What Are the Differences Between Psychology and Social Psychology?

Psychology and social psychology are two closely related fields that study human behavior and the mind. While they share similarities, there are distinct differences between the two disciplines. In this article, we will explore these differences to gain a better understanding of how they differ in their focus and approach.


Psychology is a broad field that investigates various aspects of human behavior and mental processes. It encompasses the study of individual thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and their underlying cognitive processes.

In psychology, researchers aim to understand how individuals perceive the world, process information, make decisions, and interact with others. They investigate topics such as memory, learning, personality development, motivation, perception, and mental disorders.

Key features of psychology:

Social Psychology

Social psychology, on the other hand, examines how social influences shape individuals’ thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and behaviors. It focuses on understanding how people’s behavior is influenced by social interactions, group dynamics, cultural norms, and societal factors.

Social psychologists study topics such as conformity, obedience to authority figures, prejudice and discrimination, persuasion techniques, group decision-making processes, interpersonal relationships, and attitudes towards different social groups.

Key features of social psychology:

Differences Between Psychology and Social Psychology

The main differences between psychology and social psychology can be summarized as follows:


In psychology, the focus is primarily on individual behavior, cognition, and mental processes. Social psychology, on the other hand, places greater emphasis on how individuals’ thoughts and actions are influenced by social factors and interactions with others.


Psychology encompasses a wide range of topics such as memory, perception, learning, personality, and mental disorders. In contrast, social psychology specifically investigates social influences on behavior, attitudes, beliefs, and group dynamics.

Research Methods:

The research methods employed in psychology and social psychology differ to some extent. While both disciplines use experimental designs, surveys, observations, and interviews to gather data, social psychologists often conduct studies in real-world settings to capture the complexity of social interactions.


The application of psychology is diverse and extends to various fields such as clinical psychology, educational psychology, organizational psychology, counseling psychology, and more. Social psychology findings are particularly relevant in areas like marketing strategies, persuasion techniques, conflict resolution strategies, diversity training programs, and understanding group behavior.

In conclusion,

Both disciplines contribute to our understanding of human behavior and provide valuable insights into the complexities of the human mind and social interactions.

By exploring these differences, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the unique contributions of both psychology and social psychology to the field of behavioral sciences.