INTRODUCTION TO EDUCATIONAL PSYCOLOGY

 

UNIT STRUCTURE

1. Learning Objectives
2. Introduction
3. Classifications of the Method of Educational Psychology
4. Importance and Applications of Educational Methods in Teaching- Learning.
5. Let Us Sum Up
6. Further Readings
7. Answers to Check Your Progress
8. Possible Question
9. References

LEARNING OBJECTIVES



After going trough this unit you will be able to
Know about the necessity of adopting different methods used to learn about the individual’s behaviour.
Classify the methods into different types.
Describe each method with its merits and limitations.

INTRODUCTION


Educational psychology is an important branch of psychology. It is a subject which emphasizes the application of psychological principles in the field of education. It deals with the behaviour of an individual in the educational environment. According to the “Encyclopedia of Educational Research”, “Educational psychology is the study of the learner and of the learning-teaching process in its various ramifications (branches) directed towards helping the child come to terms with society with a maximum of security and satisfaction”

On main objective of educational psychology is to help a teacher to understand his student’s behaviour in the educative process. A teacher may face different problems in the classroom as well as outside it. It is important that a teacher understands the significance of individual difference and solves the various problems of the classroom. Therefore, in order to achieve the objective of educational psychology some methods are adopted to collect data to know about a learner’s personality.

The first attempt to adopt a method of educational psychology began in the year 1879 by W. Wundt of Germany. In recent years, with the development of technology, researchers have started using new methods of collecting and analyzing data.

CLASSIFICATION OF THE METHODS OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY


We can see below some of the methods of educational psychology:

2.3.1 Method of Introspection.
2.3.2 Observation Method
2.3.3 Case study Method
2.3.4 Experimental Method.
2.3.5 Interview Method
2.3.6 Differential Method.
2.3.7 Psychoanalysis.

Let us analyse these five methods of educational psychology one by one.

Introspection Method

This is the oldest method of educational psychology. The word ‘introspection’ has been derived from two Latin words, ‘intro’ meaning ‘withing’ and ‘spiere’ meaning to ‘look’. Therefore introspection implies ‘self observation’, or in other words, to experience one’s own mental state i.e., to observe, analyze and report one’s own feelings.
Now let us turn to two psychologists James and Stout to know what they have said about psychological method in education.

According to William James, “Introspective observation is what we have to rely on first and foremost and always. The word intro-spection needs hardly to be defined - it means, of course, looking into our own minds and recording what we there discover. Everyone agrees that through this method one can discover one’s own states of consciousness. So far as I know, the existence of such states has never been doubted by any critic, however skeptical in other respects he may have been.”
According to Stout, “In introspection we are concerned with the nature of experience itself and with the laws of mental process. The observer in introspection is directed towards the answering of questions of theoretical importance for the advancement of our systematic knowledge of the laws and conditions of mental process.” Introspection examines inner behaviour of an individual and an individual knows about his own feelings or thoughts in a particular situation.


The Introspection method has both merits and demerits.

Merits of Introspection Method: The merits of the introspection method are given below:-

Introspection is the easiest of all methods of educational psychology.
It does not need any tool or laboratory as the subject and the investigator is the same.
It is the most economical method and one which enables us to know about the mental state of an individual, i.e. his emotions and feelings.
Introspection, as a method, has generated a lot of research and is used in almost all experimental students.


Drawbacks of Introspection Method: The drawbacks of the introspection method are given below:-


Introspection means looking into-one’s own emotions and feelings, so when one attempts to study one’s mental state, it disappears and therefore it is different to introspect the changing psychological experiences.
As the subject and investigator is same the introspection becomes subjective and biased and therefore the data may not be reliable and valid. The person may not consider certain facts.
The introspection method cannot be done by abnormal individuals and children.
A person should be highly trained and skilled to introspect properly.
According to Kant, a famous scholar, it is not possible to accept conscious experience as the subject matter of psychology and then consider introspection as its proper method.


Hence, we can conclude that the introspection method cannot be considered as precise; the limitations can be overcome by proper training and only then can it become effective.

