Animal Psychology

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
Related to Animal Psychology: comparative psychology
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Animal Psychology


a branch of psychology dealing with the inner behavior of animals, its outer manifestations, origin, and development with respect to ontogeny and phylogeny. An important objective of animal psychology is the study of the biological preconditions and prehistory of the human mind. Animal psychology is related to ecology, ethology, neurophysiology, the physiology of higher nervous activity and sensory organs, and other sciences. Research on animal psychology is very important not only for other branches of psychology, especially comparative psychology, but also for the theory of knowledge, anthropology (the biological prerequisites of anthropogenesis), and other sciences, as well as for livestock breeding, fur farming, and the training of dogs and circus animals.

As early as classical times philosophers were greatly interested in the mental capacity of animals. The rise of scientific animal psychology at the end of the 18th and early 19th century is attributed to the French scientists Buffon and Lamarck, and it was later developed by C. Darwin (Great Britain). At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, European and American animal psychology was dominated by either anthropomorphic idealism or vulgar materialism. Among those who contributed to the development of animal psychology were the French scientists J. Fabre, who studied insects, and J. Loeb (theory of tropisms), the Americans E. L. Thorndike (learning in animals) and R. Yerkes (psychology of anthropoid apes and mind development), the Dutchman F. J. Bujtendijk (instinct and learning), the Germans W. Kóhler (intelligence of anthropoid apes) and W. Fischel (learning, higher mental abilities in animals), the Austrian K. von Frisch (vision in insects), and the Swiss H. Hediger (innate behavior, behavioral change in animals in contact with man). In Russia the founders of the scientific study of animals’ mental activity were K. F. Rul’e and V. A. Vagner, who in the 19th century laid the foundation for the materialist evolutionary approach in animal psychology. This approach was further developed by the Soviet scientists N. N. Ladygina-Kots, V. M. Borovskii, D. N. Kashkarov, N. lu. Voitonis, G. Z. Roginskii, and other Soviet animal psychologists, primarily studying the behavior of primates in order to elucidate the biological pre-requisites of anthropogenesis and the origin and development of the human mind. Manipulation, the use of tools as the biological basis for the genesis of work, and learning, skills, and intelligence are studied particularly in anthropoid apes; herd instinct, specifically social behavior and imitation as prerequisites of the origin of man’s social life and language, are studied in monkeys.

The modern materialist conception of animal psychology proceeds from the idea of the dialectical unity of outer behavior and psychic activity and is based on a strictly objective analysis of animal activity, taking into account the ecological and physiological characteristics of the species studied.


Vagner, V. A. Biologicheskie osnovaniia sravnitel’ noi psikhologii, vols. 1–2. St. Petersburg-Moscow, 1910–13.
Vagner, V. A. Vozniknovenie i razvitie psikhicheskikh sposobnostei, parts 1–9. Leningrad, 1924–29.
Severtsov, A. N. “Evoliutsiia i psikhika.” In Sobr. soch., vol. 3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1945.
Ladygina-Kots, N. N. Razvitie psikhiki v protsesse evoliutsii organizmov. Moscow, 1958.
Tinbergen, N. Povedenie zhivotnykh. Moscow, 1969. (Translated from English.)
Fabri, K. E. “V. A. Vagner i sovremennaia zoopsikhologiia,”Voprosy psikhologii, 1969, no. 6.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Toward that end, Stumpf considered one of his disciples, Wolfgang Kohler, but ruled him out for lack of experience in animal psychology research.
Philosopher Daniel Dennett (1983) supported the position of Griffin, Burghardt and de Waal that appeals to mentalistic intentional states can be appropriate in a scientific animal psychology. He argued that anthropomorphic accounts can be more parsimonious than "an abstemiously behavioristic story of unimaginable complexity." (Dennett, 1983, p.
(85) Some accusations, however, specified an occult influence, as when one suspect was said to have used "her witchcraft," to cause a horse to throw its rider, and when another suspect was said to have cured a cow by grabbing its horns and saying "up, up," and then later killing it by throwing "a bucket of water on it." (86) The idea that a person could affect an animal so strongly may seem implausible, but it is supported by recent studies of animal psychology and of farm animals' relations with humans.
The programme promises to get to the bottom of all types of four-legged neuroses using the very latest in animal psychology.
The book also examines the influence that mysticism and tradition have had on successive horse-breaking eras, as well as the important role of animal psychology. This has taken an increasingly high profile in recent years, but The Horse Breakers illustrates that it draws its roots from long ago, detailing the work of John S Rarey, a horse trainer of the 19th century, and others.
He says: "My job involves a lot of animal psychology, something which I think is innate.
Clair holds a bachelor's degree in animal psychology from Pennsylvania State University.
Both cover historical aspects of how animals have been viewed and treated in Western philosophy and science plus historical and recent developments in animal psychology and ethology, and both criticize the way animals are and have been treated.
ISLAMABAD -- Mammalogists on Tuesday rejecting fall in mercury as the cause of consecutive deaths of nilgais in Marghazar zoo said aggression was a possible factor behind their demise and the management was totally unaware of the animal psychology.
Written by a well-known Austrian expert on cat behavior and animal psychology, "Fun and Games for Cats!" is a cat owner's trusted guide to enhancing the relationship between cat and owner with healthy games.
Finally, Porphyry's reliance on Historia Animalium, particularly the possibly "Theophrastean" ninth book, to support attribution of logismoi to animals and a progressive identification of human and animal psychology, is shown to be incompatible with Aristotle's position (pp.

Full browser ?