iibp-admin Anveshan, Issue 7, Volume 2

Animal research in Psychology plays important role in the development of psychology. Established theories in human psychology and psychological behavior like Pavlov’s theory of reinforcement, Skinner’s experiment, etc. started by experimenting with animals. These researches have shown an impact on several domains of psychology such as behavioral experiments that helped in finding a solution for rehabilitation in patients with Alzheimer’s, simple ways of communication with children having severe mental retardation, ways for severe anxiety management without drugs(APA, Psy 301-CSULB, 1994).

Animal researches were effective in finding the effects of alcoholism in pregnancy, finding ways to deal with alcoholism and substance addiction, impact on improving the approach towards treating obesity (APA, Psy 301-CSULB, 1994).

These researches including experiments with the animal have a huge impact on the education industry as well as on many improvements in studies of learning and cognitive functioning (APA, Psy 301- CSULB, 1994). A group of scientists believes that research in psychology without experimentation on animals is possible, but with huge time delays, resulting in a large population getting affected by this delay.

Finding treatment for Alzheimer’s took less time with animal experimentation which could have otherwise taken decades without it (John Capitanio, 2017). Many successful leads were found in the field of neuropsychology. A great resemblance in the brain was established during experimentation with monkeys, and its application in humans helped in developing treatments for disorders having abnormal changes in the activity of the brain, such as in Parkinson’s disease (Grayson et al., 2016).

It is a heated argument between animal lovers and scientists about morals and ethics regarding cruelty against lab animals. When brain surgery or similar complex processes are performed during neurological experiments, risks for animals are high. However, in behavioral studies in psychology, such risks are very low. Societies present in different countries have regulations for animal use in research to prevent such cruelty. American Psychological Association (APA) is one of the few first societies to give these a legal background considering its severity. Animal health and life have been sacrificed in past during such experiments and such evidence supports the theory of animal lovers.

It must be noted here that these experiments are beneficial not only for human beings but also for animals. A few of these benefits can be; increased care of zoo animals increased prevention and breeding of animals including endangered species, prevention and developing treatment in animal diseases (APA, Psy 301-CSULB, 1994).

A balanced view of both the arguments could be that despite risks involved for animals in research and experimentation, their contribution is significant and cannot be easily substituted. Elimination of animal research in psychology will certainly bring a huge fallback in knowledge, and the process of finding new treatment will be slower and ineffective. Risks, though unavoidable, can be mitigated by following guidelines. It could be a dilemma of the legal, ethical, and moral framework and would not be easily addressed by a singular thought. In conclusion, large the population would suffer because of delay caused by eliminating animal research in psychology and hence it needs to continue.




1- Capitanio, J. (2017). Animal studies in psychology. from

2- 1994. APA Position On Research With Animals. [online] Available at:

3- Grayson D.S., Bliss-Moreau E., Machado C.J., Bennett J., Shen K., Grant K.A., Fair D.A., Amaral, D.G. The rhesus monkey connectome predicts disrupted functional networks resulting from pharmacogenetic inactivation of the amygdala. Neuron. 2016 Jul 20;91(2):453-66.






About the Author.

Mr. Nachiket Deshpande, is a psychologist who has finished his MSc. Clinical Psychology from Bangor University, UK. He received his master’s degree in September 2019. He is a practicing BSY UK certified Animal Assisted Therapist and Received his diploma in February 2020. He is currently working in Communicare Education as a trainee psychologist with children with autism. He is also doing Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) with different corporate, geriatric population, children and people with special needs, normal school-going children. Nachiket’s special interests are in working with all kinds of the population as an AAT professional and integrating AAT in drug rehabilitation.