Animal Models in Neuropsychiatry: Do the benefits outweigh the moral costs?

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 32 (4):530-535 (2022)
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Animal models have long been used to investigate human mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. This practice is usually justified in terms of the benefits (to humans) outweighing the costs (to the animals). I argue on utility maximization grounds that we should phase out animal models in neuropsychiatric research. Our leading theories of how human minds and behavior evolved invoke sociocultural factors whose relation to nonhuman minds, societies, and behavior has not been homologized. Thus it is not at all clear that we are gaining the epistemic or clinical benefits we want from this animal-based research.

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Carrie Figdor
University of Iowa


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