1 Educational Psychology: Contemporary Perspectives

Educational Psychology

  1. William M. Reynolds PhD1,
  2. Gloria E. Miller PhD2

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop207001

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Reynolds, W. M. and Miller, G. E. 2012. Educational Psychology: Contemporary Perspectives. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 7:1.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Humboldt State University, Department of Psychology, Arcata, CA, USA

  2. 2

    University of Denver, Morgridge College of Education, Denver, CA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


Educational psychology focuses the application of psychology to the understanding of learners and learning environments. This chapter illustrates how the field of educational psychology represents an important area of psychological research, theory, and practice. Five major areas of contemporary research and practice in educational psychology are described and include: cognitive and regulatory contributions to learning, development and instruction; sociocultural, instruction and relational processes; early education and curriculum applications; psychology in the schools; and educational program, research, and policy. Individually, each describes a rich domain of research, and almost universally, a burgeoning of new research paradigms, perspectives, theories, and major conceptualizations that have emerged over the past 20 years. Although the scope of educational psychology as a field of psychology is quite broad, there are numerous communalities that can be seen across the varied domains. These communalities suggest a connectedness that supports educational psychology as a rich and vital field of scientific inquiry. The influence and impact of research in educational psychology on society is best recognized by applications to the education and training of teachers and the development of procedures to enhance classroom instruction and learning, how we motivate learners, and the integration of new technology into the classroom and beyond. These and other applications in educational psychology are buttressed by an empirical rigor of research methods in the design of both basic and applied experiments and field-based investigations. Researchers in educational psychology address major issues related to the education of learners in regular and special education contexts. The field of educational psychology has played a major role in informing policy and educational reform. It is our expectation that this importance will continue and grow in the 21st century.


  • educational psychology;
  • classrooms;
  • learning;
  • educational research