Etikken bag psykologiske forsøg

Cecilie Marie Guldbæk, Nicoline Nørskov Thomhav, Emma Bülow Poulsen & Line Bukdal Endrup Jacobsen

Studenteropgave: Basisprojekt


The main focus of this project is animal experiments and the ethical considerations concerning the goals and means in experiments. The discussion of animal use in experiments is still relevant in today’s medical and food industry, considering animals are still inflicted with physical and psychological pain as a mean of human goals. For this reason, many animal welfare organizations have emerged throughout the years after World War II in order to fight for animal rights. Therefore, the necessity of animal experiments needs to be questioned and reviewed in a historical context to fully understand the issue. This project examines the experiments done by Harry Harlow in 1957 about love and affiliation in infant rhesus monkeys. The project reviews ethical theories including utilitarianism, contractualism and deontology followed by an analysis of the concept experiment. Furthermore, Harlow’s point of view is analyzed by the means of ethical theories and historical circumstances. The purpose is to achieve an understanding of Harlow’s actions and, thus, address the problem of whether one can justify the use of animals in experiments, where the animals are inflicted with pain. The results indicated Harlow’s ethical point of view on his experiments to be contractualistic, since his motivation was based on own interests and a rational view of humanity. Conclusively, his objectivistic method and approach to the experiments clearly showed the natural science impact on his scientific and ethical point of view. This explains Harlow’s actions, but the discussion whether animals should be a mean of human goals is still ongoing.

UddannelserBasis - Humanistisk Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato27 maj 2019
Antal sider49
VejledereErik Bendtsen


  • Etik
  • Eksperiment
  • Harry Harlow