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Pedology (paidology, paedology) is the study of children's behavior and development (as distinct from pedagogy, the art or science of teaching, and pediatrics, the field of medicine relating to children).

The origins of this trend in psychology and pedagogy go back to the end of the 18th century with the separation of a branch of psychology that would form the basis of pedagogy, a pedagogic psychology or "experimental pedagogic psychology", "experimental pedagogy", "experimental education".

G. Stanley Hall (1844-1924) fostered pedology as a separate study, and also became instrumental in the development of modern educational psychology. An American researcher, Oscar Chrisman, proposed the term "pedology" in 1893. At the end of the 19th century, pedology as a comprehensive study of the child came to prominence in Europe as an attempt to create a study of children in the manner of natural sciences. In 1909 Professor Kazimierz Twardowski organized a Pedological Society in Lviv, Austro-Hungary (now Ukraine). In 1910 a similar society was organized in Kraków. In 1911 the first World Congress in Pedology took place in Brussels, Belgium, with attendants from 22 countries.

World War I (1914-1918) effectively put an end to the development of this study in Western Europe.[citation needed]

Since pedology as a branch of science never reached its maturity, there is no common established understanding as to the scope or instruments of pedology.

Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland became the first university in the United States to offer a Bachelor's Degree in pedology.[1] A 2014 document from the university refers to "the pedology major (now known as child and adolescent studies)".[2]

Pedology in the Soviet Union[edit]

In Imperial Russia a prominent developer of the field was Aleksandr Nechayev (Александр Петрович Нечаев) in St. Petersburg, who in 1901 created the laboratory of experimental pedagogical psychology. Soviet pedology is traditionally thought to be founded by the efforts of Vladimir Bekhterev; in particular, in 1918 he founded the Institute of Pedology as part of psychological institutions united into the Institute for Study of Brain and Psychical Activity.

This science was intensively pursued in 1920s-1930s in the Soviet Union. A journal Pedologiya ("Педология") was issued. Lev Vygotsky was one of its prominent supporters.

While many works of pedologists were of considerable value, the approach was severely criticized for over-enthusiastic but poorly grounded approach of testing for predicting a child's mental development, in addition to estimating its status.

It was officially banned in 1936 after a special decree of VKP(b) Central Committee "On Pedological Perversions in the Narkompros System" on July 4, 1936 [3].


  1. ^ "Pedology Major". Archived from the original on 18 March 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Faculty Spotlight: Behavioral, Health and Human Services" (PDF). Assessment Times. Bowie State University. August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Russian Federation". Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  • Depaepe, M. (1985). "Science, technology and paedology: The concept of science at the Faculte Internationale de Pedologie in Brussels (1912-1914)." Scientia Paedogica Experimentalis, 1, 14-28.
  • Depaepe, M. (1992). "Experimental Research in Education 1890-1940: historical processes behind the development of a discipline in western Europe and the United States." Aspects of Education, Journal of the Institute of Education, University of Hull, 42, pp. 67-93.
  • Depaepe, M. (1993). "Zum Wohl des Kindes? Pädologie, pädagogische Psychologie und experimentelle Pädagogik in Europa und den USA, 1890-1940." Leuven: Universitaire Pers/Weinheim: Deutscher Studienverlag.

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