Overview for Principles of Ethology and Behavioural Physiology
It is to be expected that some research workers will always like to watch animals, while others will prefer cathode ray oscillographs; and that, of those who study behaviour, some will crouch over rats in problem boxes while others lie in bogs peering through a binocular. This is an inevitable, and welcome, consequence of human polymorphism. Author intention has been primarily to present some of the principles of ethology, That is, of the study of behaviour. The concentration of behaviour research on laboratory rats has made it possible to take most of the examples from one species. Something is now known, too, of the behaviour of wild rats; hence observations and concepts, of kinds usually drawn from the work of zoologists, can easily be introduced with those of psychologists; he indeed laid special emphasis on biological principles. It was, however, not enough to describe observations only of overt behaviour. An animal's behaviour is not something apart from its physiology. Accordingly, he has system and the endocrine and other organs, wherever they help to explain behaviour. Writings on scientific subjects have, as a rule, only a brief usefulness at best. This book will certainly not be an exception. If they are sufficiently lucid they can contribute for a little to the continuous disputation which must accompany both research and teaching. The most valuable things he can hope to have done are to heighten interest in the science of behaviour, to provoke argument about it an, finally, to encourage readers to adopt the attitude of the motto of the oldest scientific society: Nullius in verba.