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

Why Men Trophy Hunt: Showing Off and the Psychology of Shame

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 28, 2017 in Animal Emotions
If the "hunting for status" hypothesis is correct, then shaming could be an effective strategy for those opposed because shaming tends to erode the status that trophy hunters seek.

Why Do Dogs React to Cats?

Is it the sight of the cat, the sound of a cat, or the smell of a cat that excites dogs the most? The answer might surprise you.

Animals Need More Freedom, Not Bigger Cages

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 28, 2017 in Animal Emotions
As the late Tom Regan stressed, "...the only adequate moral response to vivisection is empty cages, not larger cages." Animals in all human dominated venues need more freedom.

Does Fixing Pets Need Fixing?

A new book on the ethics of keeping companion animals raises many hitherto undebated issues.

The Inner Life of Cats Reveals Fascinating Feline Secrets

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 28, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A new book called The Inner Life of Cats blends science and stories and shows that these fascinating, mysterious animals are sentient individuals who are loving and social beings.

Friends in Fur

With over 77 million dogs among us, is it surprising that many are stepping in as friends, confidantes, soulmates and support systems? Dogs pull way above their weight.

iSpeakDog: A Website Devoted to Becoming Dog Literate

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 27, 2017 in Animal Emotions
This new website teaches people how to understand their dog's behavior and is meant for dog guardians, trainers, groomers, veterinarians, and anyone else who interacts with dogs.

The Animals' Agenda: An interview About Animal Well-Being

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 25, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A new book titled "The Animals' Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age" argues animal welfare needs to be replaced with the science of animal well-being.

How Much Solidarity Do You Feel With Animals?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on March 23, 2017 in Animals and Us
A new scale helps researchers study why some people identify with animals and others despise them.

Pets of the Homeless: Attachment Figures and Social Support

By Zazie Todd Ph.D. on March 23, 2017 in Fellow Creatures
Why do homeless people have pets? It turns out that homeless youth with pets are less depressed and lonely than those without, but pets bring disadvantages too.

Want to Build a Dog From A Fox? Here's How To Do It.

Tucked away in Siberia, there are furry, four-legged creatures with wagging tails that are as friendly as any lapdog. But, despite appearances, these are not dogs—they are foxes.

Bowsers on Botox: Dogs Get Eye Lifts, Tummy Tucks, and More

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 23, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Just when you think you've heard it all, we learn dogs get face lifts, lip tucks, and testicular implants as part of a thriving industry to make them more lovable and cuddly.

If You Want to Live Longer, Get a Dog

New data shows that pet ownership can increase the longevity of people with health risk issues.

Do Sharks Feel Pain?

By Michael Tye, Ph.D. on March 21, 2017 in Genuinely Conscious
Sharks are often taken to be natural killing machines. The root of this idea may lie (at least in part) in their apparent inability to feel pain.

Why Would a Chimpanzee Use a Tool to Clean a Corpse's Teeth?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 18, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A novel observation of a female chimpanzee cleaning a corpse's teeth raises many fascinating questions. This discovery forces us to consider what other animals know about death.

Not Just Walking the Dog

A new study help us see what dog walking reveals about human-animal relationships and negotiations of power.

Dog Owners Are Wrong About the Health Benefits of Raw Diets

Despite dog owners' beliefs that raw animal product dog foods are healthier data suggests that they are unsafe.
Bill Davidow

Why Dogs Don’t Use The Internet

What we can learn from dogs about managing the internet.

25 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Dogs

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on March 13, 2017 in Animals and Us
Why dogs should not drive cars and other findings from the hot new field of canine science.

Animal Behavior and Social Media

By David Dillard-Wright Ph.D. on March 12, 2017 in Boundless
What can we learn about human online behavior by watching other species? Social interaction has the potential for both peace-making and aggression.

Beasts of Burden: Disability and Animal Liberation Revisited

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 12, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A new book by disability and animal activist Sunaura Taylor, clearly outlines the close relationship between these two movements that deal with marginalized and vulnerable beings.

A Man and His Dog

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on March 09, 2017 in How To Do Life
A short-short story

The Lube Effect: Dogs Foster Cooperation and Trust in Humans

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 08, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A new study shows dogs serve as social lubricants to help people get along better. When a dog is present, humans are friendlier, more trusting, more active, and more enthusiastic.

Do Dogs Ever Lie to or Try to Deceive People?

New data shows that dogs are capable of being deceptive around people when it is in their own self-interest.
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More Fully Living in the Present and Loving in Relationships

In spite of the spotlights shining down at the podium, I could make out her face through the dimly lit houselights...

What Does Information Look Like in the Brain?

Does thinking harder or experiencing deep emotions like love, fear, or anguish light up more neurons? Probably not.

Can Humans Truly Connect With Nature by Eating a Big Mac?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 04, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Does meat eating connect us with nature and with ourselves? A recent essay unconvincingly claims it's important for attuning ourselves to the animal world and our animal natures.

To Understand Everything, Understand Evolution

To understand psychology, culture, and maybe even the universe, we need to understand evolution.

It’s the Mode For Men to Have More Sex Partners

A common fallacy mistakes the mean for the mode where numbers of sex partners distinguished by sex is concerned.

Rather Than Kill Animals "Softly," Don't Kill Them at All

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on March 01, 2017 in Animal Emotions
"Efforts to control wildlife should begin wherever possible by altering the human practices that cause human–wildlife conflict and by developing a culture of coexistence."