Research Trends in Comparative Psychology
In this chapter we shall attempt to describe current trends of research in the field of comparative psychology. In doing so, we shall consider not merely the more "pure" form of comparative study but all studies done either by psychologists or biologists that involve animals.
What are research trends? Broadly speaking, they are the main directions taken by researchers in a certain area. In comparative psychology, such directions can be specified not only with respect to kinds of problems being studied but also with respect to countries engaged in animal research and the types of animals used in tackling particular problems. While all these aspects of trends will be touched on in this chapter, the first aspect, that having to do with types of problems, will be developed more fully.
For the most part, our survey will cover studies done within the last ten years, though occasionally we find it necessary to refer to earlier work that is particularly important. Assessing trends is not an easy task. Certainly, one indication of a trend is given by the quantity of work being done on a particular topic. For example, during the 1940s much effort was devoted to the investigation of audiogenic seizures in rats, and accordingly, the work represented a real trend in the literature on animal behavior. Sheer volume is not the only indication, however. Very often studies done in a variety of different areas may share some common point of view or approach that is not obvious from cursory inspection. Such a trend may remain hidden from the researchers themselves for a long time, until it finally emerges and a major break-through is made. Much of the fascination in looking at research trends lies in the hope of uncovering such communalities by the close exploration of apparently different lines of work.
The main bulk of the research with which we shall deal comes from