Mrs. Raymer & Mr. Nydegger
Unit 2 Essay
September 8, 2014
"Should psychologists study animals in ways other than naturalistic observation?"
The difference between nonhuman and human behavior is, as Darwin said, a "difference in degree rather than kind." There are traits of personality that are shared throughout the animal kingdom that can be best observed in naturalistic observation. Such traits, we would conclude, are characteristic of natural behavior. However, other methods of study should not be discarded. When studying a human's behavior, it is difficult to determine what traits are and are not purely human nature without some standard descriptors of what is "natural behavior." By the same token, humans display behavior that is not observable in the wild; I haven't seen lions build any skyscrapers recently. Of course, no matter what controlled environment, no earthly pride will ever build a skyscraper simply because they are not able to and they have no reason to.
But we humans have a great reason to, and it is the same reason we do anything else. Humans have developed this society as we know it because we had to. The fact of the matter is, we are the laughing stock of the animal kingdom; without our technological advancements since the dawn of Homo sapiens, we would not have survived this long. We Homo sapiens are the least fit for survival in the natural environment, so in effort to adapt to survive-a characteristic of natural behavior shared throughout the animal kingdom- we made our environment fit for us.
When studying humans, it may be difficult to eliminate variables that may affect the outcome of the study that simply are not present in the wild. As humans have evolved from our hominid ancestors and as they have evolved from anthropoid...