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Behavioral And Cognitive Approaches to the Discipline

Distinguishing between experimental psychology and educational psychology, thus, requires a determination of the role of the educational psychologist in the conduct of educational research. Mayer (1987, p. 7) stated that educational psychology investigate's the instructor's manipulation of the learning environment, and that this branch of psychology is concerned with understanding how the instructional environment and the characteristics of the learner interact to produce cognitive growth in the learner. If the educational psychologist simply observes, records, and interprets these interactions, whether or not instructor manipulation is involved, the work of the educational psychologist does not involve the experimental method. Even if instructor manipulation is involved in such a case, it is the instructor who is the experimenter, not the educational psychologist.

If, on the other hand, the educational psychologist is either the instructor accomplishing the manipulation or if the instructor manipulation is being performed at the direction of the educational psychologist, then the educational psychologist is the experimenter. In either of these instances, educational psychology may be viewed as a form of experimental psychology.

Chaplin, J. P. (1989). Psychology. (4th ed.). New York: Dell Publishing Company.

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