An Analysis of Educational Psychology

William James was a psychologist who wrote like a novelist. In 1876, he created, and began, teaching the first psychology course offered in this country. James had a two-volume text for his courses titled Principles of Psychology. James saw that psychology had to look to the natural environment for much of its information. He thought that laboratory experiments were not the best route for teaching children. Jamess best known effort was to convince educators that the observations, thoughts, and questions they brought out of their work with children would be a significant source of scientific feedback.

James wanted educational psychology to study teaching and learning in the classroom in order to view educational problems in their real, or natural, environment. One of the most renowned names in educational psychology stands today as Edward L. Thorndike. Thorndike set out to eliminate speculation, opinion, and naturalistic investigation. Contrary to James, Tho! rndike considered visiting a classroom an extraordinary waste of time. Thorndike preferred animal testing in a laboratory.

Thorndike was best known for his experiments with his cats in his specially designed puzzle boxes. Thorndike mostly concentrated on one aspect of learning, that of trial and error. Thorndike believed that transfer occurred only when elements in one situation were identical with or at least similar to elements in a second situation. It has been said that Thorndike was so influential that all subsequent research in education was merely a footnote to his work.

The famous naturel nurture controversy was between a group who called themselves the herediterians, and a group who called themselves the environmentalists.

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Herediterians, who were in favor of nature, said that all psychological traits were transmitted directly through the genes from generation to generation. This group also said that the surrounding environment was of small consequence. The herediterians said that for example, if your mother was a fine chef, then in turn, the offspring would be a fine chef, and so on and so forth. The environmentalists put the counter to this argument forward.

This group stated that a persons whole being was shaped by how and in what circumstances one was raised or, nurtured. Environmentalists stated that all people were created genetically equal, and the differences among people were just a result of the surrounding environment. This group said any infant could grow up and be any kind of adult, depending on the stimulus conditio! ns and the environment. Two of the main voices for the respective camps, were Henry E. Goddard, who represented a voice for the herediterians, best known for his bad seed philosophy, and John P. Watson, who represented the environmentalists, he was best known for his give me the baby philosophy

This statement could be interpreted many ways. This statement is sustaining the opinion that a persons behavior and psychological traits are transmitted directly through the genes from generation to generation. This is saying that a persons environment and the time surrounding the person can all contribute to a persons behavior. Behavior is a product of heredity interacting with environment interacting with time. Each of these attributes can help shape a persons behavior. Environment can play a serious part in the shaping of a person, an example: A person growing up in Alaska most likely will have different behavior and a different personality than a person growing up in Spain. This is where environment comes into play, due to the drastic differences between the two environments; the upbringing and behavior of a person would appear to be very different.

Critical periods in the growing and learning development stages are extremely significant. There are critical, optimal periods when children can most easily be taught certain motor skills. For example, it is best to teach a child to roller skate at the same time he or she is learning to walk. Myrtle McGraw, a forward looking psychologist who was best known for her comprehensive studies of human development, using a pair of twin boys as subjects. McGraw did various experiments with the twin boys (Johnny and Jimmy). These experiments were aimed at these twin boys while they were in this critical period. Early practice for several activities was the main basis for this experiment. The twin with the early training formed poor habits and was unable to develop the skill as well as the twin whose training was delayed. McGraw concluded that there are optimal periods during development when special training will assure the full acquisition of various motor skills. McGraw w! as the first psychologist to conceptualize human development in terms of critical periods. It is said that there still is much research needed to provide hard data on precisely when the various critical periods occur. One definition that has been leant comes from John P. Scott. Scott stated that a critical period as a time when a large effect can be produced by a smaller change in conditions than in any later or earlier period in life. The concept of critical periods is imperative in education.

During this semester, we covered several of the theorists and psychologists who devised their own developmental stages. Three of the most studied would be those of Kohlberg, Piaget, and Erikson. Some similar stages of the given psychologists that share the same basic ideas are as follows. Stages 5 to 6 in the stages of Kohlberg, Piagets stage 4, and Eriksons juvenile stage all discuss the basic ideas concerning emotion, etc.

