Is there a term for the knowledge domain that deals with animal mind and behavior?

Initially, I'd thought that it is "Zoology", but it doesn't look like a fit.

Basically I was wondering if the study of human mind and behavior is called "Psychology", what is the name for the study of animal mind and behavior?

  • Man is an animal.
    – Kris
    May 14, 2012 at 7:48
  • @Kris Since "man" is a subset of animal, we can't use Psychology to refer to the "study of animal mind and behavior" right?
    – Pacerier
    May 14, 2012 at 7:51
  • No, Pacerier. Psychology applies to animals too. Think about it - Pavlova studied dogs, Skinner studied rats and pigeons, psychologists are forever putting animals in mazes, and getting them to solve puzzles. Psychology can apply to animals. May 14, 2012 at 8:02

1 Answer 1


Ethology, Animal Behavior, and Comparative Psychology all are recognized disciplines dealing with various aspects of animal behavior and psychology.

The fine distinctions and boundaries between these areas are often subject to debate -- in fact they seem to overlap to a great extent.

See Ethology on Wikipedia for interesting insights. (Not to be confused with 'ethnology'.)

  • 1
    I have deliberately restricted my answer to the scope of EL&U, i.e., the English terminology aspect alone, avoiding technical details.
    – Kris
    May 14, 2012 at 8:07
  • Note that ethology can also apply to lower-taxa animals such as insects (like crickets) and spiders, as well as mammals. I am not sure you would talk about the psychology of spiders. But as Kris says, some of that discussion is beyond the scope of ELU. Ethology is the correct word.
    – JLG
    May 14, 2012 at 13:20

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