The World of Animals

The study of animal behavior is a cornerstone of experimental psychology, shedding light not just on why animals behave the way they do, but on the complex emotions they elicit in humans. Pets in particular have a unique therapeutic effect on humans, especially those who are socially isolated or who are coping with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum.

Recent posts on Animal Behavior

On Aggression

By Nicholas Dodman on December 10, 2016 in Dog Days
Aggressive responding, though a normal behavioral expression with survival benefits, can sometimes get out of hand in people as well as domestic animals. It is a ubiquious issue.

Social Comparison: Don’t Let It Ruin Your Holiday

Social comparison often triggers cortisol, which taints a good life with a bad threatened feeling. Fortunately, you can re-direct this natural impulse. Here's how.

Raising a Wild Child: A New Film From the Born Wild Project

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 08, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A new film by an "estrogen powerhouse" shows that free time in nature teaches youngsters independence, physical coordination, problem solving, and important social and play skills.

Lab Rat's Pinker and Relaxed Ears Tell Us They're Feeling OK

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 07, 2016 in Animal Emotions
New research shows there are facial indicators of positive emotions in rats. We are obliged to pay attention to these signs and use them on an individual's behalf.
Bob Bawell photo — Creative Commons License

Does Stress Cause Premature Graying in Dogs?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on December 07, 2016 in Canine Corner
New data shows that dogs suffering from anxiety and stress will show graying hairs on their face prematurely

Do Dogs Really Bite Someone for "No Reason at All"? Take Two

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 05, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A comment on an essay made me think about why dogs do what they they do. The writer claimed a dog bit her humans and perhaps Cesar Millan for "no reason at all." I disagree.

Fidel

By Laura Betzig Ph.D. on December 04, 2016 in The Political Animal
Fidel Castro has been laid to rest. His words, and his descendants, live on.

Older Dogs: Giving Elder Canines Lots of Love and Good Lives

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 01, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Photographer Jane Klonsky's new book called "Unconditional: Older Dogs, Deeper Love," with its deeply moving stories and beautiful photos, is an inspirational and essential read.

Helen Keller and the First Akitas in the United States

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 30, 2016 in Canine Corner
Helen Keller, the deaf blind social activist, speaker, and author, is credited with bringing the first Akitas to America.

Pet Ownership Impact on Well-being Depends on Marital Status

By Roni Beth Tower Ph.D., ABPP on November 30, 2016 in Life, Refracted
Pet ownership is unrelated to well-being in married Americans. Single women benefit from having a pet, yet single men appear to be burdened by it.

Pet Therapy for Your Love Life

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on November 28, 2016 in Cravings
Can your relationship with your dog, cat, or betta fish predict the success of your romantic relationships?

Why Do Dogs Have Tails?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 24, 2016 in Canine Corner
The dog's tail is not simply a signal flag conveying his mood. It has some other important purposes.

Dogs Remember More Than You Think

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 24, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A new study shows dogs display episodic memory and remember far more than we give them credit for. While many people already "knew" this, it's nice to have the science back us up.

Prehistoric Languages… and Prehistoric Minds? Part II

The linguistic mind of our great, great [...] great grandparents

White House Turkey Pardon Confuses President: Humane-Washing

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 22, 2016 in Animal Emotions
The traditional White House pardon of a single turkey and Temple Grandin's "stairway to heaven" on which food cows stumble at the end of their lives are confusing feel good scams.

Should You Tread on That Bee?

By Michael Tye, Ph.D. on November 22, 2016 in Genuinely Conscious
Walking along the path to your house, you see a honeybee crawling along the ground in front of you. Is there anything wrong with your deliberately treading on it?

Why We Choose the Words We Use

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on November 21, 2016 in The Dolphin Divide
Can psychology restore your linguistic options? Or are trendy words and phrases destined for the junk heap?

Stairways to Heaven, Temples of Doom, and Humane-Washing

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 17, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Around Thanksgiving it seems as if people do more soul-searching about who they eat because advertisements show that many millions of birds, pigs, and cows die for our meal plans.

Chimpanzees Get by With a Little Help From Their Friends

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 17, 2016 in Animal Emotions
The Beatles claimed we get by with a little help from our friends, and recent research on wild chimpanzees shows this is so. Friends and family help to reduce social stress.

Do We Interpret Dog and Human Emotions in the Same Way?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 17, 2016 in Canine Corner
Recent data answers the question of whether the brain processes emotional expressions of humans and dogs in the same way.

Think Like a Cat

By John Bradshaw Ph.D. on November 17, 2016 in Pets and Their People
Since cats' brains are evidently not like our own, the way they think could be very different from the way we do.

In Ralph Nader's New Book, Animals Speak for Themselves

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 14, 2016 in Animal Emotions
In Ralph Nader's new book animals hold "The Great Talkout" and tell us what they want and need. In an interview with Mr. Nader he tells us about "Animal Envy" and much more.

Choosing Life over Survival

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on November 13, 2016 in Bear in Mind
There are chance encounters when fences fall and "fitful influences from beyond" reveal our common connections.

Do Dogs Grieve Over the Loss of an Animal Companion?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 10, 2016 in Canine Corner
New data shows that dogs show grief and stress when they lose a companion animal from their household.

"Dead" or Just "Away"?

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on November 10, 2016 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
A new study explores how often veterinarians observe behavioral changes in animals when a companion is euthanized.

Small Hands

By Laura Betzig Ph.D. on November 06, 2016 in The Political Animal
Sex in politics is as old as politics. And maybe as old as sex.

Journey: The True Story of the Most Famous Wolf in the West

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 04, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A new children's book about wolf OR7's 2000 mile trek is a must read for all. In it we read about a young girl's efforts help make OR7 “too famous to kill" and she was successful.

Videos of Kids Going Face-to-face With Dogs Set Bad Examples

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 03, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Videos of kids going face-to-face with dogs are cute but set bad examples of what could turn out to be bad news for the youngsters, their families, and of course the dog.

Happy Bees: Bumblebees Show Dopamine-Based Positive Emotions

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 03, 2016 in Animal Emotions
After eating a sugary treat, bumblebees displayed optimistic behavior. When dopamine was blocked, data suggest bees experienced a change in mood, not just increased energy.

Do Dogs Have Empathy for Other Dogs?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 02, 2016 in Canine Corner
New data shows that a dog who hears the whines and whimpers of another dog may empathize with its stress and try to provide comfort.