In need of a 250 word response/discussion to each of the following forum posts. Agreement/disagreement/and/or continuing the discussion.
Original forum discussion/topic post is as follows:
Ethical Research. Research in the area of biological psychology often requires surgical procedures that end with the sacrifice of the organism being used as a subject. Review the methods presented and identify one that would fall into this category. Discuss what we have learned from this method and whether you believe it is worth the associated sacrifice.
Form post response #1
Biology Psychology research frequently requires surgical procedures that result in the sacrifice of the organism used as a subject; however, the research is not worth the associated sacrifice. Biology Psychology studies psychological processes connected with perception, cognition, intelligence, learning, moods, emotions, and motivating forces serving as the foundations of normal and abnormal behaviors (King, 2018). The neurological aspects of mental disorders are also investigated by biology-centered psychologists (King, 2018). Regarding all of these matters, specialized scientists conduct research with non-human animals. It is viewed that studies involving non-human animals are essential to determining how brain regions and/or neurotransmitters factor in with development and functionality. Apes, monkeys, cats, dogs, mice, rats, pigeons, and other animals might be used so that brain systems are better understood. These animals are used as “stand ins” for humans. The “stand ins” may receive purposeful permanent brain damage/trauma, surgical modifications, and deleterious effects resulting from tested chemicals. Invasive interventions, such as surgical, allow the scientists to investigate brain changes. It is further thought that information learned will help guide psychology’s efforts in healing segments of humanity that are suffering. Nevertheless, the philosophical explanation of “for the good of the whole” seems largely inadequate when justifying these animal sacrifices.
Biology Psychology often requires that surgical procedures be used on non-human subjects in order to help out humans in the long run; but this is not ethical. The best-known non-human psychology experiments are likely the Pavlov experiments on dogs and cats, which studied conditioning. Today, animals, such as cats and dogs, may be given deliberate neural damage via surgery so that scientists can study the recovery processes or the biological basis of disorders. Other invasive procedures, including isolation, deprivation, and amputation have also been used. Routinely, the scientists go into the experiment fully aware that the organism will have to be put down afterward. In the great majority of experiments, the animals are subjected to pain, distress, suffering, and – eventually – a pitiful death. It is, however, acknowledged that there is an abundance of state and federal laws in place to ensure that research animals are treated responsibly.
Biology Psychology, in its fervor to arrive at cutting edge therapies to treat anguished humans, may have lost its way. It gives a variety of explanations for the utility of using non-human organisms in research experiments, all deficient. Some say that only abandoned cats at the end of their life term are used. Some say that the animals are made comfortable throughout (which, naturally, does not make a lick of sense). Some suggest that experimentation on primates, even if the said experiments end in pain, maiming, or death, is worth it because primates are so similar to human beings. Most assert that animal experimentation advances Biology Psychology knowledge. I am not confident that any of these explanations holds water. In the grand pecking order of things, human beings dominate the earth due to our intelligence. In this regard, we are supposed to be responsible stewards of the creatures below us in this pecking order. Research that requires the sacrifice of the organism being studied is not reflective of decent stewardship. I believe that all creatures are sacred and possess souls. I am not, however, a rabid PETA follower. Mind you, there have been plenty of these “sacred” creatures I have had to dispatch in one way or another (usually through capture and relocation) because they have posed direct great danger to myself and/or the animals that I am a steward over on the farm. I have been personally confronted by daytime foxes, raccoons, and a wild dog pack, never mind venomous snakes. I have had my beloved ducks’ heads snatched off whole by aggressive kites. Each time, I recognized that the organism is doing what its instincts are driving it to do. And, I try to figure out a way to eliminate the threat to my homestead. My Have-a-Heart is one of my most trusted tools. Having said that, I cannot get behind Biology Psychology’s surgical procedures on non-human organisms, when the said research will inevitably lead to the test animal’s fear, agony, and death. The tendered covert explanation that human beings are – somehow – supreme and, therefore, worthy of all these sacrifices makes me uncomfortable and sad. Also, I am not convinced animal research findings directly correlate with that unique organism called a human being.
