The Human Use of Subhuman Beings

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Abstract

Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1978, Vol 23(11), 951. Reviews the book, The War Animals by Robert E. Lubow (1977). The human species has taken advantage of other animals by domesticating them for some thousands of years. The principles of instrumental learning that have been developed during the 20th century make it possible to expand the scope of the services that animals may offer. This book provides an interesting and readable account of a large portion of this development. The author has been involved in several applied projects, which he describes in detail. His account is often fascinating and always informative. The author devotes much of the book to projects in which pigeons were trained to scan pictures and to identify particular classes of objects (e.g., human-made vs. naturally occurring objects) and in which dogs were trained to stalk intruders and to locate mines, tunnels, narcotics, and bodies. A regrettable feature of the book is the emphasis on the use of animals for military purposes. Admittedly most of the research was supported by military agencies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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