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Encyclopedia > Comparative psychology
A brain of a cat
A brain of a cat

Psychologists and scientists do not always agree on what should be considered Comparative Psychology. Taken in its most usual, broad sense, it refers to the study of the behavior and mental life of animals other than human beings. Another possibility is that the emphasis should be placed on cross-species comparisons—including human to non-human animal comparisons. Some researchers however, feel that direct comparisons should not be the sole focus of comparative psychology and that intense focus on a single organism to understand its behavior is just as desirable, if not more. Donald Dewsbury reviews the works of several psychologists and their definitions and concludes that the object of comparative psychology is to establish principles of generality focusing on both proximate and ultimate causation[1]. It has been suggested that the term itself be discarded since it fails to be descriptive of the field but no appropriate replacement has been found. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Image File history File links Cat_brain. ... Image File history File links Cat_brain. ... For the notion of proximate cause in law, see proximate cause. ...

Contents

Ten Myths About Comparative Psychology[2]

1. The rationale for comparative psychology stems directly from a human orientation. 2. Psychologists lack the aesthetic sense and love for animals that characterizes ethology. 3. Comparative psychologists are not concerned with the study of evolution. 4. Comparative psychologists confine themselves to artificial laboratory situations rather than the field. 5. Comparative psychologists study a limited range of species. 6. Comparative psychologists study only domesticated species. 7. Comparative psychologists fail to compare closely related species. 8. Comparative psychologists are preoccupied with instrumentation. 9. Psychologists rarely begin their studies with description. 10. Psychologists confine their studies to learning rather than to a wide range of ecologically relevant behavior.


History

Charles Darwin was central in the development of comparative psychology; it is thought that psychology should be spoken in terms of "pre-" and "post-" Darwin because his contributions were so influential. Darwin’s theory lead to several hypotheses, one being that the factors that set humans apart, such as higher mental, moral and spiritual faculties, could be accounted for by evolutionary principles. In response to the vehement opposition to Darwinism was the “anecdotal movement” led by George Romanes who set out to prove that animals possessed a “rudimentary human mind”[3]. For other people of the same surname, and places and things named after Charles Darwin, see Darwin. ... A 19th century naturalist, George John Romanes (May 19, 1848 - May 23, 1894), coined the term, and laid the foundation of, comparative psychology, and postulated a similarity of cognitive processes and mechanisms between humans and animals. ...


Near the end of the 19th century several scientists existed whose work was also very influential. Douglas Alexander Spalding, who was called the “first experimental biologist”[4] worked mostly with birds—studying instinct, imprinting, and visual and auditory development. Jacques Loeb emphasized the importance of objectively studying behavior, Sir John Lubbock is credited with first using mazes and puzzle devices to study learning1 and Lewis Henry Morgan is thought to be “the first ethologist in the sense in which we presently use the word”[5]. Jacques Loeb (April 7, 1859 – February 11, 1924) was a German-born American physiologist and biologist. ... John Lubbock. ... Lewis Henry Morgan (1818-1881) was an American lawyer and amateur scholar best known for his work on cultural evolution and Native Americans. ...


Throughout the long history of comparative psychology, repeated attempts have been made to enforce a more disciplined approach, in which similar studies are carried out on animals of different species, and the results interpreted in terms of their different phylogenetic or ecological backgrounds. Behavioral ecology in the 1970’s gave a more solid base of knowledge against which a true comparative psychology could develop. However, the broader use of the term "comparative psychology" is enshrined in the names of learned societies and academic journals, not to mention in the minds of psychologists of other specialisms, so it is never likely to disappear completely.


A persistent question with which comparative psychologists have been faced is the relative intelligence of different species of animal. Much effort has gone into explaining that this may not be a good question, but it will not go away. Indeed, some early attempts at a genuinely comparative psychology involved evaluating how well animals of different species could learn different tasks. These attempts floundered; in retrospect it can be seen that they were not sufficiently sophisticated, either in their analysis of the demands of different tasks, or in their choice of species to compare. More recent comparative work has been more successful, partly because it has drawn upon studies in ethology and behavioral ecology to make informed choices of species and tasks to compare.


