Principles of Comparative Psychology

Principles of Comparative Psychology

Principles of Comparative Psychology

Principles of Comparative Psychology

Excerpt

This book, initiated by Willard Caldwell, represents the combined efforts of a group of psychologists working in the field of animal study to present the data and the interpretations of those data in this fascinating area. The contributors were selected because they are themselves responsible for much of the research material brought together in the text. Each is an independent scholar in his own area and is thus best able to interpret the outcomes of experimental and theoretical studies in that area.

The authors have tried to incorporate recent findings without neglecting the standard, time-tested material to be expected in a book that proposes to survey the entire field. The following features of the text illustrate this effort: a new look at the old problem of innate behavior; the effects of early experience on the development of sensory and perceptual abilities; the added insight on neural mechanisms resulting from the application of recently developed techniques; new research trends in motivation; fresh evaluations of findings in the areas of social and abnormal behavior; the role of genetics in the analysis of behavior; an account of the contributions of European ethologists to comparative psychology; the study of many different species; and the inclusion of divergent theoretical points of view rather than the particular biases of the contributors and editors.

One broad objective throughout the editing of this book has been to create a book in comparative psychology rather than in animal psychology (comparative psychology being defined as the study of differences and similarities among species). If we have not entirely succeeded in achieving this objective, the difficulty of finding the necessary pertinent studies may be to blame.

A somewhat novel departure from recent textbooks in the field is the inclusion of a chapter on the problem of classification of behavior. In that chapter zoological taxonomy is compared with what some day will develop into a behavioral taxonomy. For a quick overview of experimental and theoretical trends both past and future, the reader will wish to consult the last two chapters of the text.

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