Animal Studies Bibliography
Field, Peter B. 1989, October. Animal images in college psychology texts. The Animals' Agenda , p. 14.
Whether or not animal issues are dealt with explicitly in college psychology textbooks, students receive an implied image of animals based on the way the textbook treats them. There is considerable variation in how the textbooks treat animals. In older textbooks, animals are generally presented in an academic pure science setting. They are shown in research apparatuses (mazes, etc.) which take the focus off the animal itself, and the text focuses on the principles involved and does not address the animals' feelings or suffering from the research. Newer textbooks take a more humanistic approach, focusing on the benefits and applications of psychological research rather than the discipline's methods. As a result, they often include accounts of how research has improved the lives of both animals and humans, about the importance of animal-human interaction, and descriptions of research that shows animals' intelligence. As such, these more recent textbooks tend to have a more positive image of animals. Whereas older textbooks implied that animals are controlled by biological drives, newer ones respect animals and show their similarities to humans. Of course, most textbooks include a mix of these tendencies. Psychology has the potential to help animals by teaching people to understand and respect them. Psychology has been pushed toward this goal by PsyETA, and perhaps the trend toward better animal treatment in textbooks is a result of this pressure as well.