Comparative Psychology

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
Related to Comparative Psychology: differential psychology

Comparative Psychology


a branch of psychology that studies both the common traits and the differences in the origin and development of human behavior and animal behavior.

The development of comparative psychology is associated with the works of J. B. Lamarck and particularly those of C. Darwin and, in Russia, of V. A. Vagner. Vagner understood the science in the widest sense, as a discipline bridging animal and human psychology. The ontogenetic or phylogenetic similarity between elements of animal and human behavior indicates common origins of their psychological evolution. The qualitative differences indicate the importance of sociohistorical factors, particularly work, social activity, and articulate speech, in the development of the human psyche and consciousness.

Comparative psychology studies forms of mental activity that are hereditary and innate (instinctive) and forms that are acquired, which are related to learning and intellectual activity. The study of primate behavior and the mode of life and man’s animal ancestors is of great importance in comparative psychology because it helps to establish the biological foundations of anthro-pogenesis. Research on the mode of life and material culture of prehistoric man (paleopsychology) has led to an understanding of his psyche as the initial form of the psyche of modern man.

The development of comparative psychology based on dialectical materialism has taken place through a struggle against idealist concepts, such as psychophysiological parallelism, and vulgar-materialist concepts, such as mechanicism and orthogenesis, which are expressed in attempts to biologize human behavior or anthropomorphize animal behavior. Comparative psychological data are of great significance in the resolution of many problems in psychology, philosophy, anthropology, medicine, and education (the genetic basis for the development of the child psyche).


Darwin, C. “Proiskhozhdenie cheloveka i polovoi otbor: Vyrazhenie emotsii u cheloveka i zhivotnykh.” Soch., vol. 5. Moscow-Leningrad, 1953.
Vagner, V. A. Biologicheskie osnovaniia sravnitel’noi psikhologii, vols. 1–2. St. Petersburg-Moscow, 1910–13.
Voitonis, N. Iu. Predistoriia intellekta. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
Ladygina-Kots, N. N. Predposylki chelovecheskogo myshleniia. Moscow, 1965.


References in periodicals archive ?
Maier (1900-1977) was not among the behaviorists Tolman convinced of the importance of purpose, but he made one of the most interesting attempts to hybridize theory from two different national traditions: comparative psychology in the U.
Comparative psychology Evolution and development of behavior.
In his "Animal Intelligence" (1911) Thorndike raged against the wild over-interpretations of animal behavior that had characterized the field of comparative psychology up to that time.
Comparative psychology and ethology have unfortunately become subsumed under neuropsychology (an observation immediately salient in the lack of jobs in the former and the surfeit of jobs in the latter).
Ron's dedication to comparative psychology studies was already apparent in his graduate education at Florida State University.
The researchers detailed their findings in the latest issue of the Journal of Comparative Psychology.
Topics include Rumbaugh's studies in comparative psychology, the role of apes in intelligent science and conservation, studies at the Great Ape Research Institute, the Darwinian aspect of the continuity of cognition across species, apes' contributions of personality to the study of behavior and cognition, species of parsimony in comparative studies of cognition, the concept of emergence, needs for new methods of assessment, the transfer index, list-making and mathematical monkeys with route-planning skills, prospective control, animal language from the past to the future, comparative psychology and language, the neurophysiological perspective, the emergence of language and toolmaking, and a case study of learning to make tools.
King, and West report in the December 1995 Journal of Comparative Psychology.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of Margaret Floy Washburn's (1908) The Animal Mind: A Text-book of Comparative Psychology, the book is reviewed and compared to contemporary comparative texts.
II Congreso Conjunto de la International Society for Comparative Psychology (ISCP) y la Sociedad Espanola de Psicologia Comparada (SEPC)

Full browser ?