Why do some studies use animals instead of humans?

Watch
beautyviews
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#1
Just started research methods for year 13 psychology

I am writing an AO2 on Harlow using animals in his attachment study but i have to make a point about why he may have used animals instead of humans to test attachment.

Can anyone help? Thankyou!
0
reply
TheFinalFlare
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#2
Report 6 years ago
#2
Hey there,

I don't have any points that specifically relate to Harlow's study, however I do have generalised points:

> Animals are more naive in comparison to humans, as they are unlikely to have prior knowledge of experience that will affect behaviour. This minimises the possibility of demand characteristics from occurring and therefore, the animals will display natural behaviour. This allows studies using animals to have high levels of validity.
> It is ethically possible to create a level of harm that is not possible with humans, as long as the research provides a significant benefit to others (The cost & benefit levels when using animals can be measured using Bateson's Decision Making Cube).
> Animals are easier to monitor during research than humans.
> Large samples are able to be produced in a short period of time when using animals, reducing the amount of time it takes to identify changes/differences in behaviour.
> Particular procedures (e.g. isolation, lesioning, etc.) can be used on animals, whereas using these procedures on humans would be unethical.
> The central nervous system for animals is much more simpler in comparison to humans, making them ideal models when testing hypotheses regarding behaviour.

I hope this helps ^^!
0
reply
iammichealjackson
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#3
Report 6 years ago
#3
(Original post by TheFinalFlare)
Hey there,

I don't have any points that specifically relate to Harlow's study, however I do have generalised points:

> Animals are more naive in comparison to humans, as they are unlikely to have prior knowledge of experience that will affect behaviour. This minimises the possibility of demand characteristics from occurring and therefore, the animals will display natural behaviour. This allows studies using animals to have high levels of validity.
> It is ethically possible to create a level of harm that is not possible with humans, as long as the research provides a significant benefit to others (The cost & benefit levels when using animals can be measured using Bateson's Decision Making Cube).
> Animals are easier to monitor during research than humans.
> Large samples are able to be produced in a short period of time when using animals, reducing the amount of time it takes to identify changes/differences in behaviour.
> Particular procedures (e.g. isolation, lesioning, etc.) can be used on animals, whereas using these procedures on humans would be unethical.
> The central nervous system for animals is much more simpler in comparison to humans, making them ideal models when testing hypotheses regarding behaviour.

I hope this helps ^^!
This is a good list, although the last point is debateable (in what way is the human CNS more complex? humans certainly do not have the biggest brains?), most animal studies actually have SMALLER samples than human studies (im not sure where you get this from, although if its in your textbook ignore me, but then whoeever wrote it is probably incorrect), and I don't really understand your first point.

I generally wouldn't include your first point (what does naive mean?). You could argue that animals have less "cultural influences" (but see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_culture) so that the early environment may be less influential. If your using animals born in captivity you have the advantage of controlling the early environment somewhat, which may be useful. You cannot have demand characteristics in animal research because your animals do not understand the concept of research and cannot try to predict what you want (if using this definition; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demand_characteristics), however of course they cannot understand the researchers intentions because they are animals! (although on that note there is research that some non-human primates understand intentions generally...)

There are two huge points missing, the first with regard to harlow:

-Experimentation
--One can experimentally manipulate the early social environments of non-human animals, which cannot be done in humans
--One can therefore make strong conclusions about the effects of early environments...
--In humans, one is only limited to making a correlation between early environments and later outcomes.

-Comparative Approach (not specifically related to harlow, but its a general reason for studying animals)
--Studying animal behaviour is interesting in its own right http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_psychology
0
reply
beautyviews
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#4
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#4
(Original post by TheFinalFlare)
Hey there,

I don't have any points that specifically relate to Harlow's study, however I do have generalised points:

> Animals are more naive in comparison to humans, as they are unlikely to have prior knowledge of experience that will affect behaviour. This minimises the possibility of demand characteristics from occurring and therefore, the animals will display natural behaviour. This allows studies using animals to have high levels of validity.
> It is ethically possible to create a level of harm that is not possible with humans, as long as the research provides a significant benefit to others (The cost & benefit levels when using animals can be measured using Bateson's Decision Making Cube).
> Animals are easier to monitor during research than humans.
> Large samples are able to be produced in a short period of time when using animals, reducing the amount of time it takes to identify changes/differences in behaviour.
> Particular procedures (e.g. isolation, lesioning, etc.) can be used on animals, whereas using these procedures on humans would be unethical.
> The central nervous system for animals is much more simpler in comparison to humans, making them ideal models when testing hypotheses regarding behaviour.

I hope this helps ^^!
(Original post by iammichealjackson)
This is a good list, although the last point is debateable (in what way is the human CNS more complex? humans certainly do not have the biggest brains?), most animal studies actually have SMALLER samples than human studies (im not sure where you get this from, although if its in your textbook ignore me, but then whoeever wrote it is probably incorrect), and I don't really understand your first point.

I generally wouldn't include your first point (what does naive mean?). You could argue that animals have less "cultural influences" (but see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_culture) so that the early environment may be less influential. If your using animals born in captivity you have the advantage of controlling the early environment somewhat, which may be useful. You cannot have demand characteristics in animal research because your animals do not understand the concept of research and cannot try to predict what you want (if using this definition; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demand_characteristics), however of course they cannot understand the researchers intentions because they are animals! (although on that note there is research that some non-human primates understand intentions generally...)

There are two huge points missing, the first with regard to harlow:

-Experimentation
--One can experimentally manipulate the early social environments of non-human animals, which cannot be done in humans
--One can therefore make strong conclusions about the effects of early environments...
--In humans, one is only limited to making a correlation between early environments and later outcomes.

-Comparative Approach (not specifically related to harlow, but its a general reason for studying animals)
--Studying animal behaviour is interesting in its own right http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_psychology
Thank you this is exactly what i needed!
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

What factors affect your mental health the most right now?

Anxiousness about lockdown easing (99)
5.09%
Uncertainty around my education (291)
14.97%
Uncertainty around my future career prospects (205)
10.55%
Lack of purpose or motivation (272)
13.99%
Lack of support system (eg. teachers, counsellors, delays in care) (85)
4.37%
Impact of lockdown on physical health (111)
5.71%
Loneliness (169)
8.69%
Financial worries (69)
3.55%
Concern about myself or my loves ones getting/having been ill (86)
4.42%
Exposure to negative news/social media (92)
4.73%
Lack of real life entertainment (108)
5.56%
Lack of confidence in making big life decisions (171)
8.8%
Worry about missed opportunities during the pandemic (186)
9.57%

Watched Threads

View All