The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 207–219 | Cite as

The Representative Animal

  • J. M. Harrison
Article

Abstract

The anthropocentric approach to the study of animal behavior uses representative nonhuman animals to understand human behavior. This approach raises problems concerning the comparison of the behavior of two different species. The datum of behavior analysis is the behavior of humans and representative animal phenotypes. The behavioral phenotype is the product of the ontogeny and phylogeny of each species, and this requires that contributions of genotype as well as behavioral history to experimental performance be considered. Behavior analysis tends to favor the ontogenetic over the phylogenetic component, yet both components are responsible for the performance of each individual animal. This paper raises questions about the role of genotype variables in the use of representative animals to understand human behavior. Examples indicating the role of genotype in human behavior are also discussed. The final section of the paper deals with considerations of genotype in the design of animal experiments.

Key words

animal models behavioral phenotypes phylogeny representative animals 

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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Harrison
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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