Social Versus Cognitive Psychology

Topics: Psychology, Sociology, Human behavior Pages: 5 (1512 words) Published: April 29, 2011
1.Cognitive psychology differs from social psychology long with the following aspects:

a.In terms of concept and definition,

Cognitive psychology studies mental processes including how people think, perceive, remember and learn. The focus of cognitive psychology is on how people acquire process and store information, while social psychology on the other hand is a discipline that uses scientific methods to understand and explain how the thought, feeling and behaviour of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of other human beings.

b.strengths of cognitive and social psychology:

In terms of studying these fields, social psychology’s strength is that it attempts to use real life situations when studying behaviour. It studies behaviour in the context of the social world. Because social psychology is interested in human interaction this is best studied in real situations where participants have the opportunity to interact, while cognitive psychology on the other hand uses a scientific approach through the use of laboratory experiments in observing human behaviour.

Another asset of the social psychology is the contributions it makes about understanding social behaviour. Social psychology makes useful applications because it can explain and even offer solutions to problems in the real world. It also explains the phenomena of human behaviour-why such actions arise within a person given the circumstances of social influence or pro-social behaviour for example. Cognitive psychology is helpful as well, in the context of education and training. For cognitive psychology, the brain functions like any other physical system. We can study how our brain stores data and later memorizes it, how knowledge and information is represented, how things get categorized in the brain, how we judge probabilities, how we plan, and finally, how ideas in our minds mix all this to produce high level inferences in daily.

c.Weaknesses of cognitive and social psychology:

One of the weak points of cognitive psychology is that this approach is too simplistic and ignores the complexity of the human functioning. It also ignores natural and environmental influences of human functioning. It also ignores emotions, conscious experience and free will. Furthermore, social psychology’s weak point is that in sstudying behaviour in the context of social situation, it looks at many factors. Social psychology does not isolate the individual during research. This makes research Holistic as many causes and influences of behaviour are examined, but cause and effect cannot always be inferred, so it may be sometimes unscientific.

2.Cognitive and sociological aspects of psychology are important to understanding human behaviour. Why? Cognitive and sociological aspects of psychology are important to understanding human behaviour for the reason that it helps you distinguish a person’s intellectual functioning, their capabilities on deciding and how they tend to rationalize things and situations. The life of every person is considered by conscious purposiveness. From reaching for food to choosing what to wear, our actions are directed at goals. This purposiveness reveals itself in our conscious awareness, partly in the organization of our thought and action. Everyday life is thus an ideal place to begin, filled with promise for the understanding of cognition in relation to human behaviour. We can as well know how the individuals actively participate in the environment and society through social psychology. Each person differs from one another, for which social psychology enters. The early experiences of a person might be the factors why he/she behaves the way he does. Social psychology also helps strengthen relationships and make everyday lives better through intensifying a person’s self-knowledge and understanding towards another individual. Take for instance, observing a psychiatric patient’s behaviour. We can...
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