The Beneficial Effects Of Animals On Children With Autism

Temple Grandin told me that some (but not all) people with autism have a special way with animals. This new study examined the biological mechanisms behind the soothing effects Guinea pigs can have on children with autism spectrum disorders. .

Congress Should Declare That Mice Are Animals - Now!

In 2002, Congress declared that mice and rats and birds are not animals. A new study by PETA shows why it's time to change Federal animal protection statutes.

Is Sadomasochism a Uniquely Human Form of Sexuality?

From an evolutionary point of view, the enjoyment of pain would seem to be maladaptive. Is there an animal analog of finding sexual satisfaction in being whipped, poked with needles, or having hot wax dripped on your skin?

Dogs Can't Cure Cancer

How much do cancer patients benefit from playing with therapy dogs before their radiation or chemotherapy treatments? There's good news and bad news...

How “Natural” Is A Cloned Cow...Or A Cloned Dog?

How natural is a cloned cow or a chihuahua or a dolphin at Sea World? Is an outdoor cat more natural than an indoor cat? We developed a scale to measure perceptions of the "naturalness" of different animals. As you can see from this graph, our results were surprising.

Five Questions That Reveal How Much You Care About Animals

Psychologists are turning to short scales to assess our attitudes and personality. We have developed several brief instruments to measure beliefs about the use of other species. You can take the 5-item Animal Attitude Scale here.

84% of Vegetarians and Vegans Return to Meat. Why?

I was shocked when my long-time vegetarian daughter asked me for suggestions about what types of meat she might enjoy. I should not have been surprised. According to new research, the vast majority of vegetarians and even vegans eventually return to meat-eating. Here are the implications for the animal rights movement.

Does Animal-Assisted Therapy Really Work?

Can interacting with dogs or horses help treat mental and physical illnesses? I recently reviewed the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of animal assisted therapies. The good news is that the vast majority of studies have reported that animal therapy works. The bad news is that...

The Dog Movie Star Effect: Is It Real?

In 1943, MGM released the movie Lassie Come Home. In the three years after the release of the movie, the number of Collies registered with the American Kennel Club jumped from about 2,000 to over 15,000 puppies a year. But was this sudden in the desire of Americans to live with a collie a coincidence or was it an example of the “dog movie star effect.”

Who's Lying About Not Eating Meat?

A new study shows that just thinking about the treatment of animals in slaughterhouses causes women—but not men—to "strategically under-report" their meat consumption. Why are women more likely to lie about eating animals?

Should Pets Be Banished From the Bedroom?

New research examines the effect of sleeping with pets on their owner's health and happiness.

Can Dogs Warn Their Owners of Impending Migraines?

Dogs can be keenly sensitive to subtle changes related to the health of their owners. For example, seizure alert dogs can sense the onset epileptic seizures. A new study suggests that dog can also warn about imminent migraine headaches hours in advance.

Service Animal Scams: A Growing Problem

The present system governing the legal status of service dogs and emotional support animals is rife with abuse. Here's why:

The Morality of Marathon Dog Races

What would you rather be: a sled dog or a race horse? The answer is surprising.

The Dog Show Vs. The Olympics: The Judges' Dilemma

The winner in Olympic speed skating is the person who gets to the finish line first. But in events like snowboarding and the Westminster Dog Show, determining who is “the best” is much more subjective. Here are four reasons why snowboard judging is better than dog show judging.

Why Do Small Dogs Have So Many Psychological Problems?

Why do little dogs exhibit more behavior problems than big dogs? Is it a matter of bad genes, over-indulgent owners, or basic insecurity?

What Do People Care More About? Animal Abuse Or Child Abuse

It is widely believed that newspaper reports of wanton animal cruelty elicit more public outrage than stories about child abuse. Two social scientists recently designed an experiment to see if this claim is true. Here is what they found.

"Dogs ARE Persons!" (The Other Side of the Debate)

In a recent post (Are Dogs People? Really?), I criticized the claim that new dog brain studies show that non-human animals are persons. Here three smart protectionists explain why they think I am wrong—and why the courts should grant legal status to non-human species.

Are Dogs People? Really?

Using the latest M.R.I. technology, a group of neuroscientists are exploring what goes on inside the heads of dogs. Their research is exciting, but the fact that a brain structure lights up when our canine friends are happy does not mean that "dogs are people, too."

Animal Cruelty and the Sadism of Everyday Life

Two recent studies help explain why some people find pleasure in torturing animals. The answer lies in sadism and a configuration of traits called The Dark Triad.

Ten Special YouTube Animal Videos

From parrots who love music to oral sex in fruit bats, YouTube videos offer rarely observed but scientifically important examples of animal behaviors.

Why Do Human Friends (But Not Pets) Make People Live Longer?

The keynote address at the recent conference on human-animal relationships spun my head around and has caused me to question whether our pets are really our "friends."

Would You Save a Puppy or a Child From a Burning Building?

You have come across a burning building. From inside, you hear the howls of a dog and the cries of a human infant. Flames licking at your heels, you run into the building and realize that you only have time to save one or the other. Which one would you choose—the dog or the child? The surprising results of a new study reveal how important animals are in people's lives.

Should We De-Sex All Of Our Pets?

In 1867, the streets of New York were awash with homeless dogs. The city council took action and began drowning 700 dogs a day in the East River. Thanks to the success of the spay and neuter campaign, fewer unwanted pets are killed today than ever before. But a new study has found that cutting your dogs gonads off may make it more likely to get cancer.

Crustacean Rights: The Case of the "Lucky" Crabs

Should we be concerned with pain and suffering in invertebrates? Here's why stone crabs are high on my list of immoral foods.

The Problem With Incest

There is a good reason why sex with close relatives is taboo in nearly every human society.

Are You an Animal Person? It Could Be In Your Genes

A new study of Vietnam Era veterans suggests why some people and not others love animals.

Why Are Rape Victims More—Not Less—Likely To Become Pregnant?

A woman's chances of getting pregnant are much lower than most people think. But they are considerably higher if she is raped.

Puppies, Kittens, and Human Health: Science Versus Wishful Thinking

According to Psych Today blogger Melanie Greenberg, scientists have proven that getting a pet will make you healthier. Here are a dozen studies suggesting she is wrong.

Do Pets Prevent Sudden Death In Children With Epilepsy?

A new study on the death rates of children with epilepsy found that living with a pet...

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