Animal research has been a traditionally accepted and respected part of modern psychology from its earliest days. The prevalent view of animals in contemporary psychology has origins far more basic than the scientific method. Its roots are deeply imbedded in Judaeo-Christian culture, a tradition which postulates a wide gulf between humankind and the animal world. The Darwinian revolution and the ethological outlook it fostered, while of immense biological significance, has for the most part been neglected by modern American comparative psychologists in favor of a positivistic-behaviorist orientation with a heavy reliance upon laboratory experimentation.
In recent years, opposition to animal research (some of it rational, some not) has experienced a profound resurgence. Psychologists have received a disproportionate share of the criticism considering the relatively small numbers of animals sacrificed in psychology laboratories. In this paper, I propose to review this development, critically examine the response of orthodox psychology to it, and offer suggestions for improvement.
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