Let Us Know

  • Introspection is the oldest method of educational psychology.
  • Introspection means ‘self observation’, i.e. to look into one’s own mental state.
  • Introspection means examining the inner behaviour of an individual by oneself.
  • Introspection is the easiest and most economical of all methods of educational psychology.
  • In this method the individual is both the subject and the observer.
  • Introspection has generated a lot of research in experimental studeies.
  • The data collected through the introspection method may not be reliable as an individual’s mental state is changeable.
  • The introspection method can not be done by abnormal people and children
  • While introspecting an individual may hide certain facts of his mental state and therefore the obtained data may not be valid.


Check your Progress

1. Explain very briefly about the Introspection Method.
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2. Can the introspection method be applied to all?
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3. Mention three drawbacks of the introspection method.
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Observation Method

It is one of the oldest and most popular methods of educational psychology. It has replaced the method of introspection of self observation. The observation method is also called ‘objective observation’. According to John Dollard, “The primary research instrument would seen to be the observing human intelligence trying to make sense out of human experience.” Observation is one of the basic methods which mean that an individual’s behaviour (i.e. a person’s bodily gestures, facial expression and other bodily actions) is observed. It is accepted by psychologists that an individual’s overt behaviour is the result of his internal mental conditions. The observer makes systematic observation through recording in a natural situation. Observation can be both natural and participant. In natural observation the experimenter observes and records the behaviour of the subjects in the natural setting as has been mentioned above; here the subjects are not conscious about their behaviour being observed. In participant observation, the observer becomes a member of the group, gains the confidence of the other group members by building rapport with them, and observes their behaviour. Here also the subjects are not conscious that their behaviour is being observed.

Certain principles should be followed in the observation method. They are:

Observation should be made not only of the individual’s behaviour but of the whole situation.
Proper planning of the observation process should be made; objectives must be clear and the proper tools for recording must be kept properly.
Observer must select the appropriate number of subjects to be observed. Too many will be difficult to manage.
The time limit of observation must also be fixed. Too long time may make the observer distracted and tired and if it is too short it will not yield the proper information.
As observation is a systematic process, the observer must have the proper skills and aptitude and the ability to report accurately. Only then will the data be reliable.
Advantages of the observation method: The observation method has certain advantages such as :

It is observation of behaviour in natural setting.
It is objective and therefore more reliable.
It is applicable for all age groups.
Observation can be done through simple tools as well as sophisticated ones like camera, tape recorder video recorder etc.
Observation can be made in any situation of our day to day life.
Limitations of the Observation method: The limitations of the observation method are as follows:-

Data can be collected only about observable behaviour or overt behaviour. Therefore, it can be unreliable at times as the subject’s mental behaviour can be different.
Personal prejudices, or in other words, subjectivity on the part of the observer can be a big drawback of this method. The observer’s own interests, values may affect the interpretation of the data to a great extent.
The behaviour of the subjects may be affected by the time and place. Their behaviour may be different at different times under the same circumstances.
Sometimes the observation method lacks precision, as different observers tend to interpret the data in different ways. Therefore if the data collected are expressed in quantitative measures then they can be interpreted by statistical methods.
The observation method fails to establish a cause-effect relationship between the subjects’ behaviour and their surroundings. For examples delinquency may not always be caused by poverty, sometimes sound economic position of the subject can cause delinquent behaviour. Therefore it becomes difficult to draw conclusions that a particular situation can induce certain bind of behaviour in an individual.

Check Your Progress

4. Explain very briefly the observation method.
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5. Mention the principles of “Observation Method”.
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Interview Method

Today, for psychological researches, mainly, interview method has become very popular. In this method there is direct face to face contact between the investigator and the subject. Here the interviewer or the investigator asks questions to the subject and records the answers usually without the latter knowing it. In the words of Fred N. Kerlinger, “The interview is perhaps the ubiquitous method of obtaining information from people. It has been and is still being used in all kinds of practical situations, eg. the lawyer obtains information from his client, the physian learns about a patient; the administrative officer or professor determines the suitability of students for schools, departments and curricula. Only recently, however, interview has been used systematically for scientific purposes, both in the laboratory and in the field. He also said that it is a face to face inter-personal situation in which one person, the interviewer asks a person being interviewed, the respondent, questions designed to obtain answers pertinent to research problems” According to P.V. Young, “Interviewing is not a simple way to conversation between an interrogator and informant. Gestures, glances, facial expressions and pauses often reveal subtle feelings”

