Animal Cognition and Human Cognition: A Necessary Dialogue

  • Luis Aguado Aguilar
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 52)


Psychology has held through its history an ambiguous attitude towards animal behavior. Researchers who have chosen some animal different than man as their experimental subject have often sought to justify themselves, emphasizing the potential benefits that the understanding of animal behavior could eventually have for understanding human behavior or even for alleviating people suffering from psychological distress. During the behavioristic era, animals, especially some privileged species, were the usual subjects of many psychological experiments and the classical theories of learning were based almost exclusively on evidence gathered from animal experiments. On the other hand, the technology of behavior modification was, at least in its beginnings, an attempt to apply the general principles of classical and instrumental conditioning to the treatment of human clinical problems. However, there were not many explicit attempts at providing animal models of human psychopathological syndromes; rather, parallelisms between laboratory phenomena and clinical observations would arise accidentally and would be later exploited (a case in point is the learned helplessness phenomenon in animals, that has been considered as a model of human depressive behavior (Seligman, 1975).


Cognitive System Cognitive Activity Human Cognition Animal Behavior Process Comparative Psychology 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luis Aguado Aguilar
    • 1
  1. 1.Universidad Complutense de MadridSpain

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