Both ordinary and systematic comparisons of animal and human behavior are Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. . Analyst are provided here courtesy of Association for Behavior Analysis International. human-zoological interface among animals in general. Animals are often a observations of human behavior, cultural patterns, and social relationships. played by biology is not a difference in degree between animals and humans, but in principle, as formulated by Lev Vygotsky and Alexander Luria: “behavior.
The human side of animal behavior
They never really consider what this comparison means for how we understand ourselves. For centuries, philosophers and scientists have tried to understand what makes us unique.
But people often forget that humans are not alone in being unique. Every species on the planet has some features that it shares with other species, and some that make it stand out. What the evolutionary approach allows us to do is to investigate which features or traits are shared with others and what that sharing tells us about the species in question.
Species can share a trait for two reasons: Both of these ways of looking at similarities can be enlightening when trying to understand the nature of humans. Take a look at similarities derived from common ancestry. Everybody expects chimpanzees and bonobos to be similar to us, because they are our closest relatives.
So when we look at them, we usually focus on the ways in which we differ from them. There are two problems with this. It may be thought self-evident that humans prefer some animal groups to others, but what determines which are favoured and which are disregarded? Kellert 1 pioneered research into this area in a study conducted in that surveyed members of the American public on their attitudes to different species.
The human side of animal behavior
The results of this investigation suggested that species preference is affected by a wide variety of influences that can be categorized into four major factors: In a similar study, Czech et al. Both studies propose a range of factors that may influence species or group perception. For example, domestic animals are frequently favoured, as are aesthetically pleasing species further demonstrated in a study by Stokes 4 of human perception of penguin species.
Within other groups e. An individual's prior attitude towards, and values of, wildlife and nature e. An individual's previous experience and knowledge of a species or group.
The relationship between species and humans, for example cultural significance, utility value or conservation status.
Human perceptions of individual species in terms of aesthetic value, assumed intelligence, threat, etc. Other influential factors may be cultural significance and perceived sentience. Kellert 167 repeatedly notes the significance of this factor, yet does not discuss it in detail. Only one study to date has considered this factor in any depth.
However, these studies were on a small scale using a limited number of species.
By studying animal behaviour we gain an insight into our own
It is generally presumed and supported by Plous' 8 study that humans will prefer species' that are perceived to be similar to their own. However, Beatson and Halloran 9 found a converse effect, in that after subjects watched a video of bonobos mating their subjects experienced negative feelings towards this species.
It is suggested that recognition of similarities between humans and animals may make humans uncomfortable and consequently less disposed to positive feelings towards them.
Exposure therapy is often used for the treatment of anxiety, phobias and PTSD. Co-authors of the study include Dr. The Sackler Institute The Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology at Weill Cornell Medical College, established and endowed in by the Sackler Foundation, is focused on research and training using the techniques of brain imaging, human genetics, electrophysiology, and behavioral methods, to study typical and atypical human brain development.
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