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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Comparative Psychology’s Relevance to a Liberal Arts Education and Personal Development


The purpose of a liberal arts education is to enhance critical thinking and to facilitate personal growth through knowledge and understanding of oneself and one’s relationship with the rest of the environment. Akin to this educational process is comparative psychology’s comprehensive perspective, characterized by concepts such as continuity , emergence and a Levels of Analysis approach to understanding. Comparative psychology is a model central to the purpose and value of a liberal arts education and, as such, has the potential to enhance that process and the consequent worth of our daily lives.

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