Difference Between Physiological and Psychological

Physiological and psychological are two terms sounding similar. Their meanings are, however, very different because physiological means “pertaining to physiology” and psychology means “pertaining to psychology”.


Physiology means “scientific study of function of living systems”, which comes from the Greek origin “Physis” meaning nature and origin. Physiological means pertaining to scientific study of function of living systems. Physiological study includes chemical and physical functions existing in living systems such as biomolecules, cells, organs, organ systems, organisms. The start of studying physiology dates back to 420 BC in the time of Hippocrates. “Physiology” as a term came in to use when French physician Jean Fernel first introduced the term in 1525. Physiological knowledge rapidly increased with Matthias Schleiden and Theodor Schwann introducing Cell theory in 1838.

Physiological studies divide into several sub disciplines. They are comparative physiology, ecophysiology etc. which study the comparisons of physiology between humans and other organisms. Physiological functions inside the body do not operate independently, but these processes are linked via electrical and chemical paths. Physiology in levels of organs and organ systems are closely related to anatomy where anatomy focuses on the form and physiology focuses on the body functions. Physiological aspects are mainly related to organs and systems functioning, and most of these functions are related to enzymatic driven metabolic functions, respiration, digestion, muscle and bone structure coordination connected to locomotion, blood circulation etc.


Psychology is a distinct discipline which is related to mind, its functions and behaviors related to different mental statuses. This academic discipline involves studying mental functions and behaviors. Psychological means “pertaining to psychology or studies of mental functions and behaviors”. Psychology is a discipline which ultimately focuses on understanding individuals and groups by various techniques and by a variety of treatments benefit the society.

Psychological studies are divided into many sub disciplines such as social, behavioral, and cognitive. Various aspects of interests are perception, cognition, motivation, brain, personality, interpersonal relationships etc. Drawing the line between “psychological” and “physiological” is not very easy because functions connecting brain and other body organs and systems tend to overlap at many situations. However psychological aspect could be separated by other body functions where most of these functions are related to emotions, behaviors, or in highly deviated cases, disorders and which are externally observable aspects related to mental health rather than body health.

What is the difference between Physiological and Psychological?

• Physiological means pertaining to physiology, but psychological means pertaining to psychology.

• Physiological aspects are related to functioning in the body which includes enzymatic driven catabolic and anabolic reactions and general body functions such as respirations, locomotion, or digestion. But psychological aspects are related to functioning of the mind which is specially influenced by brain functioning and affecting mental health.

• A disorder or ill health in a physiological component of the body may be observable through infections, malfunctioning, or diseases in the body, but a disorder in a psychological component may be observable through abnormal behavior or mental disorders.