Essay on Sociology and Psychology

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Having dealt in a general way with the relation between sociology and the social sciences, it is now necessary to proceed with a study of the relations between sociology and some particular social sciences. Sociology studies society, psychology studies human behaviour. The scope of sociology and psychology coincides to quite some extent and both are positive sciences. Both are factual and both employ the scientific method. Both have lesser capacity of prediction. And, in both it is difficult to maintain objectivity.

Inspite of such a high degree of similarity sociology and psychology have the following differences:

Difference of attitude:

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In both these, one finds difference of attitude in regard to a common material. The attitude of psychology is individualistic while that of sociology social.

Difference in units:

The unit of psychology in an individual while sociology regards a society as a unit. In this way psychology studies man as individual in interaction with cultural and geographical environment, on the other hand, the socilogist studies man as a member of society.

Difference of methods:

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The methods of sociology and psychology are not identical, they differ from each other. Despite the above mentioned differences, sociology and psychology have much in common and enjoy an intimate relationship. With understanding human psychology it is more or less impossible to understand interrelations and activities related to human beings.

In much the same way, many of the profound truths of psychology remain secret unless there is knowledge of social relationship, behaviour and activities. In the words of Maclver, “Sociology gives special aid to psychology, just as psychology gives special aid to sociology.”

Difference of subject matter:

Sociology studies the behaviour of a group whereas social psychology studies the behaviour of an individual in society. In the words of Klineberg. “At the same time it remains true that the primary concern of the sociologist is group behaviour, and that of the social psychologist is the behaviour of the individual in the group situation. So, in this way sociology and psychology differ in respect of their subjects matter.”

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