The study of animals may lead to a deeper understanding of human behaviour when it is not always possible to study humans directly, possibly because:
1. There are moral and ethical reasons that restrict the type of research that can be performed using humans as subjects.
In the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights it states in Article one “All Human Beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Due to this a lot of tests run on animals are often unable to be performed on human being even though they are volunteers.
2. It is possible to give greater rewards and punishments with animals and use experimental techniques such as rearing in isolation.
Again this is another issue that raises concerns with basic human rights as researchers intervene with issues of dignity and freedom to do certain things that humans are entitled to. This also brings in a debate about cruelty to other human that is illegal.
It is possible to strictly control an animal’s environment so that it is possible to make sure that only one variable is being isolated and studied at one time. Being isolated from other people can be extremely harming to children if this should happen as this is how they learn by watching and mimicking the each other, so in turn it would have great and lasting effects on their developmental and language skills. For adults that become isolated that have already experienced social interaction they may seem to loose their ability to verbalize and socialize with others, these behaviours are often related to people that researchers call recluse.
Animals generally take a much shorter period of time to reach full adult maturity thus allowing research into many generations in a short time. If a human being was used for these types of studies it would take a prolonged period of time where researchers generally need results quickly to publish their results.
A major disadvantage of animal studies is that it is never certain that research into the causes of animal behaviour is applicable to human behaviour. It is often far too easy for researchers to summarise the findings from animal studies to human beings.