Bottoms-up! Rejecting Top-down Human-centered Approaches in Comparative Psychology
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.46867/ijcp.2018.31.01.11
Although comparative psychologists have made considerable strides in the past several decades, expanding the breadth of species and questions examined, the field still suffers from an overemphasis on top-down approaches that begin and end with a focus on humans. This top-down perspective leads to biases and oversights that hamper the further development of the field. A bottom-up approach that considers species-specific abilities and behaviors in the context of theoretically relevant comparisons will be most useful in advancing knowledge of species-specific and shared abilities. This will allow a better determination of the extent to which continuities and discontinuities exist as a function of different ecological forces. In addition, a bottom-up approach will facilitate a shift in focus from using animals to better understand humans, to understanding animals themselves. This new approach will allow for an appreciation of how humans can benefit other species.