Species studied

A wide variety of species have been studied by comparative psychologists. However a small number have dominated the scene. Pavlov's early work used dogs, but although they have been the subject of occasional studies since then they have not figured prominently. Increasing interest in the study of abnormal animal behaviour has led to a return to the study of most kinds of domestic animal. Thorndike began his studies with cats, but American comparative psychologists quickly shifted to the more economical rat, which remained the almost invariable subject for the first half of the twentieth century and continues to be used. Skinner introduced the use of pigeons, and they continue to be important in some fields. There has always been interest in studying various species of primate; important contributions to social and developmental psychology were made by Harry F. Harlow's studies of maternal deprivation in rhesus monkeys. Interest in primate studies has increased with the rise in studies of animal cognition. Other animals thought to be intelligent have also been increasingly studied. Examples include various species of corvid, parrots — especially the African Gray Parrot — and dolphins. Trinomial name Canis lupus familiaris The dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is a domestic subspecies of the wolf, a mammal of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. ... Binomial name Felis catus Linnaeus, 1758 Synonyms Felis lybica invalid junior synonym The cat (or domestic cat, house cat) is a small carnivorous mammal. ... Species 50 species; see text *Several subfamilies of Muroids include animals called rats. ... Pigeon redirects here. ... Families 15, See classification A primate is any member of the biological order Primates, the group that contains all the species commonly related to the lemurs, monkeys, and apes, with the latter category including humans. ... Harry Frederick Harlow (October 31, 1905–December 6, 1981) was an American psychologist best known for his maternal-deprivation and social isolation experiments on rhesus monkeys, which demonstrated the importance of care-giving and companionship in the early stages of primate development. ... It was Dr John Bowlby in Maternal Care and Mental Health (1951)[1] who argued that infants form a special relationship with their mother, which is qualitatively different from the relationship which they form with any other Mother and child kind of person. ... Binomial name Macaca mulatta Zimmermann, 1780 The Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta), often called the Rhesus monkey, is one of the best known species of Old World monkeys. ... Intelligence is the mental capacity to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend ideas and language, and learn. ... Genera Platylophus Gymnorhinus Cyanocitta Aphelocoma Cyanocorax Garrulus Cissa Perisoreus Urocissa Cyanopica Dendrocitta Crypsirina Pica Zavattariornis Podoces Nucifraga Pyrrhocorax Ptilostomus Corvus The crow family (Corvidae) has members that are above average in size for the bird order Passeriformes; in fact, it includes several that are among the largest. ... Binomial name Psittacus erithacus Linnaeus, 1758 The African Grey Parrot is a large parrot of the genus Psittacus, native to Africa. ... Genera See article below. ...

 Rats Invertebrates Fishes Amphibians and reptiles Birds Mammals 

This is an article about wild rats; for pet rats, see Fancy rat Species 50 species; see text *Several subfamilies of Muroids include animals called rats. ... Invertebrate is a term coined by Chevalier de Lamarck to describe any animal without a backbone or vertebra, like insects, squids and worms. ... Atlantic herring, Clupea harengus, the most abundant fish species in the world, Photo by Uwe Kils This page is about the animals which live in water. ... For other uses, see Amphibian (disambiguation). ... Orders  Crocodilia - Crocodilians scary crocodiles. ... For other meanings of bird, see bird (disambiguation). ... Orders Subclass Monotremata Monotremata Subclass Marsupialia Didelphimorphia Paucituberculata Microbiotheria Dasyuromorphia Peramelemorphia Notoryctemorphia Diprotodontia Subclass Placentalia Xenarthra Dermoptera Desmostylia Scandentia Primates Rodentia Lagomorpha Insectivora Chiroptera Pholidota Carnivora Perissodactyla Artiodactyla Cetacea Afrosoricida Macroscelidea Tubulidentata Hyracoidea Proboscidea Sirenia The mammals are the class of vertebrate animals primarily characterized by the presence of mammary...

Animal cognition

Since the 1990s, comparative psychology has undergone a reversal in its fundamental approach. Instead of seeking principles in animal behaviour in order to explain human performance, comparative psychologists started taking principles that have been uncovered in the study of human cognition and testing them in animals of other species. This approach is referred to as the study of animal cognition. It has led to significant advances in our understanding of concept formation, memory, problem solving and other cognitive abilities in animals. For the band, see 1990s (band). ... Look up Cognition in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Animal cognition, or cognitive ethology, is the title given to a modern approach to the mental capacities of animals. ... Concept formation is the process of integrating a series of features that group together to form a class of ideas or objects. ... For other uses, see Memory (disambiguation). ... Problem solving forms part of thinking. ...


