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Psychology of Animals

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Psychology of Animals

Ethology is, in the broad sense, the study of certain behaviors in animals. This does not mean analyzing all the different behaviors in one particular animal, though, like the range of emotions in chimpanzees. Ethology involves choosing one behavior and studying its effects in a wide variety of animals, for example, a focus on aggression in birds, reptiles, canines and gorillas.
Given this description, it sounds a lot more closely related to biology or zoology than any form of psychology, and that’s probably true. If you research sub-topics of psychology online, though, you will come across ethology, and that is in large part because of the work of natural selection by Charles Darwin. A better way to understand this is to focus on the aspect of behavioral studies. Even though the subjects are animals, ethologists are centering their study in emotions and reactions just as any psychologist would do with human subjects.

If this is the path you’re interested in, your best bet would be to major in Biology as an undergraduate and then choose your ethology focus in your graduate or doctoral program. This will give you a strong background in a variety of species and perhaps help you find a certain area or question that intrigues you to start your own research experiment.



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