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Type: Journal article
Title: Making organisms model human behavior: situated models in North-American alcohol research, since 1950
Author: Ankeny, R.
Leonelli, S.
Nelson, N.
Ramsden, E.
Citation: Science in Context, 2014; 27(3):485-509
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Issue Date: 2014
ISSN: 0269-8897
Statement of
Rachel A. Ankeny, Sabina Leonelli, Nicole C. Nelson, and Edmund Ramsden
Abstract: We examine the criteria used to validate the use of nonhuman organisms in North-American alcohol addiction research from the 1950s to the present day. We argue that this field, where the similarities between behaviors in humans and non-humans are particularly difficult to assess, has addressed questions of model validity by transforming the situatedness of non-human organisms into an experimental tool. We demonstrate that model validity does not hinge on the standardization of one type of organism in isolation, as often the case with genetic model organisms. Rather, organisms are viewed as necessarily situated: they cannot be understood as a model for human behavior in isolation from their environmental conditions. Hence the environment itself is standardized as part of the modeling process; and model validity is assessed with reference to the environmental conditions under which organisms are studied.
Keywords: Animals; Humans; Alcoholism; Disease Models, Animal; Animal Experimentation; Behavior; Environment; History, 19th Century; History, 20th Century; North America
Rights: © Cambridge University Press 2014
RMID: 0030006954
DOI: 10.1017/S0269889714000155
Appears in Collections:History publications

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