Animal Research Validity
As highlighted by the text, “An animal model can be viewed as an experimental protocol that is used to study a given phenomenon found in humans” (Koob, Arends & Le Moal, 2014, pg. 68). But for animal research to be relevant to our understanding of human addiction, it must be reliable and valid. How can validity be established in animal research? What type(s) of validity is most important? How is reliability established? What type(s) of reliability is most important? Defend your position.
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Animal Research Validity
Validity in any experiment is important to ensure the experiment is relevant to understanding any parameter under study and the research gets accepted worldwide. A valid model should predict the therapeutic potential of any compound in humans. Several validity models allow for choosing a valid model; face validity and construct validity (Belin-Rauscent & Belin, n.d.). Researchers establish face validity by determining the similarities between the animal model and the human condition. It is important to design the model but lacks the objectivity required to evaluate behavioral similarities between the model and humans. Scientists establish construct validity by accounting for the neurobiological constructs that characterize the specified pathological process in humans. Construct validity is most preferred because it is objective and accounts for relevant psychological characteristics of humans’ specific pathological processes, like seeking incentives and forming habits.
Reliability is established by testing whether the model allows the independent variable to be manipulated and precisely reproduced. The dependent variable is to be measured and reproduced in standard conditions (Smith, 2020). Reliability ensures scientists can trust the data worldwide. Adequate reporting of the animal models used, including the artifacts caused by factors like genetics, transportations, food deprivation, the conditions within which it was kept, and all nuances that went into the animal, make reliability valuable. The most important type of reliability is a comprehensive report that encompasses all aspects of an animal model used, including the genetics and the prevailing conditions it was exposed to before the experiment. However, a replacement method avoids the use of animal models, reducing the comparable information obtained from several studies, and, when using animal models, refining the methods and equipment used on animals.
Belin-Rauscent, A., & Belin, D. (n.d.). Animal models of drug addictions. InTech open. https://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs/40316/InTech-Animal_models_of_drug_addiction.pdf
Smith, A. J. (2020). Guidelines for planning and conducting high-quality research and testing on animals. Laboratory Animal Research, 36(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42826-020-00054-0
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