Disorders of animal behaviour

(see Animal Psychopathology)


Today an animal's psychological constitution is recognised by veterinary surgeons as an important part of its living conditions in domestication or captivity.


Common causes of disordered behaviour in captive or pet animals are lack of stimulation, inappropriate stimulation, or overstimulation. These conditions can lead to disorders, unpredictable and unwanted behaviour, and sometimes even physical symptoms and diseases. For example, rats that are exposed to loud music for a long period will ultimately develop unwanted behaviours that have been compared with human psychosis, like biting their owners. It has been suggested that Residential pets be merged into this article or section. ... Species 50 species; see text *Several subfamilies of Muroids include animals called rats. ... Psychosis is a generic psychiatric term for a mental state often described as involving a loss of contact with reality. Stedmans Medical Dictionary defines psychosis as a severe mental disorder, with or without organic damage, characterized by derangement of personality and loss of contact with reality and causing deterioration...


The way dogs behave when understimulated is widely believed to depend on the breed as well as on the individual animal's character. For example, huskies have been known to completely ruin gardens and houses, if they are not allowed enough activity. Dogs are also prone to psychological damage if they are subjected to violence. If they are treated very badly, they may become dangerous. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Husky is a general term for several breeds of dogs used as sled dogs. ...


The systematic study of disordered animal behaviour draws on research in comparative psychology, including the early work on conditioning and instrumental learning, but also on ethological studies of natural behaviour. However, at least in the case of familiar domestic animals, it also draws on the accumulated experience of those who have worked closely with the animals. This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Topics of Study in Comparative Psychology

 Individual Behavior General Descriptions Orientation (interaction with environment) Animal locomotion Ingestive Behavior Hoarding Nest Building Exploration Play (activity) Tonic immobility (playing dead) Other miscellaneous behaviors (Personal grooming, hibernation, etc.) Reproductive Behavior General Descriptions Developmental psychology Control (Nervous system and Endocrine system) Evolution of sexual characteristics/behaviors Social Behavior Imitation Behavior Genetics Instincts Sensory-Perceptual processes Neural and Endocrine Correlates of Behavior Motivation Evolution Learning Qualitative and Functional Comparisons Consciousness and mind 

In a general sense, locomotion simply means active movement or travel, applying not just to biological individuals. ... Hoarding is the storing of food or other goods. ... For other uses, see Play (disambiguation). ... It has been suggested that Playing possum be merged into this article or section. ... Grooming refers to removing obvious imperfections in ones appearance, or improving ones hygiene. ... This article refers to the process of hibernation in biology. ... Look up Development in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The nervous system of an animal coordinates the activity of the muscles, monitors the organs, constructs and processes input from the senses, and initiates actions. ... The endocrine system is a control system of ductless endocrine glands that secrete chemical messengers called hormones that circulate within the body via the bloodstream to affect distant organs. ... Imitation is an advanced animal behaviour whereby an individual observes anothers behaviour and replicates it itself. ... Behavioural genetics (behavioral genetics) is the field of biology that studies the role of genetics in animal behaviour. ... Instinct is the word used to describe inherent dispositions towards particular actions. ... Look up Motivation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ... Learning is the acquisition and development of memories and behaviors, including skills, knowledge, understanding, values, and wisdom. ... Consciousness is a quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and ones environment. ... For other uses, see Mind (disambiguation). ...

Noted comparative psychologists

Noted comparative psychologists, in this broad sense, include:

