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The Use of Animals in Psychological Research - Essay Example

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An author of the present writing "The Use of Animals in Psychological Research" aims to briefly discuss the background behind the use of animals as a research and testing subjects. Furthermore, the paper explores some of the ethical aspects of such use…
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The Use of Animals in Psychological Research
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 The Use of Animals in Psychological research
Development in medical science is based largely on experimentation and research and animals have served to be the subjects for this purpose. Animal research has played a key role in the advancements in psychological knowledge over the twentieth century. In this regard the American Association for the Advancement of Science in the year 1990 clearly presented this fact in these words, “The use of animals has been and continues to be essential…. In applied research with direct clinical applications in animals and humans.” Animals are used in psychological research because they assist in the better understanding of human psychological characteristics which include remembering things and the changes seen in periods of strain. This research has assisted in the understanding of psychopathological conditions which include schizophrenia and depressive disorders as well as the assessment of the untoward effects of medications used in the treatment of psychological conditions.
With the progression of the human understanding, ethics have come into existence and the use of animals in research has been questioned from the ethical point of view. To overcome these problems the American Psychological Association has developed ethical guidelines for the use of animals in this type of research. The main points include the respect for the law of the relevant country and area with regards to experimentation as are applied to the experiments conducted on human beings. The animals that are being used in the process should be under the watch of special overseers who possess knowledge with regards to the proper requirements of the animals. These personnel should also guide the researchers regarding these requirements so that the animals are properly taken care of during the experiments. The other important guideline presents the fact that the animals should not be harmed and given unnecessary pain.
To learn and progress in any scientific field, research and experimentation is an important part of the process. Hence I believe that animal research is fully justified where it serves this purpose. I believe that to understand completely the functioning of the human brain and the psychological working of the human being, research is essential and using of animals for the right purpose is totally justified. If research serves to enhance the quality of life and works towards the formation procedures which can treat psychological conditions, it should be allowed.
The debate on the understanding of animal rights and welfare has led to the creation of groups who argue that animal research is not justified considering the ethical perspective. The argument presented is that animals possess rights and differentiating and considering them inferior to the human species is similar to the fact of creation of classifying human beings as superior according to their races and genders. Also it has been considered that the human brain and its functioning are very different from that of the other species and animals and hence it is not very clinically useful and productive. There have also been implications that animals are treated in the worst possible ways in experiments and codes of ethics are not followed. Therefore the animals should not be subjected to these conditions and they do not serve to be ideal subjects for experiments.
But animal research has served to provide with breakthroughs in the field of psychology and it is argued that even if human brain and the brains of animals are not similar, there do exist certain similarities which assist in reaching to good conclusions. On the other hand, the toxicities of drugs might prove fatal or harm humans and if these drugs are tested first on animals, then this might prove to be a life saving measure. The mechanisms of drugs used in psychopharmacology can also be understood by these experiments.
References:
Ethics in Psychological Research.
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Plous, S. (January 01, 1996). Attitudes Toward the Use of Animals in Psychological Research and Education: Results From a National Survey of Psychologists. The American Psychologist, 51, 11, 1167. http://www.socialpsychology.org/pdf/ap1996.pdf
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