Human beings, as one of the most complex animals there are, are the subject of an endless study of science. Which are trying to unravel their mysteries and their nature both physically and organically, as well as psychologically, socially or spiritually.
Two of these sciences are psychology and physiology, two disciplines at the center of which is the research and understanding of human functioning. Thanks to them, we know a lot about how we react to different situations and how we adapt to the tone. however, there are substantial differences between physiology and psychology, Which we will try to elucidate throughout this article.
Psychology and physiology: two parts of a whole
From a general point of view, we can conceive of the human being as a whole made up of different planes, which could not live without each other. These plans refer to the physical or organic aspect of the person and to the psychological aspect, linked to behavior and emotions.
Throughout the history of mankind, sciences have been created and developed which, in parallel, had the mission of discovering the secrets of the functioning of the two planes of the person: psychology and physiology.
However, if in both disciplines the subject of study (the human being) is shared, each of them specializes in different aspects of organisms. While physiology is dedicated to the study of how different parts of our body work, psychology attempts to understand the fundamentals of people’s behavior, behavior, and mental processes.
As we said, the two can be seen as two parts of a whole. Which, although they may appear independent, are closely related and can come to influence each other.
An example that can help clarify these ideas is the one in which we compare the mind and the brain. The two concepts are closely related and one cannot exist without the other; however, the first is within the field of study of psychology, while physiology would be responsible for studying the functioning of the second.
However, in the field of psychology we also find the study of how the functioning of the brain manifests itself and is made visible by the behavior of people.
Differences between physiology and psychology
To delve a little deeper into the differences between psychology and physiology, we will see below. a brief description of the characteristics of these two disciplines.
1. What is psychology?
According to the American Psychological Association (APA) itself, psychology is the science that studies human mind and behavior, Including conscious and unconscious phenomena, feelings and thoughts.
This discipline was born with the need to understand the role of mental functions and individual and social behaviors, while exploring the physiological and biological processes underlying cognitive functions and behaviors, hence their close relationship with physiology.
Using the empirical method, researchers in psychology study behavior and mental processes, which they understand perception, cognition, attention, emotions and ailments and personality, To infer causal relationships and correlations between different psychological and psychosocial variables.
Although psychological knowledge is often applied to the assessment and treatment of problems or conditions of a mental nature, it is also aimed at understanding and solving problems in various spheres of human life, such as teaching, work, sports and even media and forensic research. .
finally there is a whole range of branches of psychology which is devoted to the study of certain specific aspects of the human mind, cognition and behavior. Some of them are:
- Clinical Psychology.
- Cognitive and / or behavioral psychology.
- Developmental psychology.
- Health psychology.
2. What is physiology?
On the other hand, physiology refers to that science which is devoted to the scientific study of the mechanisms, functioning and their interactions of a living system. Specifically, it is a sub-discipline of biology that focuses on how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and biomolecules perform the chemical or physical functions that are performed in a living system, whether human beings or not.
It is also said to be one of the main differences between psychology and physiology. While traditionally psychology has focused on the study of human mind and behavior, physiology it covers the study of the functioning of any living organism.
In this particular case, since we are making a comparison with psychology, we will focus on animal physiology, which includes the study of how the human body works.
But it’s not all a difference
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, although psychology and physiology have different specific objects of study, in human research the two fields are interdependent.
This relationship is evident from the first moment we understand that the functioning of our body and our body, starting with the brain, it affects the way our mind works; as well as the fact that certain psychological processes and mental disorders are able to modify the development of the activity of our body in what is called somatization.
The level of connection between these two fields of study is such that this one led to the emergence of psychophysiology, now known as cognitive neuroscience, A branch of study in psychology which is responsible for studying the physiological bases underlying psychological processes.
For example, while psychology is concerned with the causes or factors that cause the onset of a phobia, psychophysiology focuses on the study of the functioning of brain organs involved in the fear response, such as the amygdala, in this situation, trying to relate the psychological and physiological aspects of a state of stress and anxiety such as phobias.