Sally Archers research was extremely interesting, and very informational and educational, as well. Archer was best known for her revising of the stereotyped views of identity formation for females. She does not believe that the identities of men and women could be switched. The levels of development for males and females in identity formation are the same. Archer stated that there are no differences by gender and identity by vocation, religion, sex roles, dating, and values. Archer also said Gender differences are the exception now rather than the rule in identity status. Archer conducted a study with high school seniors, this study showed that concern stemming from the males for establishing a healthy career, and satisfying family demands, was nearly in-evident. On the other hand, the female percentage for the same battery of questions was, 42%. 42% of the females did in fact express great concern.

A level down from great concern, some concern was as follows: ! 25% of the males expressed some concern, while again, 42% of the females expressed some concern for the above categories. There are two remaining statistics. In the field of no concern, the percentages were as follows: 75% of the males questioned expressed no concern, and 17% of the females questioned also expressed no concern. The identity formation of the female is delivered a detrimental blow here. The main point made by Archer was that balancing a career and a family is still a concern to women, and not at equal rates as males. Sally Archer frowns upon the idea that the majority of responsibility is placed on the women in present day societies to be the sole caretaker of the family.

Classical conditioning was, for the most part related to Ivan Pavlov, the Russian psychologist. Classical conditioning is as follows: If a neutral stimulus, one that does not elicit a certain response- is repeatedly paired with an unconditioned stimulus- one that does automatically elicit a certain response- the neutral stimulus will eventually take on the power to elicit the response (pp.235, given definition.). An example of this uses a dog for its subject. Take a dog biscuit, when that biscuit is placed in the dogs mouth, the dog salivates. But, if immediately before the biscuit is given to the dog a bell is rung, the dog will then associate the sound of the bell with the biscuit, therefore the bell tolling acts as a signal to the dog that a biscuit is following the toll, in time the dog will salivate just at the sound of the bell alone, thus, classical conditioning. The biscuit would be the unconditioned stimulus, the bell would be the conditioned stimulus, the ! salivation to the biscuit is the unconditioned response, and lastly, the salivation to the bell is the conditioned response.

B.F. Skinner is one of psychologies greatest contributors. Skinner defined schedules of reinforcement as the length of the intervals of reinforcement after a response. A variable reinforcement schedule, the subject knows that a certain number of responses must be entered, but the subject does not know when those responses will reap their benefits. A fixed ratio schedule is based on a certain number of responses. The variable interval schedule deals with various time intervals; the subject does not know when they will be rewarded. The different variations in the schedules for reinforcement all respectively serve their own purpose and all have their own individual effect on the subject.

Thinking back to my junior high-school days. When I was in middle school, I was diagnosed with a slight learning disability, attention deficit disorder. Medication was given to me, and my teachers were all notified. My parents told me that for every A that I obtained, I would receive ten-dollars, for every B, I would receive five-dollars. This is an obvious form of positive reinforcement. This positive reinforcement lead me to nothing but As and Bs, and a pocket full of money. Therefore, it is safe to say that the positive reinforcement did in-fact motivate me to what I had to do to obtain that positive reinforcement

The article that I chose was the handout on the Stanley Milgram experiments. This article discusses in detail exactly how Milgram went about doing his famous shock treatments. The subjects in the experiment were paid $4.50, (which was not bad in 1963). This experiment was a test of moral virtue; it tested to see how far a person would actually go, strictly based on solid commands and instructions. After his experiments, Milgram had two main points. The first was the astounding strength of the subjects tendency to obey. The second was the key observation made during the course of this study was extreme tension and anxiety manifested by the subjects as the obeyed the experiments commands. Personally, I agree greatly with the main point of the article. Discovering peoples moral choices is a very interesting choice of experimentation. The fact that a person would think they were actually imposing harm on another person, and would continue to impose har!

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An Analysis of Educational Psychology. (2022, Jul 25). Retrieved from

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