Objectives of Interview Method:

The main objective of the interview method is to collect information about unknown fact of the subject, his inner feelings,
Another objective is to make sure that the interviewer and the subject know each other quite well, so that the collected data is verified well,
Interview method aims at providing an opportunity to the investigator to observe the subject very closely; as a result, at times, the subject can provide new ideas to the investigator which help the latter in research work.

Types of Interview Method:


There are different types of interview – focused interview repeated interview, clinical interview, diagnostic interview, research interview personal interview etc.
Merits of the Interview Method: The merits of the interview method are-

High participation of the subject or respondent. The subject answers the questions in a free manner. Illiterate as well as children provide proper in-depth information as compared to other methods like observation, questionnaire method etc.
This method is very flexible as it becomes possible for the interviewer to reframe, repeat and rephrase the questions as suitable for the subject.
The subject’s emotions can be studied well. It is often observed that during an interview, the subject may become emotional and get excited, and may express freely his fears, anxieties, and complexes.
Through the interview method the investigator may get to know the cause of any behaviour pattern of the subject, the historical background of each incident.
The data collected through the interview method is reliable. The interviewer analyses and crosschecks the information provided, to find out whether the data is correct or not.
The interview method can be applied on all types of people- literate or illiterate children and adults and at times also on mentally unbalanced persons.
In the interview method, the subject and investigator are face to face with each other. Both discuss the problems and during discussion views can be exchanged and this is desirable in order to study every social problem along with the subject’s own problems.

Demerits of the Interview Method : The demerits of the interview methods are :-

It is a costly method. It involves a lot of traveling on the part of the interviewer. It is also time consuming as the interviewer has to physically locate a subject.
A lot of planning is required. The investigator has to provide a number of stimuli to get information from the subject, must make careful observation of the latter’s behaviour patterns so the interviewer must remember a number of things at the same time. So the whole process becomes too strenuous.
The subject may not reveal his true feelings and emotions.
Sometimes the interviewer may have preconceived notions which may not hold true during interview, but he is reluctant to change his views. P.V. Young said that biased and prior thinking may distort and invalidate the results of the whole interview.
The interviewer’s perception of things may clash with those of the interviewee’s. Their beliefs and values may be totally different. So the Investigator must be very proficient and must have proper insight into human nature.
There can be difficulty in persuading the subject to be interviewed. The subject may tend to be bored during the process and then the data obtained will not be valid

Check your Progress

6. Discuss breifly the interview method.
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7 Explain three advantages and three disadvantages of the interview method.
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Experimental Method

It is one of the most important and objective methods of psychology as it is very scientific. It is precise, planned, systematic, or in other words, it is observation under controlled conditions. According to J.W Best, “Experimental research is the description and analysis of what will be, or what will occur, under carefully controlled conditions”. In experiments, there is always the attempt to establish certain cause and effect relationships through carefully planned and controlled observation of the subject’s behaviour. The ‘experimental methods’ has certain characteristics. They are-

In the experimental method the conditions are always controlled.
It essentially requires at least two persons, the experimenter and the subject.
Usually the experimental method is applied on persons in a random order.
In the experimental method two different types of variables are used – (a) Independent variable like intelligence and (b) dependent variable like home or school environment, other socio-economic conditions etc.

