What Is the Difference Between Cognitive and Psychology?


Diego Sanchez

Cognitive and psychology are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two distinct fields of study. While both fields are concerned with the workings of the human mind, they take different approaches and have different areas of focus.

Cognitive Psychology:

Cognitive psychology is the study of mental processes such as attention, language use, perception, problem-solving, and memory. This field focuses on how people process information from their environment and how they use that information to make decisions or solve problems. It also looks at how people learn and remember new information.

One of the key areas of focus in cognitive psychology is attention. Researchers in this field are interested in understanding how people pay attention to different stimuli in their environment and how they filter out distractions. They also study how people shift their attention between tasks or stimuli.

Another important area of research in cognitive psychology is memory. Researchers in this field investigate how people encode new information into long-term memory and how they retrieve that information later on. They also look at why people forget certain things and what factors can improve memory retention.

Some common research methods used in cognitive psychology include:

  • Experiments
  • Observations
  • Surveys
  • Cognitive tests


Psychology, on the other hand, is a broader field that encompasses many subfields including clinical psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, and more. While cognitive psychology focuses specifically on mental processes like attention and memory, other areas of psychology explore topics like personality traits, emotional responses, social behavior, and more.

One key difference between cognitive psychology and other areas of psychology is that it tends to be more focused on laboratory research rather than clinical or observational studies. This means that cognitive psychologists are often conducting experiments to test theories and hypotheses about mental processes, rather than working directly with patients or observing natural behavior in the real world.

Some common research methods used in psychology include:

  • Experiments
  • Observations
  • Surveys
  • Clinical interviews


In summary, while cognitive psychology is a subfield of psychology, it has a distinct focus on mental processes like attention and memory. Other areas of psychology may explore different topics like personality, emotions, or social behavior.

Both fields use similar research methods like experiments and observations to study their respective subjects. By understanding the differences between these fields, we can gain a better appreciation for the complexity of the human mind and the many ways in which researchers are working to understand it.