Psychology vs Educational Psychology
The key to the difference between psychology and educational psychology is that educational psychology is one sub-discipline of psychology. Psychology can simply be defined as the scientific study of the human mind and behavior. This is a discipline that encompasses a wide range of sub-disciplines such as abnormal psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology so on and so forth. Educational psychology is also one such sub-discipline which falls under the main discipline of psychology. Educational psychology pays specific attention to the study of learning throughout the human life span. So the main difference between psychology and educational psychology stems from the fact that while psychology in general possesses a broader view which entails all aspects of human life, educational psychology pays specific attention to the learning process. The objective of this article is to provide an understanding of the two terms, while emphasizing the difference that lies between the two terms, psychology and educational psychology.
What is Psychology?
For many years, humans have been fascinated by the capabilities of the human mind that led to the establishment of a discipline known as psychology. In this sense, it can be defined as the scientific study of the mental processes and behavioural patterns of human beings. The ability to examine the human mind and behaviour in experimental conditions began with the setting up of the first laboratory in Germany in 1879 by Wilhelm Wundt, who was later considered as the father of Psychology.
Psychology is a discipline that has a very large scope. Even though at the initial phase medicine (biology) and philosophy provided the roots for psychology to grow as a field, now it has become a discipline which has expanded much more not only influencing other disciplines but also being influenced by them, which highlights that it is continuously changing and moving forward in the academic as well as scientific sphere. It studies the human development, personality, abnormalities, education, social interactions and almost all aspects of human life.
When we learn about psychology, we also hear about schools of psychology. These refer to the different approaches that have been used when analyzing and examining human life over the years. Structuralism, Functionalism, Behaviourism, Psychoanalysis, Gestalt and Humanistic psychology are some of these schools of psychology.
What is Educational Psychology?
Educational psychology is a sub-discipline of psychology that specifically studies on human learning. It explores a variety of themes such as motivation, conditioning, memory, intelligence, cognition, etc. Educational psychologists are interested in studying the learning processes of individuals in different settings, under different circumstances through their life span. They adopt cognitive as well as behavioural approaches in this field. The theories which fall under the educational psychology discipline come from different schools such as behaviourism, Gestalt psychology, humanistic psychology and functionalism. Especially the behaviourist theories of classical conditioning brought by Ivan Pavlov and Operant conditioning by B.F Skinner are popular in educational psychology for their applicability to real life and education related processes. Not only Behaviourists, under different schools of psychology psychologists have presented various theories that denote an analysis and understanding of the human learning process.
What is the difference between Psychology and Educational Psychology?
• To sum up, psychology is mainly the study of the mental processes and behavioural patterns of human beings whereas educational psychology is the study of human learning process.
• This highlights that while educational psychology explores only the learning aspect of human life, psychology in general explores all human activities throughout the life span which goes beyond the learning process.