Merits of Experimental Method : The experimental method has the following merits :

It is the most systematic method and the conditions can be completely controlled.
The data collected can be analysed in an objective manner and so it is reliable.
A cause-effect relationship of individual’s behaviour can be established.
Hypothesis can be formulated and the result of the experiment can be tested keeping this in consideration.
It discards subjective viewpoints.
It increases the scope for further research as the result of the experimental method can be precisely recorded.
Drawbacks of the Experimental Method

The drawbacks of the experimental method are -

As human behaviour is changeable, identical behaviour of the same individual not occur even under identical conditions at different times.
Mostly experiments have been conducted on animals like cats, dogs and rats and the principles arrived at on the basis of such tests may not explain human beings.
It is often difficult to conduct experiments in social sciences unlike physical sciences.
The experimental method is costly and time consuming.
The experimenter must have specialized skills to conduct experiments.
The tools used in experiments may not be satisfactory and therefore the obtained data may not be reliable.
The experimental method can produce results of probability and not certainly.

Check Your Progress

8. Explain briefly the “Experimental Method”.
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9. What are the characteristics of the experimental method?
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10. Mention two merits and two drawbacks of the experimental method.
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The Case Study Method


The ‘Case Study’ method deals with the emotional and mental state of an individual. This method is applied to study special behavioural problems of an individual by specially trained teachers, psychologist and psychiatrists. Through this method total information of family background, schooling and also social conditions of the individuals is obtained; hence it can be called a cumulative record which is of great help in understanding the source of an individual’s fears, anxiety, worry, or any kind of maladjustment. The main objective of this method is to help the individual adjust better with the environment and gain self confidence to attain higher levels of achievement. Different steps may be used in the case study method- some of them are mentioned below:-

Basic preliminary information about the subject’s name, age, sex, parent’s age, education, occupation as well as social status.
Proper physical check-up of the individual is done to ascertain whether his/her behavioural problem is due to any disease. Only in the absence of any physical ailment can psychological treatment start.
The subject should be very comfortable with the investigator while the latter takes the information. The investigator (teacher or psychologist) should be friendly and the language of collecting data must be simple so that free and frank responses can be available.
The investigator must not tire the subject; instead, regular intervals of rest should be given. The method cannot be applied hastily - it may go on for several weeks or months.
The behaviour of the individual should be observed in natural setting and working conditions. Doing so will provide correct data which ultimately in most cases, will lead to proper understanding of the root cause of the person’s problems.
Special care must be taken in the post treatment period so that there is no recurrence of the problem. The parents and family members and other associates must take care so that the subject can modify his behaviour and prevent maladjustment.

Method of Treatment : Treatment methods of maladjusted individuals include the following :-

Efforts must be made to modify the environmental factors so that the individual can adapt better.
If the existing environment cannot be modified then the individual should be physically placed in a different environment which is more congenial for his development.
Proper guidance and counselling should be provided to the individual.
Different types of therapies should be applied like play therapy, group therapy, psychotherapy etc. by experts.
Case study method provides details about the individual’s behaviour, an in-depth study about the root cause of the behavioural problems, and help to provide guidance to modify the behaviour of the subject.

Limitation of the Cast-study Method : The case- study also has certain limitations. They are :

The investigator should be technically proficient to handle a case. In most cases, however, the investigators are not found to be experts in this field.
Sometimes the information may become highly subjective. The subject, parents and other associates may hide certain facts about the subject’s behavioural problems and so the data collected may not be reliable and valid.
There is a possibility of the investigator of becoming involved with the problems of the individual and therefore his diagnosis and counselling or other methods of treatment may not be effective.
he possibility of errors in understanding the problems as well as treatment is high; therefore utmost care must be taken to minimize the errors.


IMPORTANCE AND APPLICATION OF EDUCATIONAL METHODS IN TEACHING LEARNING PROCESS


Educational psychology is a scientific and systematic study to know the behaviour of learners. It means application of psychological principles in the educational environment. Educational psychology deals with the problems of teaching and learning and helps the teacher to modify the learner’s behaviour. As the scope of educational psychology is centred around the teaching learning process, several methods, which are already mentioned, are used. The main objective of the application of these methods is to study all the aspects of the learner’s behaviour. The different methods and techniques help to gather facts about the different stages of development of the child, his continuous adjustment with the environment learning from experience. W. Wundt was the pioneer in establishing the first psychological laboratory in Leipzig. He emphasized on the importance of certain methods like experimental, case-study and others which can be applied to know about the subject in the teaching learning process. Before that period introspection was the only method of educational psychology.

