Psychology is a multifaceted field of study that examines human behavior, mental processes, and the brain. However, there is often confusion about where it fits within the academic disciplines. Is psychology under Humanities or Social Science?
Humanities vs. Social Science
Before we dive into where psychology fits, it’s necessary to distinguish between Humanities and Social Science.
Humanities refer to disciplines that study human culture and creativity, such as literature, music, philosophy, art, and history. They explore the subjective aspects of human experience.
Social Science is a broader category of academic disciplines that study various aspects of human society and individual behavior. Examples include political science, sociology, anthropology, economics.
Psychology – A Hybrid Field
Psychology is neither purely a humanities nor social science discipline but rather a hybrid field that incorporates elements from both.
On one hand, psychology explores subjective experiences such as emotions, thoughts, and perceptions. Aspects related to these experiences are often studied under the humanities umbrella.
On the other hand, psychology also deals with objective phenomena like cognition and behavior. These aspects are studied in social science disciplines such as sociology and anthropology.
This hybrid nature of psychology allows it to incorporate both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.
The Evolution of Psychology
The classification of psychology has evolved over time. Initially regarded as a part of philosophy in ancient Greece and Rome times; later on it became a natural science during the 19th century when researchers started to focus on studying the brain using scientific methods.
During the early 20th century with Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory emergence in Austria; psychology was seen more as an aspect of humanities studying subjective experiences like consciousness & dreams etc.,
Then came Behaviorism which emerged from John Watson’s work in America during the early 20th century emphasizing observable behaviors; which led to psychologists viewing themselves more as scientists studying objective phenomena like behavior.
Later on in the 1950s, Cognitive Psychology emerged as a branch of psychology that studied mental processes such as perception, memory, and attention. This approach marked a return to the study of subjective experience and integrated both humanistic and scientific principles.
In conclusion, psychology is a hybrid field that draws on both humanities and social science disciplines. It explores both subjective experiences and objective phenomena, making it a unique field with diverse research methodologies.
Whether you consider psychology as an aspect of humanities or social science depends on the particular focus of the research being conducted. Nonetheless, it’s important to recognize that psychology incorporates elements from both disciplines, making it a fascinating field to explore.