Need help with evaluating animal research in psychologyWatch this thread
thanks a million!!
1. Ethics- Many people would say that it is unethical to harm animals in order to advance our understanding of psychology. Some people would say we don't have the right to do this as it could cause them pain and suffering or even kill them. Others would argue that if it is for the benefit of science, rather than for example cosmetics, then it is acceptable to use animals but it is widely debated.
2. Generalisability- It could be argued that, as animals have very different physiology to humans, we don't actually learn that much about human psychology from experimenting on animals because the results can't be generalised from the animal's body and brain, to a human. This is because humans as a species have much higher level functioning than all other animals and consequently there are many other factors that affect their behaviour.
They're just the points that I would cover, but I did get an A* in psychology A level last year so I don't think you should be too far off the mark if you use the ideas above. Hope that helps
There are various advantages of animal reductionism. First, it can be arguedthat simple forms of learning (e.g., classical conditioning, operantconditioning) can be studied more directly in other species than in the humanone. Our behaviour is influenced by language, by social factors, and by culturalfactors, and these may complicate the interpretation of findings. Second, somephenomena initially observed in other species have important implications forhumans. For example, Seligman (1975) discovered learned helplessness in dogs, and this led to an enhanced understanding of depression in humans (seeEysenck’s A2 Level Psychology Chapter 11, Psychopathology: Depression).
What are the disadvantages of animal reductionism? First, the human species isso different from other species that this greatly limits what we learn bystudying them. For example, our large neocortex relative to other speciesequips us with cognitive abilities (e.g., language) that simply don’t exist inother species (see A2 Level Psychology Chapter 8, Intelligence andLearning). Second, the findings obtained from studies based on animalreductionism can be very misleading so far as the human species is concerned.Skinner’s research on rats revealed that they are motivated to obtain immediaterewards and avoid immediate punishments. However, such research tells usprecisely nothing about important aspects of human motivation such as the wayour behaviour is influenced by long-term goals (e.g., achieving a good grade inA-level Psychology).To summarise: Human behaviour can be understood by looking at less complex species.
- Advantages include:
- Simple forms of learning can be studied more directly in non-human species.
- Observations in other species can have important implications for humans (e.g., learned helplessness).
- Disadvantages include:
- The human species is very different from other species.
- Findings from studies on non-human animals can be misleading in terms of the human species.
Hope this helps