Different methods provide inputs to interpret the behaviour of an individual – at times the state of his unconscious mind also. The educational methods study the cause and effect relationship of human behaviour. Individual difference is also studied through the various methods.

Check Your Progress

11. Explain briefly the case study method.
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12. Mention some steps of the case-study method.
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13. Discuss two advantages of the case study method.
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14. What are the limitations of the case study method?
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15. Discuss briefly the importance of application of educational methods
in the teaching learning process.
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LET US SUM UP


After having the discussion on this unit, the followings are the basic ideas that should be pointed bellow:

One main objective of educational psychology is to help a teacher to understand his students in the educative process.
The application of educational psychology is to know about a learner’s personality.
Some of the methods of educational psychology are - introspection, observation, experimental, case study, interview method, psychological method etc.
The introspection method is the oldest of all the methods of educational psychology. It means ‘self observation.’
Introspection method is the easiest and does not require any tool.
However in this method the investigator and subject is the same person and so a person may not consider certain feelings and so the data is subjective and therefore reliable.
The ‘observation’ method is one of the most popular of all methods of psychology.
Through this method the observer makes systematic observation in a natural setting.
Observation method is objective as observation is made not only of the subject’s behaviour but of the situation as a whole.
Personal prejudices, or in other words, subjectivity on the part of the observer can be a big drawback of the observation method.
The observation method fails to establish a cause effect relationship between the subject, behaviour and his surroundings.
The ‘experimental’ method of psychology is precise, planned, systematic - it is observation under controlled conditions.
The data collected through the experimental method can be analyzed in an objective manner.
Hypothesis can be formulated and the result of the experiment can be tested keeping this in consideration. It discards subjective viewpoints.
The experimental method is costly and time consuming and sometimes it is difficult to maintain properly controlled conditions.
The experimental method can produce results of probability and not certainty.
The ‘Case-study’ method studies the emotional and other behavioural problems of an individual by specially trained teachers, psychologist and psychologists.
The investigator must be certain about the absence of any disease in the subject and must be very friendly with the latter.
The behaviour of the subject should be observed in natural setting, – in the living and working conditions.
Special care must also be taken in the post treatment period so that there is no recurrence of the problem.
Efforts must be made to modify the environmental factors so that the individual can adapt letter.
The investigator, however, should be technically proficient in handling a case or else there may be a tendency on the part of the investigator to become subjective.
The possibility of errors in understanding the problems as well as in the treatment is high.
Educational psychology deals with the problems of teaching and learning and helps the teacher to modify the learner’s behaviour.
The different methods and techniques help to gather facts about the different stages of developmentof the child, his conticuous adjustment with the environment by learning from experience.

FURTHER READINGS


  • Aggarwal, J.C.; : Essentials of Educational Psychology, Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi,,
  • l Mangal, Dr. S.K., : Psychological Foundations of Education, Prakash Brothers, Ludhiana,

ANSWERS TO CHECK YOUR PROGRESS



1.
Some of the methods of educational psychology are :-

(a) Methods of Introspection, (b) Observation Method, (c) Experimental Method, (d) Case-study method, and (e) Interview Method.
2.
The introspection method implies ‘self observation’ - i.e. looking into our own minds and recording what we thereby discover. Through this method one can discover one’s own state of consciousness. Introspection examines inner behaviour and an individual knows about his own feelings or thoughts in a particular situation.Three merits of the introspection method are :-

(a) It is the easiest of all methods of psychology.
(b) It does not require any special tool or laboratory as one person is both the subject and the investigator.
(c) Introspection is economical and has generated a lot of research.
3.
A big drawback of the introspection method is that it cannot be applied by sick or abnormal people and children.
4.
‘Observation’ method means observation of an individual’s behaviour – his bodily gestures facial expressions and other bodily actions. The observer makes systematic observation through recording in a natural situation. This method is very useful as psychologists accept the view that an individual’s overt behaviour is the result of his internal mental conditions.
5.
Three principles to be followed in the observation method are :-

a) Observation should be made not only of the individual’s behaviour but of the whole situation.
b) Proper planning of the observation process should be made; objectives must be clear and proper tools must be used.
c) Time of observation should be fixed; too long time may make the observer distracted and tired and too short time will not provide the proper information.
6.
In the interview method, there is direct face to face contact between the investigator and the subject. Through this method the interviewer collects information about the subject by asking question unknown facts of the subject, his inner feelings becomes known to the investigator.
7.
Three advantages the interview method are –

