Anthropology vs Psychology
Anthropology and psychology are two subjects in the realm of social sciences that aim to know all about man. Anthropology is holistic in nature and studies everything related to man (in a cultural setting of course), whereas, psychology confines itself to behavior of human beings and includes theories that are used to explain human behavior. Study of human psyche is psychology (though it includes animal behavior at times too) whereas, anthropology is the study of human cultures in their entirety, not just behavior. There are many more differences in anthropology and psychology that will be explained in this article.
In some ways, psychology complements the study of anthropology as the insight gained into human behavior helps in explaining cultures. Though human behavior is greatly influenced by society, there are human traits that are not uniformly found such as aggression and other idiosyncrasies. These behavioral traits have no connection with societal behavior and are dependent upon genetics and circumstances. The way people behave in their interactions with other individuals varies in different cultures, and a comparative and cross cultural study of human behavior in anthropology takes us closer to psychology that is better explained through evolutionary biology.
If you are interested in human culture and its variety, anthropology is the social science that is more suited to your interests than psychology, which is more concerned with human behavior that takes into account both societal pressures and conformity along with virtues and odd behaviors that are found in varying degrees in different individuals living in the same society.
One major difference between psychology and anthropology lies in the fact that psychology confines itself to mental processes of both humans and animals whereas, anthropology is the study of human behavior alone in different cultures. Psychology deals with mental faculties like cognition, perception, emotions, personality, interpersonal relationships, and how these mental processes affect human behavior in a positive or negative manner. Psychology, though sometimes it tends to generalize, is more individualistic in nature whereas, anthropology keeps idiosyncrasies within wraps and talks about human cultures in a more generalized manner.
Anthropology is a much larger field of study than psychology, which is confined to human behavior only. Anthropology, studies not just human behavior in societies but also, physical features of different cultures, archaeology, linguistics and cultural developments in different human cultures. One area of study in cultural psychology comes very close to psychological anthropology and the distinctions between the two subjects blur to the extent of being almost similar. Another field of study known as social psychology explains human behavior in groups and societies, and it is very close to social anthropology, where we understand human behavior on the basis of social interactions.
There are more powerful factors at work to influence human behavior than just societies and cultures, and are reflected by more priests and religious persons serving prison sentences than atheists and agnostics. Lie, deceits, sex, violence, aggression and behavioral idiosyncrasies take a combined and cross disciplinary study approach and need a parallel study of both anthropology and psychology to be better able to understand such phenomenon.