Comparative psychology

Verplanck, W S (1958) Comparative psychology. [Journal (Paginated)]

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This chapter was prepared following a series of visits to laboratories and field stations where comparative psychology is under very active investigation. What has been observed, taken with this year's publications in the psychological, ethological, and biological journals, and the chapters of previous Annual Reviews, has given the chapter its form. The advances in the past year in the topics usually allocated most space in this chapter, and that most psychologists think of when they think of comparative psychology at all have not been great. Some might have been advances if they had appeared when the experimental work was completed. Another paper provides a discussion of brain weights in more or less association with the report of some experiments on learning; the relation established is one of simple contiguity in the pages of a paper. Little new appears on hoarding; investigations of bird navigation seem to have reached an impasse, where the only theory that seems adequate to the facts is untenable. [For a popularized summary, see Carthy.] The quasi-monopoly of the experimental study of sex behavior in the male boojum, or rat, held by Beach and his colleagues, has been broken with the appearance of an excellent monograph by Larrson. The general picture is a familiar one: advances have occurred, but at glacial pace; work on familiar variables inches along. A different picture arises, however, if the work of ethologists and zoologists in the field of behavior is examined in its own context rather than according to psychologists' ideas of what should be important. Here the advances in the last year--in the last few years--have been rapid, remarkable, and of direct relevance to psychologists, whether comparative, experimental, social, or clinical. Ethologists, mostly European zoologists, study the behavior of a number of species from an objective (in the Watsonian or Pavlovian sense) point of view that does not exclude an active interest in physiological correlates of behavior. Previous chapters in this Annual Review will have familiarized the reader with some of their work, but they have placed, I think, undue stress on a few sets of investigations and misleadingly emphasized some now obsolete parts of ethological theorizing. What follows is based not only on the current publications of ethologists, but also on visits to their laboratories, and on many and long discussions with them.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Subjects:Psychology > Behavioral Analysis
Biology > Animal Behavior
Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Psychology > Comparative Psychology
Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
ID Code:605
Deposited By: Verplank, William
Deposited On:04 Mar 1998
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54


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