What’s the Difference Between Cognitive Science and Psychology?


Vincent White

In today’s world, we often come across terms like cognitive science and psychology, but do we know the difference between them? While they may seem similar, there are certain distinctions that set them apart.

What is Cognitive Science?

Cognitive science is a multidisciplinary field that studies the brain and its processes. It encompasses various fields like psychology, computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, and philosophy. The primary focus of cognitive science is to understand how the mind works and how it processes information.

What is Psychology?

Psychology is a social science that studies human behavior and mental processes. It deals with various aspects of human behavior like perception, cognition, emotion, personality, development, and social interactions. Psychology helps us understand why people behave in a particular way and how we can change or modify certain behaviors.

The Differences

While both cognitive science and psychology deal with the study of the mind, there are certain differences between them.


Cognitive science mainly focuses on understanding how the brain processes information. It aims to develop theories of mental processing by studying different aspects of cognition like perception, attention, memory, language acquisition etc.

On the other hand, psychology focuses on understanding human behavior in different contexts. It examines how people think, feel and act in different situations.


Cognitive science employs various methods to study the mind such as experiments using neuroimaging techniques or computational modeling. Cognitive scientists use these methods to test their theories about cognition.

Psychologists use various research methods such as surveys or observations to study human behavior. They collect data by asking questions or observing participants in real-life situations.

Interdisciplinary nature

Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary field that draws from multiple disciplines like psychology, neuroscience etc., while focusing on cognition.
Psychology is also an interdisciplinary field, but it mainly draws from social sciences like sociology, anthropology etc., while focusing on human behavior.


In conclusion, cognitive science and psychology are two distinct fields that share a common interest in the study of the mind. Cognitive science primarily focuses on understanding how the mind processes information while psychology deals with understanding human behavior.

While they may appear to be similar at first glance, their differences lie in their focus, methodology, and interdisciplinary nature. By understanding these differences, we can gain a better appreciation for both fields and how they contribute to our understanding of the mind and behavior.