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Use of animals in psychological experiments - Essay Example

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A substantial amount of research in psychology uses animals in its research,as a certain amount of animal research is synonymous to answering questions that link humans with the continuity of evolution.Research done by the psychologist is to learn more about behavior…
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Use of animals in psychological experiments
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Download file to see previous pages A substantial amount of research in psychology uses animals in its research,as a certain amount of animal research is synonymous to answering questions that link humans with the continuity of evolution.Research done by the psychologist is to learn more about behavior, and how the knowledge of behavior is of paramount importance to the progression of people and animals welfare. The development of scientific expertise has shown surprising resemblances that link humans and animals and this has greatly changed the outlook about the use of animals in experimentation. However, this understanding of the similar genetic connection between humans and animals has only made the interest in experiments on animals greater. Despite this as further evidence of the range of emotions and thought processes that animals are able to experience have emerged, scientists, including psychologists, have looked for different forms of studying behavior which does not include hurting animals physically or emotionally, as the use of psychological research on animals involves insistent mental, psychological and physical stress being put on the animals (Harding, 2009).Charles Darwin's work emphasizes the link between animals and humans, it is imperative to study the unique characteristics that creatures exhibit whether they are human or non-human, as this improves our understanding, thus improving welfare of animals and humans (APA, 2009). His use of experiments on animals while working on his theory of evolution in 1859 began the history of use of animal experiments to extend the knowledge on human behavior. At the end of the nineteenth century, Ivan Pavlov (Harding, 2009) developed his experiments on the 'conditioned' responses in dogs, these experiments and the subsequent theory that developed from them, enhanced the influence and dominance of the behavioralist school of psychology. The modern treatment program, called behavior modification is based on conclusions generated on operant conditioning from Pavlov's experiments on dogs (Harding, 2009). At this time however, the behaviorist school of thought did not believe that animals were capable of any emotion, and all the descriptions of the animals behavior was based on their physiologic response to the stimuli, and not on the psychological outcomes.
In the 1950's Harry Harlow's (Findarticle, 2009) well-documented experiments on monkeys developed into an important psychological theory, attachment theory. Attachment theory was a deviation from Freud's theory that the child's bond with the mother is of upmost importance in the development of the adult personality, developed by John Bowlby. Harlow's, and others, experiments with monkey's led to the further development of this theory. As attachment is a major factor in theories of child development, scientific experiments and studies have continued to be completed in this area (Findarticle, 2009). Harlow (Findarticle, 2009), made two surrogate mother dolls for the infant monkeys. One doll was built from wire and held a bottle of milk; the other was made of soft material. From a behaviorist view point, the infant monkey's should have gone to and developed an attachment the mother made of wire, because she had the food, however the monkeys developed their attachments with the mother made of soft material, which suggested that comfort is more essential for the baby monkey than food. MRMC (2009) go on to state that Harlow's 'maternal deprivation' experiments on infant monkeys created such fear in their lives, it led to some of the monkeys developing psychological impairment and maladaptive behaviors later in life. Harlow (MRMC, 2009) asserted that these results showed the significance of maternal contact, however, it is argued that these results had been made known previously in studies using humans.
According to the Medical Research Modernization Committee (MRMC, 2009), animal experiments which force animals to experience painful stimuli have been widely ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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