Article ID: CBB001420417

Making Organisms Model Human Behavior: Situated Models in North-American Alcohol Research, since 1950 (2014)


Ankeny, Rachel A. (Author)
Leonelli, Sabina (Author)
Nelson, Nicole C. (Author)
Ramsden, Edmund (Author)

Science in Context
Volume: 27, no. 3
Issue: 3
Pages: 485-509

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.

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Authors & Contributors
Kirk, Robert
Rheinberger, Hans-Jörg
Wilson, David A. H.
Gachelin, Gabriel
Leonelli, Sabina
Ramsden, Edmund
History of Science
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Technology and Culture
Presses Universitaires de France
Duke University Press
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Harvard University
Cornell University
MIT Press
Experimental organisms
Animal experimentation
Models and modeling in science
Standardization and standards
Lane-Petter, William
Babcock, E. B. (Ernest Brown)
Husserl, Edmund
Bachelard, Gaston
Fleck, Ludwik
Canguilhem, Georges
United States
Great Britain
20th century
19th century
20th century, late
21st century
International Committee on Laboratory Animals
University of California, Berkeley
Institut Pasteur, Paris

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