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Dr-A-Greene, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Clinical and Forensic Psychologist
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Hello DR-A-Green: Would it be correct to call a psychologist

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Hello DR-A-Green:

Would it be correct to call a psychologist a primatologist who studies human behavior? Children climb trees(I remember climbing a mulberry and picking the fruit high up in the branches. I remember forming a small gang of boys contesting other boys for territory. We were not gang bangers but repeating what our very ancient ancestors did. As a child I learned to gather wild fruits and watch out for bears when foraging for black berries.

We all have heard the expressions Get off my back I am tired of carrying you( female primates discourage their young once they reach a certain weight) or the expression I will scratch your back if you scratch mine.Grooming in humans sees perfectly fine to me but I see very little of this in Western society. Grooming strengthens bonds and means more than a prelude to sex in fact is to me the most pleasurable encounter I can. I allow both females and males to groom me, I am a Primate. Tell me what you Think

In a very basic sense, psychologists do study behavior and the origins of that behavior - much of which stems from our cousins in the animal kingdom. You are correct that much of our behavior is strikingly similar to apes, chimps, etc. The fact that we share so much DNA in common is one of the reasons that chimpanzees are often used by scientists to study new drugs, theories of complex cultural reactions, etc.


However, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the one thing (aside from the .1% of DNA) that separates us. And that is, the development of a complex verbal language. While there is no doubt that apes/chimps communicate with their own language and that they are capable of using limited simple sign language to communicate with us, humans are still the only creature on the face of the earth that have developed a complex verbal communication system. Dr. Steven Pinker has written some amazing literature regarding this.


So, while I would agree with you on many of your previous thoughts, I think that psychologists are different from "primate-ologists" in that we rely heavily on verbal communication from our clients. In general, our study of the human condition is not only informed by our ancestor's behavior, but by our contemporary's words. :)

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Interesting associations and question, by the way!
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