Is Social Psychology Applied Psychology?


Diego Sanchez

Is Social Psychology Applied Psychology?

Social psychology is a fascinating field that explores how individuals think, feel, and behave in social situations. It seeks to understand the impact of social influence on our thoughts, emotions, and actions.

But is social psychology considered applied psychology? Let’s delve into this question and explore the relationship between these two branches of psychology.

The Definition of Applied Psychology

Applied psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the practical application of psychological principles and theories to real-world problems. It involves using psychological knowledge to address specific issues and provide solutions in various domains such as education, business, healthcare, and more.

Social Psychology as a Subfield

Social psychology falls under the umbrella of applied psychology, but it is also considered a distinct subfield within the discipline. While social psychologists conduct research to understand human behavior in social contexts, their findings can be applied to various real-life situations.

The Role of Social Psychology

Social psychologists study how individuals are influenced by others and how they perceive and interpret social situations. They examine topics such as conformity, obedience, prejudice, attitudes, group dynamics, and interpersonal relationships. The knowledge gained from this research can be used to address numerous societal challenges.

Applications of Social Psychology

One prominent application of social psychology is in advertising and marketing. By understanding consumer behavior and applying social psychological principles like persuasion and influence, marketers can create effective campaigns that resonate with their Target audience.

Another area where social psychology finds application is in organizational settings. Social psychologists help organizations improve teamwork, leadership skills, employee motivation, and communication by applying theories related to group dynamics and individual behavior within groups.

Social psychologists also contribute to public health initiatives. They study factors that influence health-related behaviors, such as smoking, exercise, and diet. By understanding these factors, interventions can be developed to promote healthier lifestyles and prevent diseases.

The Distinction between Pure and Applied Psychology

It’s important to note that while social psychology is considered a subfield of applied psychology, not all areas of psychology fall under this category. There is a distinction between pure (or basic) psychology and applied psychology.

Pure psychology focuses on advancing theoretical knowledge and understanding fundamental psychological processes. Researchers in this field seek to answer questions about human behavior without necessarily focusing on direct applications.

On the other hand, applied psychology aims to use psychological knowledge to solve practical problems and improve people’s lives. It bridges the gap between theory and practice by applying scientific findings in real-world contexts.


In conclusion, social psychology is both a subfield of psychology and a branch of applied psychology. While it contributes to the development of theoretical knowledge about human behavior, its findings have practical applications in various domains. Social psychologists strive to understand how individuals think, feel, and behave in social situations, with the ultimate goal of improving our understanding of ourselves and others.