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Ethics in Psychological Paper Research

Use of animals


           Through the study of animals in various forms of research, psychologists have presented to us a better understanding of human problems in which solutions have been easily been found. Problems in human like anxiety, side effects, ageing and drug addiction have been established through the use of animals

               In a psychological research, the rules of ethics play a very important concept. The rules provide an outline in which researchers are required to provide information concerning the subjects of the research, human care, deception in research, and the use of animals in studies of research. This paper will specialize on the use of animals as an issue of classical ethics in a psychological research. It will define the term ethics, define the benefit ratio as well as the concept of risk in using animal for experiments and evaluate what impact does the use of animal in research has on a psychological research.

                    The use of animals has provided knowledge that can be generally used in humans and other species. The results have been used to develop and facilitate effective therapies and have also assist in the study of physiological functions in human beings like response to immunity vision and cardiovascular functions.


            Ethics distinguishes between acceptable and non acceptable conduct. Ethics are the norms for behavior. In a psychological research ethics can be described as the perspective, method and procedure to be used in adhering to polices, principles, and codes set out by a specified professional association, university or government agency.

             Animal care is one of the ethical principles that various codes address. It postulates that proper care and respect is to be shown when using animals in research in which a researcher is not required to poorly or unnecessarily plan an animal research.

  The Committee on Animal Research and ethics aims at safeguarding, maintaining and establishing relations with other organizations which are responsible for conducting resechers with animals. The committee also aims at establishing and maintaining guidelines that protect the welfare of animals used in research.

           The American psychological Association provides guidelines for ethical conduct in the use and care of animals. The first requirement goes out to the psychologists who should be fully aware of the guidelines to follow in a research with animals. Second aspect is on the care and housing of animals for the psychological well being of the animals. The research should be conducted with a reasonable expectation as presented in the justification of the paper. The research should therefore aim at increasing the knowledge and understanding of the underlying process of the research in which the results will be of benefit to welfare and health of humans and other animals.

        The animals need to be acquired lawfully. Humane procedures have to be incorporated in conducting experimental procedures that use animals. In learning institutions, APA encourages educators to incorporate lessons for the discussion of values and ethics required in animal research. The animals need to be used for educational purpose only, in which the purpose of the research needs to be justified only for educational purpose. (APA, 1996)

 Discuss the concept of risk/ Benefit ratio

             Animals have been used to predict the out come of human beings through the data found from the animal specimen. Animals like zebra fish, mice, flies, nematode worms are the model organisms used in most of the researches. Using data from this species in order to predict the possible outcome on human beings is a life threatening act. The result from the test of animals is not transferable across species (Mapps & Grazia 2006, pp 420)

             Through the establishment of the relevance of a research, the risk involved in animal should be in balance with the benefits of other animals and humans. An experiment should have well designed morals that see into applying as little risk as possible to animals. The limitation with using animals models have neither refuted nor confirmed about human psychology. Animal models differ from diseases found in human. What researchers do is to investigate those aspects which are like human disease (MRMC review, 1995)

            Animals in the experiments are manipulated with conditions that are artificially induced. The unnatural environment of an animal in the laboratory stresses the animals which affect consequently affects the blood pressure, pulse levels of hormones and immunology of the entire organism. The test done to animals like addiction experiments, maternal deprivation studies and food deprivation can be questioned on the basis of the similarity between human beings and animals for animal to be used as models to study human psychology. Another question that arises is as to why these animals should be exposed to inhumane treatments.

                 Maternal deprivation study on animals was first contributed by Harry Hallow during the 1950s and early 1960s. He did a series of expedients by separating baby monkeys from their mothers on the first day of birth. This experiment aimed at establishing the importance of maternal contact. The baby monkeys were given to surrogate mothers totally away from the mother. The surrogate mother inflicted harm and distress to the baby thus demonstrating the importance of maternal contact.

              In addiction experiment, nonhuman primates were exposed to alcohol and other addictive substances. Other animals used in these experiments include cats, rodents, dogs, and fish which are naturally not into alcohol. They were force to addiction without food. Different effects were found depending on storage, excretion, absorption and distribution of the addictive substance. 

 Use of animals in psychological research.

 The number of animals used in psychological research remains unknown. The use of animals in the field of psychology remains to be substantial, most of the experiments utilizes birds and rodents which add up to ninety percent and five percent of primates. Experiments done on these animals include addiction, which is a distressing and painful in science of behaviors and drugs administration, electric shock, food deprivation, brain damage, forced swim tests and maternal separation.   The experiments aim at understanding how human mind works and human behavior. Animals are exposed to tremendous experiments that mimic human disorders like distress as well as various cognitive and emotional sates for the understanding of human mind structure.

 The use of animals has been essential in caring out resechers which have direct implication in human and animal clinical field (APA, 1990), for the animal experiments have helped in the study  of human disorders like phobias, anxiety, schizophrenia, depression, amnesia and other psychological phenomena (Domjan& Purdy, 1995, 496-505).

           However, in the recent years, psychologists have questioned the value of use of animal in laboratory research. The behavior research has been found to rely heavily on animal studies which are usually not cited by most resechers. Other psychologists have criticized the use of animals in conducting experiments used to establish human based on ethical grounds.

 The impact of animal use on psychological research

          Animals have been used to test human behaviors like addiction, depression and anxiety. All psychological discoveries have begun with animal experimental studies which have been induced to imitate human conditions. The data found form these experiments have been used to understand many aspects of human behaviors,

 The American Psychological Association provides guidelines that examine the well being of animals which aim at caring for the psychological well being of the animals. Thorough the information found from the study of animals psychologist have widened the scope of knowledge in the understanding of human mind. The knowledge gained from previous experiments have further been supported and justified through further studiers of animal experiments.

            The general human community has benefited from animal resechers. Through the experiments psychologists have come up with medication and ways of handling human problems like depression, anxiety and alcohol addiction and of human disorders like phobias, anxiety, and schizophrenia.


Andregg, C., Archibald, K., Bailey, J.  Cohen, M, Kaufman, S and Pippin, J(2006)A

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Liao, G (2010) should animal research in psychology be eliminated?

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McGraw-Hill Mappes, T & Grazia (2006) biomedical ethics, sixth edition, publisher, pp



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