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"Both behaviourists and ethologists rely on studies of non-human animals to formulate theirlltheories" Discuss the use of non-human animals in psychological research

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Introduction

"Both behaviourists and ethologists rely on studies of non-human animals to formulate theirlltheories" Discuss the use of non-human animals in psychological research Animals used in research have proved to be an important factor for the uses of medicine, for example Flemming found the use of penicillin was an effective antibiotic when it was used on mice. Since 1822, legislation has limited how scientists use animals. In the UK, the use of animals in psychological investigations has been constrained by ethical and moral guidelines. Current UK legislation in the Animals Scientific Procedures Act 1986 states that all animal research must only take place in a laboratory that are institutionally licensed for animal research. It must be apart of an approved research project. ...read more.

Middle

The problems faced with the ethical guidelines are that animals used cannot give their informed consent to participate in the experiment nor can they be debriefed after. Bateson argues that there are three main criteria that should be taken into account when deciding whether a study on an animal is justifiable. Firstly the quality of the research which, can be assessed by the funding agency. The amount of animal suffering, this can be assessed from the animal's behaviour. And finally the likelihood of the benefits from using the animal, this is very hard to predict ahead of time. There are two views on animal research; some people are either for or against it. Birch et al. found that there are benefits of non human research for example his research on animal behaviour on damaged crops, which led to the development of scarecrows to prevent any further damage to both the crops and avoiding poison to kill the animals. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example experiments on animals have made an important contribution to advances in clinical psychology that have brought about improvements in the health of human beings. As a result it would be morally wrong not to make use of animals in research. Human species are seen as being the most complex animal. Therefore this makes it easier to understand the behaviour of other species assuming that they are similar to our own. This argument is used by behaviourists to justify why rats were used in their experiments. On the other hand animal research has been conducted at the expense of suffering of animals. Although the cost benefit analysis of individual research projects should ensure the costs, animal suffering, and the benefits, medical advances, are predictable, this cannot be entirely certain before the experiment takes place. ...read more.

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