Part II - Part II Research with Animals in Psychology The...

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Part II Research with Animals in Psychology The use of animals in psychological research began with the functionalist movement and especially with early behaviorists. Animal rights activists began crusading against the use of animals in psychological research as early as at the 1906 APA meeting where John Watson presented a paper on how rats learn to run mazes. At that time many surgical procedures were used to study the rat’s behavior under diminished circumstances. Most of the procedures used at that time are considered unethical by today’s standards. The popular press, however, sensationalized this early research. Many people were charging that psychologists were planning the same work on humans. Although Watson and others did not continue to conduct this type of research, the APA recognized the need to respond to such charges by establishing the Committee on Precautions in Animal Experiments. At that time, the APA adopted the guidelines established by the 1985 Animal Welfare Act by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For over a century, the anti-vivisectionists (those opposed to dissection of animals) have challenged experimentation on animals. The goals of those in organized oppositional groups have varied. Some want to eliminate all research on animals, others want to eliminate animal research conducted by social and behavioral scientists while retaining biomedical research on animals, and others have as their goal improving the conditions under which experimental animals are maintained. Another overlapping but not quite equivalent set of goals for the animal research reformers were identified by Russel and Burch in 1959. They describes the 3 “R”s of reform as: Replacement of animal research with alternative types of studies Reduction in the number of animals used in research Refinement of the techniques used with animals to reduce their pain and suffering. The tactics of these groups have ranged from the peaceful writing and distribution of literature and picketing to more violent and attention getting tactics like threatening researchers, destroying laboratories, and “liberating” defenseless, unprepared laboratory animals to life in the wild. Even within the field of psychology, where a certain percentage of research has been
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Part II - Part II Research with Animals in Psychology The...

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