Working with Animals in Psychology

Summary of some of the guidelines for working with animals in psychological studies.

  • Created by: emily_w
  • Created on: 02-03-15 14:14
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  • Working with Animals in Psychology
    • Alternatives
      • Video and computer simulations can be used to prevent animal suffering
      • Ratlife project provides video of free-living rats
    • Choice of species
      • Species
        • The psychologist should know the species' natural history
        • Psychologists should be aware of the species' level of sentience.
        • Psychologists should choose an animal which will suffer least
      • Individuals
        • Psychologists should know about the animal's past, eg if it was bred in captivity
    • Number of animals
      • The 1986 Act requires researchers to use the smallest number of animals possible
      • Pilot studies help estimate the minimum number of animals used
    • Animal care
      • Animals should be housed according to their social behaviour, eg social animals should not be housed alone
      • Animals must have a minimum of freedom of movement, adequate food and water and housing
      • Animals should have their cages cleaned frequently enough to prevent disease, but not enough so that it will cause stress
      • Other features such as natural materials, dust baths and perches should be considered
    • Disposing of animals
      • Animals may be distributed among colleagues as breeding animals, for further research or as companion animals, but a high quality of care must be ensured
      • If an animal must be killed, it must be done as humanely as possible
        • Death must be confirmed before the animal's body is disposed of
        • Vets should be consulted for methods of euthanasia


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