Issues in Comparative Psychology at the Dawn
of the 20th Century
Throughout the 20th century many issues have been raised concerning the new field of psychology known as comparative psychology. Ideas raised during this time by the worlds most renowned theorists and naturalists paved the way for modern ideas, theories, and beliefs.
In its growing stages, comparative psychology had become a very appealing field of study. Early on, roughly between 1890-1910, this field grew to be very popular and showed great potential. It was this potential that was a main key in which many new young psychologists were drawn to. Many of these psychologists received education at prestiges schools making it very competitive. As the importance of this field became more clear, these psychologists were directed towards the more demanding study of human related issues.
It was not until a few decades after the turn of the century that comparative psychology would develop and become more recognized.
Here a key issue was raised in which the author refers to the question of whether the investigation of the animal mentality should be studied for just that reason or to help us learn more of human behavior. Furthermore, many of the studies have been focused clearly on animal instinct and nothing of its relation to human activity. (Dewsbury, 2000) Programs such as those at Clark University were to study animal behavior and had no relevance to humans.
Many different methodological issues were discussed followed by various studies. Ideas regarding animal environment, particular species to study, and behavioral patterns were all examined. Dewsbury argues that, "Another methodological issue concerned the need for the study of a broad range of behavioral patterns. Animal psychologists have often been criticized by zoologists for plunging directly into research on problems of interest without first understanding the full...