chapter  15
38 Pages

Reading Comprehension and Readability in Educational Practice and Psychological Theory

From Miinsterberg to Thorndike there has thus existed a well-articulated program for the cooperation between psychology and education. This program has not yet borne the fruit its originators had hoped for. Educational research, instead of being based in psychology, has become empirical, data rich and theory poor, in danger of becoming stuck in that "rule of thumb stage" Dewey warned against, and distrustful of academic psychology. The reasons for this distrust are perfectly valid, of course: Too many grandiose promises have been made that couldn't be kept, a la Watson's "guarantee" to take any normal infant and "train him to become any type of specialist I might select-doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief" (Watson, 1924-25, pp. 82-85). Perhaps the main reason for the present state of affairs was that psychology simply was not ready to deliver the goods. Our theories were, and to some extent still are, too crude to be of much use to the educational researchers, especially in those areas of complex information processing that are of greatest interest to them.