its scientific nature and places it alongside other traditionally recognized scientific disciplines.


In conclusion, the question of whether psychology should be classified as a social studies class or a science class is complex. While it incorporates aspects of both social sciences and natural sciences, its scientific foundations are becoming increasingly prominent. Ultimately, understanding psychology requires an integration of multiple perspectives to fully grasp the complexity of human behavior.

So next time you find yourself pondering this question or engaging in a discussion about it, remember that psychology is an ever-evolving field that encompasses elements from both social studies and science classes.