Many of these were active in fields other than animal psychology; this is characteristic of comparative psychologists. This article is about the philosopher. ... For other people of the same surname, and places and things named after Charles Darwin, see Darwin. ... Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt (August 16, 1832-August 31, 1920) was a German psychologist, physiologist, and professor who is, along with William James, regarded as the father of psychology. ... A 19th century naturalist, George John Romanes (May 19, 1848 - May 23, 1894), coined the term, and laid the foundation of, comparative psychology, and postulated a similarity of cognitive processes and mechanisms between humans and animals. ... James Mark Baldwin (Columbia, South Carolina, 1861—1934) was an American philosopher, educated at Princeton and several German universities. ... Willard Stanton Small (August 24, 1870 – 1943) was an experimental psychologist. ... C. Lloyd Morgan (Conwy Lloyd Morgan) (6 February 1852 - 6 March 1936) was a British psychologist. ... Edward Lee Thorndike (August 31, 1874 - August 9, 1949) was an American psychologist whose work on animal behaviour and the learning process led to the theory of connectionism. ... Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse (September 8, 1864 - June 21, 1929) was a British liberal politician, one of the theorists of new liberalism. ... For other uses, see Pavlov (disambiguation). ... John Broadus Watson (January 9, 1878–September 25, 1958) was an American psychologist who established the psychological school of behaviorism, after doing research on animal behavior. ... Maluma type shape Takete type shape Wolfgang Köhler (January 21, 1887, Reval (now Tallinn), Estonia – June 11, 1967, New Hampshire) was a German Gestalt psychologist. ... Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe is best known for coining the term Peck Order, or Pecking Order as it is more commonly known. ... Clark Leonard Hull (1884-1952) was an influential American psychologist and behaviorist who sought to explain learning and motivation by scientific laws of behavior. ... Edward Chace Tolman (1886 - 1959) was an American psychologist. ... Burrhus Frederic Skinner (March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990), Ph. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Neal E Miller was born in Milwaukee in 1909. ... Harry Frederick Harlow (October 31, 1905–December 6, 1981) was an American psychologist best known for his maternal-deprivation and social isolation experiments on rhesus monkeys, which demonstrated the importance of care-giving and companionship in the early stages of primate development. ... Richard Herrnstein (1930-1994) was a prominent researcher in comparative psychology who did pioneering work on pigeon intelligence employing the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. ... Dr. Irene Pepperberg (born April 1, 1949, Brooklyn, New York) is a scientist noted for her studies in animal cognition, particularly in relation to parrots. ...


Related fields

Fields of psychology and other disciplines that draw upon, or overlap with, comparative psychology include:

Animal cognition, or cognitive ethology, is the title given to a modern approach to the mental capacities of animals. ... Behavioral ecology is the study of the ecological and evolutionary basis for animal behavior, and the roles of behavior in enabling an animal to adapt to its environment (both intrinsic and extrinsic). ... Comparative Neuropsychology refers to an approach used for understanding human brain functions. ... Conditioning is a psychological term for what Ivan Pavlov described as the learning of conditional behavior. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The experimental analysis of behavior is the name given to the approach to psychology founded by B. F. Skinner. ... Physiological psychology is sometimes related to psychiatry, and in fact may end up becoming the parent branch which contains psychiatry. ... Psychopharmacology is the study of the effects of any psychoactive drug that acts upon the mind by affecting brain chemistry. ...

References

  1. ^ Dewsbury, D. (1984). Comparative Psychology in the Twentieth Century. Hutchinson Ross Publishing Company. Stroudsburg, PA.
  2. ^ Dewsbury, D. (1984). Comparative Psychology in the Twentieth Century. Hutchinson Ross Publishing Company. Stroudsburg, PA.
  3. ^ Dewsbury, D. (1984). Comparative Psychology in the Twentieth Century. Hutchinson Ross Publishing Company. Stroudsburg, PA.
  4. ^ Dewsbury, D. (1984). Comparative Psychology in the Twentieth Century. Hutchinson Ross Publishing Company. Stroudsburg, PA.
  5. ^ Dewsbury, D. (1984). Comparative Psychology in the Twentieth Century. Hutchinson Ross Publishing Company. Stroudsburg, PA.

Further readings

  • Johnson-Pynn, J., Fragaszy, D.M., & Cummins-Sebree, S. (2003). Common territories in comparative and developmental psychology: The quest for shared means and meaning in behavioral investigations. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 16, 1-27. Full text

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Comparative psychology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (997 words)
Comparative psychology may be said to have come into being in the late nineteenth century, with the work of George Romanes on animal psychology, inspired by Charles Darwin.
Strictly speaking, comparative psychology ought to involve the use of a comparative method, in which similar studies are carried out on animals of different species, and the results interpreted in terms of their different phylogenetic or ecological backgrounds.
However, the broader use of the term "comparative psychology" is enshrined in the names of learned societies and academic journals, not to mention in the minds of psychologists of other specialisms, so it is never likely to disappear completely.
Experimental psychology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (435 words)
Experimental psychology is an approach to psychology that treats it as one of the natural sciences, and therefore assumes that it is susceptible to the experimental method.
It is usually taken to include the study of perception, cognitive psychology, comparative psychology, the experimental analysis of behavior, and some aspects of physiological psychology.
With the expansion of psychology as a discipline in the latter half of the twentieth century, and the growth in the size and number of its subfields, the phrase "experimental psychology" has come to cover too broad an area to be much used.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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