Why Is Psychology Called a Social Science?


Vincent White

Psychology is often referred to as a social science. But what exactly does that mean?

Why is psychology categorized as a social science and not just a branch of science or a field of study on its own? In this article, we will explore the reasons behind labeling psychology as a social science and understand its close relationship with other disciplines in this category.

Understanding Social Sciences

Before delving into why psychology fits within the realm of social sciences, let’s first define what social sciences are. Social sciences encompass various disciplines that study human society and social relationships. These disciplines aim to understand how individuals interact with each other, their environment, and the broader society.

Social sciences include subjects like anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, and psychology. While each discipline focuses on different aspects of human behavior and society, they all share a common goal of understanding human interactions.

The Social Nature of Psychology

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior. It seeks to understand why individuals think, feel, and behave the way they do. While psychology may involve investigating individual cognitive processes or studying neurological mechanisms underlying behavior, it also places great emphasis on the influence of social factors.

Social factors, such as cultural norms, societal expectations, family dynamics, and peer influence can significantly impact an individual’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Psychologists recognize that humans are inherently social beings whose actions are shaped by their interactions with others.

Social psychology, a subfield of psychology dedicated to studying how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by others within a social context further highlights this connection between psychology and social sciences.

The Interdisciplinary Nature

Psychology also overlaps with other social sciences in many areas. It borrows theories and methodologies from disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, and economics to better understand social phenomena. For example, sociological concepts like socialization and social identity greatly contribute to our understanding of human behavior.

Moreover, psychology also collaborates with other social sciences in addressing complex societal issues. For instance, psychologists work alongside sociologists and economists to study the causes and consequences of poverty, inequality, and discrimination.

The Holistic Approach

By considering psychological processes within a social context, psychology adopts a holistic approach towards understanding human behavior. It acknowledges that individual thoughts and behaviors cannot be fully understood without taking into account the broader social environment.

Through this integrative perspective, psychology contributes to the body of knowledge in social sciences by offering insights into how individual experiences are shaped by society and vice versa.


In conclusion, psychology is called a social science because it recognizes the crucial role that social factors play in shaping human behavior. By studying how individuals think, feel, and behave within a social context, psychology provides valuable insights into the intricacies of human interactions. Its interdisciplinary nature and holistic approach further establish its place within the broader field of social sciences.