Forum post response #2
Biopsychology is the study of how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are impacted through psychology from a biological standpoint. McLeod (2015) states anything psychological begins with physiological factors. Based on this logic, there are three fundamental categories of examining biopsychological issues: comparative method, physiology, and inheritance (McLeod, 2015, paras. 1-3). Comparative method is observing and comparing differences between species and ecologic factors, while the physiological aspect assesses how the brain, hormones, behaviors, and parts of the nervous system (within the brain) are affected through psychological issues. Finally, inheritance is simply genetics passed from the parent to their offspring (as with other species).
The biomedical field is known to use animals in surgical procedures for new developments in medical and healthcare research. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (1991), animals are a critical asset in research to learn more about illnesses and diseases that can affect humans. Such techniques have been highly controversial, as it’s been considered morally and ethically wrong. Animals are known to be domesticated companions in households around the world. For instance, over 100 million households within the United States, alone, have animals as pets (Insurance Information Institute, 2018). Testing humans could be dangerous, so animals are tested to ensure procedures are deemed safe and effective. However, ethical implications project it’s inhumane to test on living creatures. Nonetheless, the American Psychology Association has mandated procedures for researchers on the handling and care of using animals in research.
Heart valve replacement is a common surgical procedure known to be tested on animals. For example, researchers use artificial valves and hearts to determine if organ transplants are possible for the human species. The process requires researchers to sow blood vessels together to conduct organ transplants and coronary artery bypasses. The surgical process was first conducted on cats and dogs, in which French surgeon and biologist, Alexis Carrel won a Nobel Prize (University of Houston, n.d). The National Academies of Sciences (2004) are emphatic that heart valve replacement would not be a possible procedure for human beings if it wasn’t initially test on animals. I know a few older individuals who’ve had valve replacements, so I do understand the importance of research and testing to determine the best treatment for human beings. However, I partial to testing on animals because I’m a pet owner. I can’t imagine sacrificing a dog for a research experiment, understanding the risks and possible permanent damage. At the same time, I am a meat eater– so I can guess it’s a “catch 22” here (not of cats or dogs)– just the perception of whether testing on animals is ethical. Nonetheless, animal research is necessary for this procedure because it identifies possible challenges that can occur, such as organ rejection or surgical procedures that may not be conducive to human beings. If animals aren’t tested, how do we know if procedures will be beneficial for people? It’s a difficult, ethical dilemma.
Forum Post response #3
Ethical research has been a subject of discussion in several of my previous courses, and I generally have a strong opinion on the subject. Biological psychology takes the approach that we are a consequence of our genetics and physiology, that our thought feeling and behaviors are a result of our biology (McLeod, 2015). Biological psychology is looked at in three ways, comparatively, physiologically, and investigation of inheritance. For the purposes of the discussion on ethical research, I will focus on the physiological method which focuses on how the nervous system and hormones work, along with how the brain functions and how changes in structure or function affect behavior (McLeod, 2015). How the human brain works has been the subject of many studies and is still not completely understood. Different physiological methods to study the brain range from EEGs to brain scans like MRIs or CAT scans to neuro surgery. Of those methods, neuro surgery can present the most ethical concerns when it comes to research for biological psychology. Using the neuro surgery method will require a living subject to operate on the get reliable results. These results cannot be simulated and generally with require an animal subject to test out initial theories. There are many psychological disorders that researchers have pondered that can have a biological explanation like memory or depression that is not initially test on humans. Small animals like dogs, cat, mice and monkeys are used as substitutes for humans while doing surgery. There are theories that removing parts of the brain can lead to decreased signs and symptoms of depression, but is too dangerous for humans initially to test. I generally think that it is unethical to do research on animals for most reasons. A big tenant for do a research study using human subjects is the fact that consent needs to be given or the study cannot be conducted. Animals are unable to give consent to participate in research studies and therefore should not be the subjects. I find it to be cruel to subject innocent animals to the whims of researchers and they have no choice in the matter. If the experiment is too dangerous for other living beings like humans, it should not be considered on helpless animals. If the study requires a living subject, consent should be gained from a person who is aware of all of the consequences and is capable of making the decision.