• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the use of animals in psychological research.

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the use of Animals in Psychological research. (30 marks) There is much debate into the use of non-human animals in Psychological research in regards to their scientific suitability. In addition there are many ethical issues both in favour and against the use of animals in psychological research. There are a number of psychological experiments that over time have used animals as a means of testing various hypotheses, for example psychologist Harry Harlow used baby rhesus monkeys whilst researching the "cupboard love" theory into attachment which taught us that we do not merely attach for food but for other reasons in addition to this such as comfort. Pavlov also famously used dogs to investigate into operant conditioning. The use of animals in research however is heavily controlled, for instance there are strict guidelines in place and some animals are no longer frequently used in research such as cats and dogs, and great apes have been outlawed from usage in animal research completely. ...read more.


Animals do have more simplistic behaviour but these biological similarities are related to the behavioural similarities and therefore using animals in psychological research can be seen as a valid way of investigating more complex human behaviours. Additionally, experimenting on animals means that psychologists have greater control of the variables compared to in an experiment with human participants. As well as this many species of animals have shorter life spans and gestation periods than humans, meaning effects of psychologists can investigate generations of development in a relatively short period of time. Animal studies can also be used as a basis for subsequent human investigations, for example, Bowlby's theory of attachment was partially based on Lorenz's study of imprinting in geese. In addition we can use animals for experiments that wouldn't be allowed for ethical reasons to perform on humans, for example in the "flower-pot cats" experiment the psychologists carrying out the investigation deprived the cats of sleep until they eventually died. ...read more.


In addition to these ethical and scientific considerations, Researchers must also now take into account the cost and benefits of any intended research and it must be remembered that the benefits are only ever potential whereas the costs are almost always real. In recent years a number of alternative methods of investigation have been developed however, one such method is using lower organisms such as fruit flies who do not feel pain in future investigations. As well as this, another alternative is to study animals in their natural environment therefore minimising the suffering of animals and provides moral justification. Those against using animals in research however argue that less invasive procedures are still procedures, and how do we know how much an animal is suffering. Finally those against using animals in research also argue that ethological fieldwork may cause disruption to animals, for example the tagging of animals. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)


This essay has covered many of the salient points relevant to this particular subject. The writer could now improve the score by citing various studies, experiments and authors. Unfortunately there is a lack of evidence in the writing which has meant a lower score. The writer, however, is on the right track and shows an understanding of the arguments for and against animals being used for psychological research.

Score 3 *

Marked by teacher Linda Penn 05/09/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Critically evaluate whether Milgrams research on obedience was ethical

    4 star(s)

    It has been recorded that many of the participants contacted Milgram to express thanks and felt that they had learned something important. Many expressed the opinion that psychologists should conduct more studies of this kind and Milgram also had repeated requests from the participants to assist with experiments or to

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Describe what psychologists have learned about environmental disaster and/or technological catastrophe.

    4 star(s)

    Evaluate what psychologists have learned about environmental disaster and/or technological catastrophe The first evaluation issue is Methodology, and the fact that most of the research into disasters and catastrophes is carried out after the event and therefore it is impossible to make comparisons of responses before the disaster.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    What is atypical behaviour?

    3 star(s)

    Nothing happened to homosexuality after this time, but what changed were societies attitude towards it, which then reflected in its official psychiatric status. (Gross 1992) Behaviour may be considered normal or abnormal depending on the situation or context. Taking off your clothes to get in to the bath is fine;

  2. Criminals are born not made. Discuss.

    Also the 'contagion effect' can occur. There is also correlation between crime and poor interaction within the family, Patterson (1982). How children are brought up can affect their outcome of life, physical punishment encourages the child to consider aggression is acceptable because someone in authority uses it.

  1. Pro and Anti Social Behaviour

    Furthermore, he found that non-violent crime (robbery, burglary, theft) statistics did not follow the same trends. However, this theory is challenged by Baron and Bell (1976) who argued that the theory cannot explain experimental research that has shown that direct temperature itself causes aggression. Evaluation The theory has further inconsistencies.

  2. The Sociology of Behaviour in Golf Clubs

    Participation in both my observations and interview was voluntary and participants were free to withdraw and contract their consent at any time. The subject of my study was not hidden and I ensured that informed consent was given. My identity as researcher was known at all times and involved no deception.

  1. Social Work Theory and Methods of Intervention

    behaviour causing problems - Offending behaviour - second offence * Attributions of meaning to stimuli - family have no time for him, Michael feels confused * Present behaviour and thoughts - confusion, no one to talk to. isolated * Target sequences of behaviour - offending behaviour needs to be decreased.

  2. Discuss the ethical issues in the use of non-human animals in research in psychology ...

    Separating the monkeys from their mothers at so young is clearly unethical, as many of them were harmed psychologically for the long term, let alone the fact that they were unable to verbally give consent to take part in the experiment, or withdraw if they didn't want to continue.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work