Key Difference – Psychology vs Common Sense
Psychology and common sense refer to two different things between which a key difference can be identified. First, let us define the two words. Psychology refers to the scientific study of the mental processes and behavior of the human being. On the other hand, common sense refers to good sense in practical matters. As you can see the key difference between psychology and common sense, stem from its source of knowledge. Psychology relies on science, theoretical understanding, and research, but common sense relies on experience and reasoning. This is the main difference between the two words. Through this article let us attempt to gain a clearer understanding of the two words.
What is Psychology?
Psychology refers to the scientific study of the mental processes and behavior of the human being. Psychology is a broad field of study that consists of various subfields such as social psychology, abnormal psychology, child psychology, developmental psychology, etc. In each of these branches, attention is paid to the individual’s mental processes or mental health.
One of the key characteristics of psychology is that it focuses on the individual rather than on the group. Even when conducting experiments the individual is at the center. Also, Psychology is a discipline that has an extensive theoretical background with many theoretical perspectives such as Functionalists perspective, Cognitive perspective, Behaviorists perspective, Humanistic perspective, etc. Each perspective allows us to look at the human being in different ways. For example while behaviorists emphasize the importance of human behavior in Psychology, Cognitive theorists focus on the cognitive processes.
As you can see, psychology is a scientific field that relies on theory and experiments, but when you look at common sense, you will realize that there is a vast gap between psychology and common sense. In order to realize this now let us look at common sense.
What is Common Sense?
Common sense refers to good sense in practical matters. This is something that is essential for people when engaging in daily activities. Common sense allows people to be practical and reasonable. It makes them arrive at conclusions or make decisions based on the experience that they have.
The lay person usually is devoid of scientific knowledge; hence this role of knowledge is fulfilled by common sense as it directs the person to arrive at sound judgments in life. You may have heard people blaming others for not having common sense, in such situations the individual is referring to the lack of practical everyday knowledge.
Aristotle spoke of common sense.
What is the difference between Psychology and Common Sense?
Definitions of Psychology and Common Sense:
Psychology: Psychology refers to the scientific study of the mental processes and behavior of the human being.
Common Sense: Common sense refers to good sense in practical matters.
Characteristics of Psychology and Common Sense:
Psychology: Psychology is a field of study that is scientific.
Common Sense: Common sense is not scientific, but based on reason.
Branch of study:
Psychology: Psychology is a discipline.
Common Sense: Common sense is not a discipline.
Psychology: In Psychology we arrive at conclusions through research or experiments.
Common Sense: When speaking of common sense, we use previous experience.
Psychology: Psychology has a clear theoretical basis.
Common Sense: Common sense does not have a theoretical basis.
1. Positive Psychology Optimism by Nevit Dilmen [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
2. “Aristotle Altemps Inv8575” by Copy of Lysippus – Jastrow (2006). [Public Domain] via Commons
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