How Is Social Psychology Different From Other Disciplines?
It is important to differentiate social psychology from a few similar and related subjects. Social psychology is often confused with folk wisdom, personality psychology, and sociology. What makes social psychology different? Unlike folk wisdom, which relies on anecdotal observations and subjective interpretation, social psychology employs scientific methods and the empirical study of social phenomena. Researchers do not just make guesses or assumptions about how people behave; they devise and carry out experiments that help point out relationships between different variables.
While personality psychology focuses on individual traits, characteristics, and thoughts, social psychology is focused on situations. Social psychologists are interested in the impact that the social environment and group interactions have on attitudes and behaviors.
Finally, it is important to distinguish between social psychology and sociology. While there are many similarities between the two, sociology tends to look at social behavior and influences at a very broad-based level. Sociologists are interested in the institutions and cultures that influence how people behave. Psychologists instead focus on situational variables that affect social behavior. While psychology and sociology both study similar topics, they are looking at these questions from different perspectives.