Animal Behavior Essential Reads

Trumping Animals and Their Homes: Seeing Light in Dark Times

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on June 23, 2017 in Animal Emotions
It's a tough time for animals. We need to overcome negativity, resist compassion and empathy fatigue, maintain hope, and keep our dreams alive.

Why Are Crowded City Dwellers Living the Slow Life?

The big city means the fast life, unrestricted sexuality, street gangs, and hordes of uncaring people. Right? Maybe not, according to a recently published series of studies.

Two Captive Elephants Save a Youngster From Drowning

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on June 22, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A 45-second video of a young elephant named Hope being saved by two adults could change people's views about the emotional lives of other animals. Watch them keep Hope alive.

Aggression and Fear Can Be Reduced in Specific Dog Breeds

New data provides a possible alternative to breed-specific legislation to control aggression and fearfulness in dogs.

Domestication, It's Complicated

Cats may have been domesticated twice, or more. A new study shows that today’s domestic cats have two sets of maternal ancestors.

Pope Francis, Conservation Psychology, Science, and Earth

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on June 13, 2017 in Animal Emotions
The Pope's encyclical letter on care for our common home has many very important ideas that are closely related to conservation psychology, anthrozoology, and the role of science.

Can Pet Crickets Improve the Well-being of the Elderly?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on June 12, 2017 in Animals and Us
A high quality randomized control study finds that caring for pet crickets has a surprisingly positive impact on the well-being of elderly people.

Are Dogs Self-Aware?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on May 24, 2017 in The Human Beast
The standard test of self-awareness is being able to recognize ourselves in a mirror. Although chimpanzees pass this test with flying colors, dogs flunk.
Wikimedia Commons (John O'Neill)

Survival of the Scaredest

Why are we more afraid of insects than guns? Our emotions and perceptions are evolutionary products, and we can blame genetics for our infested minds.

When Do Friends Matter Most?

By Lydia Denworth on May 18, 2017 in Brain Waves
Having friends is strongly associated with health and longevity, but scientists are only starting to ask when the effects of social relationships emerge and how long they last.

The "Furry Test Tubes" of Obesity Research

Mice are the most common animals now used in obesity research.They have many advantages for scientists who work with them but are far from perfect as a model for human beings.

Cat People and Dog People Do Have Different Personalities

Data shows that cat people are introverted and nonconforming but also creative, while dog people are warm, sociable and pragmatic.

New Details Revealed About an Important Human Ancestor

Another cave of fossils and a surprising young age sheds dramatic new light on the origins of complex behaviors and humanity itself.

Why Do Animal Shelter Workers Burn Out?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on May 04, 2017 in Animals and Us
Animal shelter workers who believe they have a gift for relating to animals may be the most likely to leave.

Jaak Panksepp: Archaeologist of the Mind

By Scott G. Eberle Ph.D. on May 03, 2017 in Play in Mind
Panksepp believed that PLAY was the most complex of the positive emotions.

Animal Envy, by Ralph Nader: A Review

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 17, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Ralph Nader's visionary fable, Animal Envy, was motivated by his mostly unknown but obviously longstanding concern for animals. The core message: Animals and humans need one other.

Helping Your Neighbor

We often help others with expectations of help in return at a future point. Turns out, this is a basic feature of what it means to be human.

Psychological Consequences of Having Tree-Dwelling Ancestors

Renowned evolutionist Gordon Gallup has extensively studied the psychological correlates of handgrip strength. To understand why, we need to look to our arboreal past.

Why Do We Exist?

Why do humans exist? Because of evolution. And this is a beautiful thing.

Pets Versus Siblings as Sources of Support for Children

New study suggests that kids may get along better with their pets than their siblings. Just like siblings, pets are a source of comfort and companionship...and they never blab.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

To Understand Everything, Understand Evolution

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

Why People Buy Dogs Who They Know Will Suffer and Die Young

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on February 25, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A study of French Bulldogs, Chihuahuas, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and Cairn Terriers highlights why people choose to buy dogs who they know will have short, miserable lives.

Giving a Blind or Sight-Impaired Dog the Best Life Possible

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on February 19, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A book called "My dog is blind - but lives life to the full!" is a wonderful practical guide for people who want to give a dog with limited sight a full and enriched life.