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Animal Testing


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#1 HydrogenBond

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 02:10 PM

Here is a new spin on animal testing. Animals testing in psychology are often extrapolated to human behavior. The question is, to what extent is this valid?. It can teach us things, but there might be limit to its usefulness. We don't use rats or mice to help us with lion behavior. The analogy is testing tractors to predict the performance of sports cars.

After thinking about this, what came to mind was an affect analogous to fables. I mean this in the positive sense. Fables often use animals to get a point across. If you used humans exclusively, in a fable, you might insult someone. With an animal you can sort of get the point across, while also avoiding a direct assault on human subjectivity.

Often in culture, there are conventions of behavior. You can't directly present certain things since it might hit a taboo. If you use an animal you can get the point across but in a way that can slide under the social censor.

Animal behavior analogies for humans also suggests since we are using tractors to define performance in sports cars, it gives you more flexibility in terms of being more supportive of the consensus opinions. The big knobby tires help the tractor, so if big knobby tires are in vogue, we can use that tractor data to support those who lobby for bigger knobby tires for sport cars.

One difference between science and religion, when it comes to human behavior, is religion is less likely to use the animal angle. In that respect, it is not as subtle in terms of sliding under the social consensus radar. One can see the divide. But it is also less likely to use tractors to support the modern social definition of sports cars. I am not taking either side, since both data sets can be useful. But since religion sticks more exclusively to human behavior data and science uses animal data too, could the different data sets account for differences in terms of approach and correlations?

#2 Michaelangelica

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 06:51 AM

i notice the ducks I feed daily don't seem to respond as Pavlov or Skinner says they should.

Rosenthal made an interesting experiment with three groups of Grad. students who were testing the intelligence of rats.
In passing, Rosenthal just casually mentioned to each group either
'This is a smart group of rats'
'This is an average group of rats'
'This is dumb group of rats.'
In fact all rats had come from the same genetic/whatever group.

When all the stats. were all computed, and the results were in, guess what they said?
You guessed it; the simple suggestion Rosenthal had made to his students over a cup of tea was exactly how the experiments panned out..

Which of course brings up another problem in psychology the fact that a majority (? -an awful lot anyway) of research is done on University/college kids/students/young people