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date: 21 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The study of animal behavior holds a special place in psychology, as many early psychologists studied behavior across a range of species. Although psychology is frequently defined as “the scientific study of behavior and mental processes,” contemporary psychology focuses on the behavior of humans. Including a comparative perspective can provide students with a clearer understanding of behavioral diversity and the factors that influence it. We discuss topics typically covered in an animal behavior course, along with some newer emerging topics in the discipline, and provide information about teaching resources and strategies. We also provide examples for incorporating a comparative perspective throughout areas of the psychology curriculum such as brain and behavior, sensation and perception, cognition, and personality.

Keywords: Animal behavior, Comparative psychology, Undergraduate teaching, Evolutionary perspective, Applied research

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