"Psychiatry is awash with concepts and theories. Unfortunately, many are untestable, and few have been rigorously confirmed. The overriding importance of early experience is postulated. Dreams are respected as the royal road to the unconscious. The mother-child relationship is extolled, and heredity or a disturbed parental-child matrix is incriminated in schizophrenia. In the welter of confusing opinion, dogmatism and nihilism coexist."
The notion for this symposium, sponsored by the Research Committee of the American Psychiatric Association arose from such ruminations. The editor organized a meeting devoted to the behavior of infrahuman species whose genetic heritage and environmental history can be specified and manipulated in some detail. The various animals represented in the experimental reports include the fruit fly and other insects, mouse, rat, rabbit and guinea pig, platyfish, chick and other fowl, cat, dog, and monkey. The discussions range even more broadly across the animal kingdom.