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Comparative psychology, the multidisciplinary study of animal behavior and psychology, confronts the challenge of how to study animals we find cute and easy to anthropomorphize, and animals we find odd and easy to objectify, without letting these biases negatively impact the science.
In this Element, Kristin Andrews identifies and critically examines the principles of comparative psychology and shows how they can introduce other biases by objectifying animal subjects and encouraging scientists to remain detached. Andrews outlines the scientific benefits of treating animals as sentient research participants who come from their own social contexts and with whom we will be in relationship.
With discussions of science's quest for objectivity, worries about romantic and killjoy theories, and debates about chimpanzee cognition between primatologists who work in the field and those in the lab, Andrews shows how scientists can address the different biases through greater integration of the subdisciplines of comparative psychology.
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