(i) It can be applied on all people. Even illiterate and children provide proper in-depth information about their behaviour through the interview method.
(ii) Again, the interview method is very flexible as the investigator can reframe and rephrase the questions as suitable for the subject.
(iii) The interview method enables the investigator or interviewer to study the emotions of the subject well.

Three disadvantages of the interview method are :-

(1) It is time consuming and costly.
(ii) The whole process is strenuous as it involves meticulous planning.
(iii) The subject may not reveal his true feeling and emotions.
8.
The experimental method is one of the most important and objective methods of psychology. Through this method attempts are made to establish cause and effect relationships through carefully planned and controlled observation of the subject’s behaviour.
9.
Some of the characteristics of the experimental method are :-

a) It essentially requires at least two persons, the experimenter and the subject.
(b) In experimental method the conditions are always controlled.
(c) The experimental method involves two different types of variables – independent and dependent.
(d) The experimental method is applied on persons in a random order.
10.
Two merits of the experimental method are :-

(i) It is the systematic method and the conditions are completely controlled.
(ii) The data can be analyzed in objective manner and so it is reliable.

Two demerits of the experimental method are :-

(i) It deals with only the overt behaviour of the subject.
(ii) The tools used in experiments may not be satisfactory and this definitely affects the reliability of the data.
11.
The ‘case-study’ method is applied to study the special behavioural problems of an individual by specially trained teachers, psychologist and psychiatrist. The main objective of this method is to help the individual adjust better with the environment; basic information about the subject is obtained, and accordingly, the efforts are made so that the subject can adapt to the environment better.
12.
Some steps of the ‘Case-study’ method are –

a) Basic preliminary information about the subject’s name, age, sex as well as parents’ age, education and social status should be obtained.
b) Proper physical check-up of the subject should be done.
c) The subject should be comfortable with the investigator and the latter must be properly trained to take care of the subjects.
d) The behaviour of the subject should be observed in a natural setting.
e) Special care must be taken in the post treatment period so that there is no recurrence of the problem.
13.
The two advantages of the case study method are :-

a) The case study method is very effective in understanding an individual’s anxiety, worry or any kind of maladjustment of an individual.
b) Proper guidance and counselling can be provided to the subject to help the latter adjust with the environment letter.
14.
Three drawbacks of the case study method are :-

a) In most cases the investigators are not technically proficient and so the data obtained may not be reliable.
b) There is a possibility of the investigator of becoming involved with the problems of the individual and so the guidance and counseling may not be effective.
c) The possibility of errors in understanding the problems as well as in treatment is high.
15.
The methods of educational psychology help to study all aspects of the child’s behaviour. The different methods and techniques enable the teacher to gather facts about the different stages of development of the child, his adjustment with the environment by learning from experience.


POSSIBLE QUESTIONS


1. Explain the introspection and observation methods of educational psychology.
2. What do you mean by Interview method? What are its advantages and disadvantages?
3. Explain the experimental method of educational psychology with its merits and demerits.
4. Explain how the case-study method of educational psychology helps the teacher to modify the behavioural problems of a child.


REFERENCES


  • Aggarwal, J.C., “Essentials of Educational Psychology, Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.
  • Chauhan, S.S., “Advanced Educational Psychology”. Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.
  • Crow and Crow, “Educational Psychology”, Eurasia Publishing House, New Delhi.
  • Douglass and Hollemel, “Fundamentals of Educational Psychology”, MacMillan.
  • Srivastava, D.N., “General Psychology, “Vinod Pustak Mandir, Agra-2.